Displaying items by tag: BMW
"The BMW iX3 is an electric variant of the popular X3 with a 285-mile range"
While BMW wowed the world with its i3 electric hatchback and i8 plug-in hybrid coupe, the all-electric BMW iX3 SUV is altogether a more staid proposition. This time round BMW is taking a similar approach to Peugeot and Hyundai by serving up an electric version of a car it already sells, namely the BMW X3.
There's been a deliberate decision not to go radical with the design, with BMW instead opting to add aerodynamic wheels, blue trim accents and a smoothed-off grille. There are also a new set of bumpers and side skirts, all tested to ensure they are slippery enough to help maximise the driving range. This is really just an X3 for buyers who want an electric powertrain.
Best electric SUVs
Under the car's floor is an 80kWh battery that sends its power to a rear-mounted 282bhp electric motor. This is a departure from rivals like the Audi e-tron, Jaguar I-Pace and Mercedes EQC, which all have two motors, four wheel drive and quite a bit more power. While it isn't as fast as them, the iX3's 285-mile range is competitive, beating both its German rivals and just slightly behind the I-Pace. The Jag’ struggles to hit its official figure in real-world driving anyway.
It can also be charged quickly, obtaining speeds of up to 150kW at the latest rapid-charging stations. Of its closest rivals, only the e-tron can match this, with the others topping out at around 100kW, and it means the iX3 battery can be replenished to 80% in a speedy 34 minutes. Thanks to this capability, making one stop on a long journey should be ample to get drivers to their destination with range to spare.
Like the exterior, the inside of the iX3 is very much a mild variation on the X3, with some flashes of blue trim to show this is the electric version. It shares the same 10.25-inch iDrive infotainment display perched above the dashboard and a 12.3-inch digital instrument screen. Premier Edition and Premier Edition Pro trims serve up plenty of equipment, with features like a head-up display, a Harman Kardon stereo and wireless phone charging in the top trim.
The BMW iX3 is spacious, quiet and has a good range, but it's a shame it doesn't feel anywhere near as special as the i3 and i8. Instead, it ushers in an era when electric BMWs will be a more mass-market part of the line-up.
By adding an EV option to its popular X3 range, BMW boasts that customers can now choose between four different powertrains for its mid-size SUV. It adds to the existing petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid range, giving low to medium-mileage drivers the chance to shun traditional fossil fuels altogether.
BMW iX3 MPG & CO2
The iX3 has an 80kWh battery beneath its floor, allowing it to cover up to 285 miles on a charge. That's competitive with the 298-mile range of the Jaguar I-Pace, and betters the 237 and 256-mile range of the Audi e-tron and Mercedes EQC respectively.
Like the e-tron, the iX3 also supports rapid 150kW charging at compatible public locations, topping the battery up to 80% in just 34 minutes. The Mercedes and Jaguar can be topped up at around 100kW, so take longer to recharge.
As with any electric vehicle, the iX3 has the potential to significantly reduce running costs for the owner, and we particularly enjoyed one new feature for its energy recuperation system. Like most new EVs, the braking effect of the electric motor can be set to low, medium or high, and with practice it's possible to drive the iX3 in traffic with almost no use of the brakes. However, BMW has also added an ‘Adaptive’ setting, which automatically adjusts the recuperation to match the car ahead, a bit like adaptive cruise control for braking alone. It works well, carefully adjusting the regenerative effect to match cars in front, even when they modulate their deceleration.
Thanks to its zero emissions, the iX3 qualifies for free car tax and 0% BiK for company-car drivers in 2020/21.
The insurance band for the iX3 hasn't been announced yet but it's likely to be fairly high. We say this because its rivals are all costly to insure, with the I-Pace in group 49 out of 50 and the Audi e-tron in the very top group. However, the iX3 is the least powerful of the group, so could be a few groups lower.
BMW sells all its cars with a three-year/unlimited mileage warranty, which is on a par with Mercedes and slightly more generous than Audi (with a 60,000-mile cap). Tesla models come with a four-year or 50,000-mile warranty. It's likely the BMW iX3 will have a longer warranty covering its battery (many rivals offer eight years of cover), but details of this have yet to be announced.
BMW models are fitted with an array of sensors to determine when servicing is required, so there isn't a strict routine to stick to. Typically, services won't be more than two years or 20,000 miles apart, and isn't the cheapest. BMW does offer servicing packages though, making it possible to spread the cost over monthly payments.
