New BMW iX3 vs Jaguar I-Pace: interiors
The new BMW iX3 electric SUV treads a less radical path than its proven Jaguar I-Pace rival, but is it the way to go?...
Behind the wheel
Driving position, visibility, build quality
If you’re a fan of lofty driving positions, you’ll be happiest in the higher-riding iX3, and the good visibility that comes with that vertical advantage is made all the clearer by its less obstructive windscreen pillars. The iX3’s boxier shape and larger windows also provide better vision backwards and over your shoulder than you get in the I-Pace. Both have parking sensors front and rear, the I-Pace adding a 360deg camera. However, while the iX3 makes do with a regular rear-view camera, it’s sharper and less laggy than the I-Pace’s.
In both cars, the steering wheel and pedals line up well enough to avoid discomfort on a long journey, and there’s enough adjustment in the wheel and seat to accommodate somebody five feet tall just as comfortably as it does a six-footer. We should point out that while the iX3 Premier Pro gets fully electric seats with lumbar support adjustment and memory as standard, you’ll need the optional 14-way seats (£3925) in order to get both of those things in the I-Pace S.
Both cars have big, 12.3in digital instrument panels instead of conventional analogue dials, with the I-Pace’s able to display a greater variety of information. However, it’s the iX3’s interior controls that are easier to use, thanks to having physical buttons for the air-con and stereo. The I-Pace relies more heavily on touch-sensitive controls that may look good in the showroom but are more distracting to use on the move. Still, at least you can tweak the temperature and heated seats using one easy-to-find dial.
At first acquaintance, both feel suitably plush, with lots of squidgy plastics, metal detailing and attractive trims. Look a little harder at the lower sections of the interior of either car and you’ll find scratchier plastics, but the iX3 has a slight edge in overall quality, thanks to its better fit and finish.
The iX3’s 10.3in touchscreen is mounted high on the dash, so it’s easy to see, although we prefer to use the rotary controller between the seats to scroll through menus on the move; it’s much less distracting than hitting icons on a screen. That controller, plus logical menus and sharp, easy-to-read graphics, make this the best system on the market. The standard Harman Kardon stereo sounds good, too, and you get smartphone mirroring plus sat-nav.
Since we conducted our test, the I-Pace has gained Jaguar’s latest Pivi Pro infotainment system. This uses a responsive 10.0in touchscreen with clear graphics and menus that are fairly intuitive to navigate. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, along with an easy-to-follow sat-nav system and a punchy Meridian stereo. The screen is mounted rather low in the dash, though, forcing you to take your eyes a fair way from the road when you use it on the move.