BMW iX3 long-term test: report 4

Earlier this year, we named the BMW iX3 the best electric SUV to drive, but how easy is it to live with?...

LT BMW iX3 - using touchscreen

The car BMW iX3 M Sport Pro Run by Steve Huntingford, editor

Why it's here We want to see if this large SUV is a great all-rounder, rather than a one-trick pony

Needs to Combine its precise handling with comfort, refinement and range worthy of a £60k+ electric car

Mileage 2840 List price £63,970 Target Price £63,970 Price as tested £63,970 Test range 218 miles Official range 282 miles

14 May 2022 – Easy does it

As a brilliant car ad – that’s well worth seeking out if you haven't seen it – once opined, isn’t it nice when things just work? I won’t mention the brand here (largely because it hails from Minato rather than Munich), but the sentiment perfectly sums up life with my BMW iX3.

No, its interior doesn’t offer the wow factor that some rivals’ do; it’s basically the same as the one in the BMW 3 Series, which led to some initial disappointment on my part, given that you can have a 3 Series for about half as much as an iX3. However, look a little closer and it’s hard to argue with the standard of assembly. Plus, the more time I spend in it, the more I value how user-friendly it is, because it helps fill me with a Zen-like calm.

LT BMW iX3 makes you feel calm

My previous car was an Audi E-tron Sportback, which has one of the best touchscreen infotainment systems around. However, the iX3’s trumps it by combining similarly quick responses with programmable shortcut buttons that can take you straight to the functions you use most often.

And then there’s the rotary controller between the front seats in the iX3, which makes it so much easier to scroll up and down lists while driving – for example, to change the radio station – than swiping a screen or even using steering wheel-mounted buttons.

LT BMW iX3 - turning iDrive control knob

In fact, the only thing about the infotainment that I’m not a fan of is the gesture control; I’m yet to find anything that it makes simpler, and it’s too easy to activate by accident. The only point in its favour if you're a bit of a show-off is that it does impress first-time passengers, particularly the way you can raise or lower the stereo volume by rotating a finger in the air.

Range-topping M Sport Pro cars like mine also come with a head-up display, and this is far more useful, projecting key information like your current speed and the prevailing limit into your line of sight. Okay, having to look down at the instruments from time to time might not seem like much of a hardship, but in a car as quiet as this, it would actually be all too easy for your speed to creep up between glances without you realising.

My job obviously requires me to try different cars, so I appreciate how easy it is to reinstall my daughter’s child seat when I return to the iX3; the Isofix mounting points are much more accessible than they are in some cars, and there are no removable plugs to lose.

What’s more, I always find the iX3’s driver’s seat a nice place to return to. For starters, it combines a wide range of electric adjustment with the ability to save your preferred settings. Meanwhile, the side bolsters are prominent enough to stop you sliding around in bends, but not so tight that it feels like you’re being poked in the kidneys – an issue that I have with the front seats in M Sport versions of the 3 Series.

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