Unlike its rivals, the iX3 gets a single electric motor powering the rear wheels. This means it isn't as quick as the dual-motor Jaguar I-Pace in a straight line, but it still gets a sporty setup in typical BMW fashion.
In fact, it would have been better if BMW had made the suspension softer because in its pursuit of agile, fun handling, ride comfort has been compromised. Even in the softest Comfort mode, the iX3 fidgets and seems to find bumps in the road that look inconsequential from behind the wheel.
This chassis setup and the low-slung battery does at least mean the iX3 corners with little body lean, while the steering is fast to respond, if lacking in feel. Sport mode makes the steering heavier but also renders the suspension too bouncy, so we quickly turned it off.
BMW iX3 electric motor
The iX3 is powered by a single 282bhp electric motor at the rear axle, giving it a 0-62mph acceleration time of 6.8 seconds. This should be plenty quick enough for most SUV (and EV) buyers, but it's some way off rivals. The Audi e-tron, Jaguar I-Pace and Mercedes EQC all feature front and rear motors, providing more power and four-wheel drive.
The iX3 accelerates very quietly, with just a distant whine from its electric motor. If you prefer, you can also choose a louder sound thanks to 'balanced' and 'sporty' settings. The iX3 glides away from a standstill smoothly, with instant pulling power doing a good job of disguising its 2,185kg weight.
Interior & comfort
Unlike the daring BMW i3 and i8 models that set out BMW's stall as a designer of forward-thinking green models, the iX3 is a much more conventional model that's also available with electric propulsion. This will make sense for many customers, while others may view it as a bit of a disappointment.
If you've sat in a BMW X3, there's very little change here apart from some blue flashes of colour for the BMW badge and gearlever. The steering wheel with silver buttons is new, while a 10.25-inch infotainment display and 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster is carried over, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Materials are of a high quality and the infotainment software is amongst the best in the business, but there aren't any novel features like trim made from recycled bottles or cork, as seen in many environmentally conscious models.
The first versions of iX3 will be called Premier Edition and Premier Edition Pro, with four exterior colours offered, along with two choices of exterior trim colour: aluminium or gloss black. Standard kit includes wireless smartphone charging, heated front seats and Driving Assistant Professional.
Premier Edition Pro is distinguished by large 20-inch aerodynamic alloy wheels, along with a powered tailgate, adaptive suspension and a panoramic sunroof. It also boasts a plethora of tech like a head-up display, Harmon Kardon stereo, gesture recognition and a BMW IconicSounds Electric soundtrack developed with famous composer Hans Zimmer.
If there are concerns the iX3 is compromised compared with the regular model, fear not. It's virtually as usable for a family of five as the petrol or diesel car, and the boot is actually larger than the one in the plug-in hybrid BMW X3.
BMW X3 interior space & storage
There's plenty of space for adults in the front and back of the iX3 to stretch out, with the battery placed out of the way beneath the car's floor. In reality, most won't need the extra space found in the larger BMW X5 but there's no option of a third row of seats to make the iX3 into a seven seater.
The iX3 has a 510-litre boot, which is 40 litres smaller than the petrol and diesel BMW X3 offer. In reality, most will be hard pressed to tell the difference, and surprisingly this is 60 litres more than the plug-in hybrid version of the X3 offers. The electric motor and transmission featured here is actually more compact than in the PHEV, so takes up less space.
The M440i xDrive's spectacular inline-six can't quite make up for the rest of the car.
Traditionalists will say the new 4-series maintains only a passing resemblance to a BMW, like an unlicensed rendering in a video game. They'll also note the attention-snaring vertically oriented grille. But what's most disappointing is that it's not as good to drive as we'd expect a sporty BMW coupe to be.
The 4's redesign catches it up to the current G20-generation 3-series. Although the two cars share a 112.2-inch wheelbase, the coupe is an inch or two longer, wider, and lower and has a wider rear track. That growth brings a larger rear seat that's tolerable for average-size adults. In profile, the 4 looks almost like a scaled-down 8-series, yet unlike the 8, it doesn't look quite so much like a Ford Mustang.
