Just a couple of months since BMW announced the automaker’s flagship electric SUV, the iX, will join their Malaysian portfolio, the arrival of its little brother, the iX3, has now been fully announced and detailed to make it an EV duo for the local line-up.
As its name already denotes, the iX3 is based on the G01 or 3rd-generation BMW X3, developed as a zero emissions alternative and a more accessible gateway vehicle into the company’s growing range of battery electric vehicles (BEVs).
Two variants will be offered to Malaysian buyers, priced between RM317,360 and RM336,360 for the iX3 M Sport Inspiring and iX3 M Sport Impressive, respectively. These are on-the-road without insurance prices inclusive of full sales and service tax, indicating that first deliveries are expected in 2022. That said, the government hasn’t been shy of extending this discount/ exemption period.
Both are driven by a single rear-mounted electric motor producing 286hp and 400Nm, which is ample enough grunt to endow the iX3 with an electronically limited top speed of 180km/h and a 0-100km/h sprint time of just 6.8 seconds. This identical single-motor powertrain, the only one available in any market, means range is improved over a possible dual-motor version.
According to efficiency testing on the WLTP cycle, its 80kWh lithium prismatic battery (73.83kWh usable) is capable of an average range of between 453km and 461km on a single charge, which can take as little as 32 minutes to replenish to 80% if plugged into a 150kW DC fast charger.
The majority of the time, owners will likely use the far slower 11kW AC charger, in which case the iX3 should take around 7 to 8 hours to reach maximum capacity, requiring an overnight stint.
Being based on an existing model does mean less scope for engineers to deck out the iX3 with the wow-factor interior or radical exterior features like they had with the iX. That said, familiarity could be this model’s ally as plenty of us are already very acquainted with the X3.
Regardless of variant, the M Sport package is included here with a more aggressive exterior treatment that is most obviously seen in the blue air intake highlights upfront and matching rear diffuser element at the rear. They do elevate the iX3’s presence over the more unassuming guise it made its initial debut in.
Standard equipment on the Inspiring includes adaptive 19-inch wheels, LED headlights, heated and power-adjustable front seats, 12-speaker Harman/Kardon audio system, Leather 'Vernasca' upholstery, panoramic glass roof, tri-zone climate control, adaptive suspension, adaptive cruise control, and BMW’s full active safety Driving Assistant Professional which includes Autonomous Emergency Braking.
Step up to the iX3 Impressive and you’ll get larger 20-inch alloys in staggered sizes, BMW Laserlight headlamps, head-up display, BMW Gesture Control, a 360-degree camera system, and a beefier Harman/Kardon stereo with 16-speakers.
With prices comparable to the locally assembled X3 xDrive30i M Sport even without benefitting from an SST deduction, the fully imported iX3 does present itself as quite a tempting alternative especially with the generous equipment list and impressive (hehe) range per full charge. But thanks to our somewhat warped EV road tax structure, an obvious edge is given to the petrol-powered X3.
However, unlike the iX which has accumulated over 100 orders since its announced arrival, BMW Malaysia’s initial allocation across both the Inspiring and Impressive is capped at just 30 units. Hopefully, there’s more on the way bound for our shores next year.