BMW iX3 long-term test: report 7

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 charging before 2022 summer range test

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 3868 List price £63,970 Target Price £63,970 Price as tested £63,970 Test range 253 miles Official range 282 miles

15 July 2022 – Worst-case scenario

What happens when an electric car runs out of charge? Like ‘what happens when a plane is struck by lightning?’, it's one of those questions that you don't want to discover the answer to through firsthand experience. But having just taken part in our latest electric car range test, I’m able to help.

We conduct these tests at our private proving ground twice a year (in the summer and winter), so we can not only see how far the latest models will really go between charges, but also how much of a difference temperature makes. And among the contenders this time was my BMW iX3.

LT BMW iX3 taking part in summer 2022 range test

If you’re not keeping an eye on its range readout, the first indication that the iX3’s battery is getting low comes with an indicated 30 miles remaining, when a warning flashes up, suggesting you look for somewhere to plug in.

Then with seven miles showing, you get another message telling you that power has been reduced in an effort to help you make it to a charger.

Even at this point it’s possible to keep pace with motorway traffic. However, shortly after the readout hits zero, power is progressively reduced until you finally grind to a halt.

LT BMW iX3 interior during summer range test

Still, I do mean finally – in our test, the iX3 covered 247 miles before its range readout ticked down to zero, but only actually stopped after 253 miles.

This sort of slow wind down is fairly typical of electric cars. And while there are a few models that we’ve tested which switch off more abruptly, leaving you little time to find a safe place to stop, none do so without first making repeated attempts to persuade you to find somewhere to charge.

We’ve occasionally seen cars lose all power, but the iX3’s screens and lights remained on, and its power steering continued to work, making it much easier to get it onto the back of the recovery truck.

LT BMW iX3 with breakdown recovery truck

The 253 miles covered is actually slightly more than I’ve ever seen on the iX3’s range readout; during the recent hot weather, it’s typically been estimating 245 miles when the battery is at 100%. And it was much the same story in the dead of winter, when the car showed 210 miles, but we actually got 212 out of it.

As I’ve said before, I think having a clear idea of how far you can go in an electric car before you’ll need to recharge is much more helpful in removing range anxiety than just having a big battery. And I’m all the more reassured now I have definitive proof that, if anything, the iX3 errs on the side of caution.

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