The update adds to the 4's curb weight. It's now basically a two-ton car in the top M440i xDrive trim, with our test car placing a substantial 53.8 percent of that mass on its front wheels. Even with 19-inch Michelin Pilot Sport 4S summer tires (18s with all-seasons are standard), it managed only 0.91 g of skidpad grip, and understeer dominates. We've recorded more stick from the newest 3-series and even some family sedans, although our car did stop from 70 mph in a short 149 feet.
The M440i's variable-ratio steering is short on tactility and has an almost rubbery buildup of force as you turn off-center. The rack's rather quick ratio only amplifies its artificial feel. Factor in the compliant ride from the adaptive dampers and the 4 has veered into grand-touring territory. It'll still happily hustle down a challenging road, but the experience isn't as satisfying as it used to be.
The M440i xDrive is still quick—3.8 seconds to 60 mph—thanks to the 382 horsepower from BMW's awesome turbo 3.0-liter inline-six. A new 48-volt motor-generator adds some pounds yet contributes up to 11 horses to assist the engine before the turbo wakes up. Lag is nicely mitigated as proven by the fleet 4.6-second time in our launch-free five-to-60-mph test. Sadly, a manual is no longer offered, but ZF's ubiquitous eight-speed automatic swaps gears as sweetly as ever.
This being our first turn with the new 4, we're hoping other versions offer a closer connection. Our hope is the four-cylinder 430i model, which comes standard with non-variable steering and passive dampers, will carry the BMW dynamics torch of yore. It is currently the only 4-series available with rear-wheel drive, though a rear-drive six-cylinder model will be added later.
The fiery performance of the latest M3 and M4, both of which adopt similar vertical grilles, should help us acclimate to the controversial design. But the softer character of the M440i xDrive makes it tough to overlook the 4's new face.
It drives better than it looks but doesn’t justify those M badges. Is that a bad thing?
Mt. Baldy road is hardly more than an hour's drive from downtown Los Angeles, yet it evokes European alpine passes—those that lead from metropolises to epic vistas and crisp mountain air. Breaking off from the freeway, it crosses a quiet suburb before opening into long sweepers weaving up the hillside. In the final climb, it crinkles into tight switchbacks before terminating at a tiny rural ski resort. It's the type of road cars like the BMW M440i xDrive were made for.
No longer is the 4 Series simply a two-door 3 Series. As that iconic sedan preserves its dynamic focus, the 4 Series evolves and now offers a blend of luxury and performance once reserved for BMW's highest-end models. It's a balance that'll leave some drivers in bliss and others wanting more.
Is The M440i Quick? Yes...
Behind those atrocious oversized kidney grilles is a smooth, turbocharged 3.0-liter I-6 making 382 hp and 364 lb-ft of torque, sent through an eight-speed automatic to BMW's xDrive all-wheel drive system. It's a potent setup. Using the sportiest drive modes and a bit of pedal overlap, the M440i leaps to 60 mph in 4.0 seconds flat, and cuts the quarter mile in 12.6 seconds at 110.2 mph.
Acceleration is the most M-ish thing about this car—to 60, it's as quick as an X3 M Competition and not far off the pace of the last-gen M3. Yet the M440i's engine is just as happy to calmly loaf about as it is to rush to redline. All the while it revs with a sweet (but perhaps digitally enhanced) growl.
Swat the paddle shifters and gears change obediently, even if they aren't dual-clutch fast. Grab an upshift under heavy throttle, and the car replies with a nice little kick. Or, just leave it in automatic and cruise, letting its computers softly select the right gear.
M-emblazoned brake calipers clamp ventilated rotors for a 109-foot stop from 60 mph. That deceleration splits other performance-oriented BMWs; the M340i stops in 111 feet and the M2 Competition in 106 feet. The brakes feel reactive and provide a linear buildup of stopping power. But pedal stroke is long, making it hard to gauge how much of a press is needed to get the desired effect. The reactivity makes them a bit grabby at lower speeds, while the long stroke didn't inspire confidence when approaching those mountain hairpins.
With MotorTrend test boss Kim Reynolds at the wheel, the M440i posted a 24.7-second, 0.78g-average lap on the figure-eight course. On the skidpad, it stayed stuck up to 0.93 g. That's impressive when put into context against other sporty all-wheel-drive cars. The Quattro-packing Audi S4 lapped the figure-eight in 25.2 seconds at 0.75 g. The Mercedes C43 with AMG-ified 4Matic did the same in 24.8 seconds at 0.77 g. Both circled the skidpad at 0.91 g. After assessing the 4 Series, Reynolds called it a "very powerful car that's propelled fast to the next corner with modest tail-out drift exiting."
