Autotrader ad desktop

In partnership with Auto Trader

Used test: BMW iX3 vs Jaguar I-Pace

These electric SUVs, when bought at two years old, come with incredible savings of around £15,000 each. But which should you buy? We have the answer...

BMW iX3 and Jaguar I-Pace fronts

The contenders

BMW iX3 Premier Edition Pro

List price when new £61,850
Price today £47,000*
Available from 2021-present

It may be good to drive, but is the iX3 a true all-rounder?

Jaguar I-Pace EV400 S

List price when new £65,195
Price today £45,00
Available from 2018-present

The I-Pace isn't lacking in range and straight-line performance

*Price today is based on a 2021 model with average mileage and full service history, correct at time of writing

Perhaps the iPhone is to blame. It revolutionised the smartphone back in 2007 and, since then, it's as if countless avant-garde products have adopted names beginning with "I". Case in point, here we have two electric cars called the BMW iX3 and Jaguar I-Pace. What's more, both cars are of the luxury SUV variety – there's another popular trend in itself. 

So, you get the idea, these brands did their research. They saw exactly what buyers wanted (and in spades), and subsequently the iX3 and I-Pace were born. There are two more important questions to ask, however. They are: one, do they actually make good buys and, two, which car is best?

BMW iX3 2021 side

In the pursuit of answers, we've got them together for a head to head. It's also worthing mentioning that the examples we're featuring are reasonably priced, two-year-old used buys – your wallet can thank us later. 

Which electric SUV takes the win? Let's find out. 


Performance, ride, handling, refinement

If you’re stepping from a conventionally powered large or luxury SUV, you’ll probably be more than satisfied with the iX3’s performance. Its single electric motor develops 282bhp, and despite that being deployed to the rear wheels alone, traction was good on our damp test day and it turned in a 0-60mph time of 6.2sec. Performance does start to tail off a bit above 50mph, but the iX3 gets up to motorway speeds and zips past slower-moving traffic quickly enough for most.

On the other hand, those acquainted with the slap-in-the-back urgency of a Tesla might find the iX3 to be a little lacking in drama, and that can’t be said of the I-Pace. Its two electric motors give it 395bhp and four-wheel drive, and with plenty of traction it managed a 4.3sec run from 0-60mph, even if the steering wheel writhes in your hands a little if you accelerate hard from a standstill like this.

Jaguar I-Pace 2021 side

More to the point for real-world driving is that the I-Pace is a substantial 1.9sec quicker from 30-70mph; that’s handy for dispatching tractors on country roads or making the most of an unusually short slip road.

Of course, acceleration is only part of the story when it comes to electric performance; there’s also the small matter of range. With a bigger battery than the iX3, the I-Pace is officially capable of 292 miles on a charge, seven miles more than its rival. However, outside of laboratory conditions, you’re unlikely to get close to achieving those figures.

What’s more, batteries will always give their best performance on warm days, and while a petrol or diesel car can draw heat from its engine, the only thing keeping you warm in an EV is electricity. As those with electric domestic heating will testify, such warmth uses a lot of juice, and this helps to explain both cars’ disappointing energy consumption during our tests, which took place on a cold day.

BMW iX3 2021 rear

Based on the battery size of our two cars and the energy consumed per mile on a mix of roads, the I-Pace would manage around 211 miles and the iX3 192. To put those figures into context, in warmer conditions, the I-Pace managed 253 miles in our scientific Real Range test. We’d expect a similar uplift for the iX3 in the same weather.

We’ll cover charging times a bit later, so let’s instead focus on comfort right now. Here, the I-Pace’s non-adjustable suspension impresses in its ability to smooth off most humps, holes and haggard surfaces, be they in town or on faster roads, and this makes it a fantastic motorway cruiser. However, particularly undulating country roads do reveal slightly loose body control.

By contrast, even with its standard adaptive suspension in the softest setting, you’re more aware of surface imperfections passing beneath you in the iX3, and potholes deliver more of a thump. Yet it’s by no means a boneshaker, plus its stiffer springs mean there’s less float and wallow, so passengers with sensitive stomachs are less likely to feel queasy than they are in the I-Pace.

Jaguar I-Pace 2021 rear

Both cars have quiet electric motors, and you can switch on some additional sci-fi sound effects if you like that sort of thing. The iX3 has a bit more suspension noise than the I-Pace at low speeds. However, while the decibel meter shows that the latter is the quieter of the two cars at 70mph, the wind and road noise it generates is more irritating than what you’ll experience in the iX3.

The iX3’s firmer set-up pays dividends in corners, especially with the suspension flicked over to Sport mode. It scythes through switchbacks with little body lean for such a tall car, and its precise steering makes attacking bends a pleasure. Those who really like to get involved will find that the iX3 will tighten its line satisfyingly on the exit of slower corners, without ever feeling lairy.

Not that the I-Pace is a blancmange to drive; its steering is just as pleasing and grip is decent, despite its body leaning more than the iX3’s. Pushed harder, though, it’s a bit scrappier and less predictable than the iX3; the abrupt way that its stability control system intervenes doesn’t help. Fortunately, neither car is a chore to manoeuvre at low speeds.

Next: What are they like inside? >>

Page 1 of 4