BMW has been producing fully electric vehicles since way back in 2014. The i3 featured leading technology in terms of how the car was manufactured, such as the carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) body to reduce weight and improve efficiency. It’s taken BMW another six years to launch their next fully electric vehicle in the iX3. So does the iX3 also feature industry-leading technology? Not exactly, the iX3 is a converted X3, but doesn’t feature X-Drive (4WD) capabilities. But can it tow? Barely, with a 750kg towing capacity.
Key BMW iX3 Specs
- Official Towing Capacity – 750 kg
- Availability – Summer, 2021
- Price – Starting £58,850
- Range (EV Database) – 225 miles
- Estimate Towing Range (50%) – 113 miles
- Maximum Charge Rate – 150 kW (DC Fast Charger)
BMW iX3 HP & Torque
- All Versions – 282 HP and 295 lb-ft of torque
BMW iX3 Towing Capabilities
I was/still are a big fan of BMW’s first fully electric car the i3, a compact city car. In terms of how that vehicle was made it was truly revolutionary and forward-thinking. Using lightweight/recycled materials, it was an EV that BMW put a lot of effort into. Six years on from the launch of the i3 comes the iX3, does it build off the manufacturing process used to produce the i3? Nope, quite frankly I believe the iX3 is a lazy EV conversion of the internal combustion engine X3, and that’s reflected in the 750 kg towing capacity.
The internal combustion X3 was a very capable tow car as you can see from this Practical Caravan review. The diesel X3 could tow up to 2,500 kg. Now, I didn’t necessarily expect BMW to match that towing capacity with the electric version the iX3, but offering 750 kg is a significant downgrade. For me, the iX3 sits in the electric tow car shame gallery along with the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Jaguar I-Pace all with their 750 kg towing capacities. If the manufacturers want to call these cars Sports Utility Vehicles, then they actually need to offer proper utility.
The BMW iX3 vs The Competition
So how does the BMW iX3 compare with regards to towing capacity to the competition? First, let’s consider the traditional competition for BMW from its German counterparts. Well, both the Audi E-Tron and Mercedes EQC can tow 1,800 kg, hence they provide proper towing utility for many peoples needs.
In terms of range, the real-world range of the iX3 will likely be around 225 miles, with the Audi E-Tron at between 175-225 miles depending on the model and the Mercedes EQC around 230 miles. So at first, it may appear the iX3 is competitive. However, both the E-Tron and EQC have 4WD systems, the BMW iX3 is rear-wheel drive only. Hence, again the iX3 offers less utility/practicality compared to its German competition. The iX3 is also significantly down on power/torque compared to the E-Tron and EQC.
Price Reduction Below £60,000
As you will see in the WhatCar review below for the BMW iX3 the starting price has been reduced to below £60,000. Which therefore means the E-Tron and EQC do have a starting price several thousand pounds above the iX3. Fair enough, let’s compare the BMW iX3 against more similarly priced competition from the Volvo XC40 Recharge, Polestar 2 and Tesla Model Y.
Starting with the Volvo and Polestar (effectively the same EV platform) they have a towing capacity of 1,500 kg. Now, I say currently, because if you read my articles on those cars linked above you will see that may potentially change. However, as things currently stand both of those EVs can tow double what the BMW iX3 can tow for the same price. Their real-world ranges would appear to be less than the iX3. However, again, they both offer AWD, unlike the iX3.
The Tesla Model Y will likely be hitting UK streets in the summer of 2021 at the same time as the BMW iX3. In terms of towing (Model Y – 1,600 kg) the iX3 is soundly beaten. In fact, in every measurable metric in terms of range/efficiency the iX3 will not be able to hold a candle to the Model Y. If you compare the rate of change/improvements in Tesla’s EV’s since 2014 to BMW, if I worked for BMW with their resources/experience I’d find the difference embarrassing.
BMW iX3 Features and Reviews
To provide more context to the features and capabilities of different electric cars I like to provide reviews from actual automotive journalists who have had hand’s on with the vehicle. The best review currently available on the BMX iX3 is from What Car below.
So just to clarify my caption text above under the video, that 285-mile range is the WLTP (Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure) figure. While you could potentially acheive that range on a calm summers days on a flat road with no elevation changes, its not representative of the real-world range. That’s why I quote the EV-Database figure above, when I get a chance I’m going to write more articles to explain the whole predicted/real-world range problem with EVs.
Anyway, as the review above discusses the iX3 looks and feels pretty much like any none electric X3. Other than the aero wheels and blue accents around the bodywork on the iX3 you wouldn’t instantly identify it as electric. I get that, and that’s a perfectly reasonable thing to do. EVs don’t have to look any different to any other cars. BMW can easily market the car to their many existing X3 owners and not scare them off. However, existing X3 owners who tow aren’t exactly going to be impressed with the 750 kg towing capacity though are they?
My Thoughts On The BMW iX3….
As you can obviously tell from my comments above, I’m not impressed with the iX3 both in terms of being an electric tow car, and just an electric car in general. It turns out that sentiment is shared by BMW in the US, as plans to sell the iX3 in the US have been indefinitely postponed. The feeling I get from the iX3 is a rushed job to compete against the Audi E-Tron and Mercedes EQC. Which is very disappointing, as BMW seems to have wasted the headstart they had over their German competition with the i3 and EV platform vehicles.
When I first heard about the iX3 I originally expected it to have harnessed that EV knowhow BMW should have gained from the i3, but then the specs were released and it became clear that was not the case. When you go on to bmw.co.uk you have to really search to find the iX3, though they are heavily promoting their next fully electric SUV the iX which is set to be released in late 2021, hence only a couple of months after the release of the iX3. You wouldn’t know it from BMW’s bizarre model names, but the iX is actually a larger electric SUV compared to the iX3.
In BMW’s own words the iX is the size of an X5, why they have then called it just the iX instead of the iX5 to indicate its size compared to the iX3 I have no idea. There is no price stated as yet, but its expected to have a starting price of around £80,000. We also don’t know any specs on the battery, range or towing capacity, but I’ll be writing a separate article the iX when those details become available.
So my final thoughts on the iX3 are that its an afterthought in response to what the competition is doing. I think BMW is far more focused on the iX instead, as that vehicle is set to be globally released, unlike the iX3. Therefore, you would have to be very brand loyal to BMW to choose the iX3 over any similarly priced electric SUV, and you definitely wouldn’t choose it for its towing capacity.