...But Is It Fun To Drive? Not Quite.
True as that may be on the test track, don't expect the xDrive system to provide tail-happy hijinks without serious provocation. Drivers with sub-Reynolds skill levels will find it feels as all-wheel drive as can be. On Mt. Baldy's switchbacks the M440i was extremely reluctant to rotate, instead rounding the bends with staid neutrality. Going to throttle early just brought understeer with overly cautious stability control intervention. On sweeping curves it provided superb high-speed composure but little excitement. And this was in Sport Plus mode, in a car equipped with the "ZTK" cooling and high-performance tire package.
Further undermining the numerous M badges is the paucity of steering feel. Like in the M8 Competition, the abject lack of sensation coming through the wheel results in a dilution of fun. It feels numb, insulated from whatever's going on under the front tires, not made better by its lightness and somewhat slow ratio. Sure, it's accurate, and the car goes where the driver wills it. But it's not quite agile, while the anesthetized sensations make grip levels vague. That mystical bond between driver and machine that BMWs were once known for simply isn't there.
Also lacking feel is the ride—but that could be a good thing, because here the M440i feels more like a grand tourer than a sport coupe. Whereas 3 Series models with M Sport suspension hammer their occupants over every road imperfection, the M440i rides comfortably, effectively erasing cracks and chatter, only ever slightly rough over large potholes. Although it's compliant and not floaty, more feeling through the suspension would give a better sense of connection to the road during spirited driving. Any other time? It's luxe.
Continent-cruising comfort persists in the cabin. The plush front seats feel like lounge chairs with side bolstering. In a real surprise the back seats are actually somewhat usable. There's a decent amount of space, and dedicated air vents, USB ports, and storage cubbies show that BMW didn't make the 4 Series' second row an afterthought. Faultless driver-assist technologies make highway driving a breeze.
Although the 12.3-inch digital gauge display isn't as customizable as equivalents from German competitors, BMW's latest iDrive revision is more user-friendly, and its 10.3-inch touchscreen is bright and clear. Crisp, thumping sound pours out of the optional 16-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system. Material quality is high, although the layout is essentially identical to any other current BMW, a mere evolution from the previous 4 Series. A more inspired interior seems warranted for a car that makes such a daring design statement outside. Then again, perhaps the austere cabin offers a refuge from the sight of that egregious grille.
Is The M440i A Proper M Car?
There's no doubt that the M440i drives better than it looks. Understand, though, that it isn't a 3 Series coupe. Like the finest GT cars, the M440i is capable but distances its driver from the machinery underneath. It's powerful, poised, and easy to drive fast. Yet there's incredibly little sensation of speed, and the feelings of connection and involvement that true driver's cars offer are all but absent. Maybe the M4 will fix that.
Instead, the M440i feels more like a miniature 8 Series: a smooth, calm haven to cruise in that'll still indulge in full-throttle blasts. Like a proper grand tourer, it'll waft through town, tear across interstates, and oblige some corner carving—exactly as it did up Mt. Baldy road. Just don't be misled by all those M badges.
The collaboration with N.Y. fashion house Kith is a one-off
BMW's M division has revealed a special 2021 M4 Competition coupe that is a collaboration with a New York-based fashion brand. The joint project with design house Kith has resulted in a unique M4 that is described as a design study.
The car is finished in Cinnabar Red, a factory color offering that was available on the original E30 M3. It was inspired by a Cinnabar Red E30 M3 belonging to Kith owner Ronnie Fieg. According to bmwblog, Fieg shipped his vintage M3 to Germany for a factory restoration. The work included custom elements featuring his company name on the roundels and badging.
The new M4 project is similarly co-branded. The M logo on the trunk lid is modified to read "Kith." The fashion company's name also appears on the custom seat upholstery. Aside from the custom design elements, the car appears to be a stock 2021 M4 Competition coupe. That means it's powered by an S58 twin-turbo straight-six making a mighty 503 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque.
As such, this M4 literally is one powerful promotional vehicle for the fashion brand. It's also a one-off. Still, BMW's M division is said to be interested in special projects with artists, so we could see more design collaborations involving M cars in the future.