Recharged and Ready: Driving the BMW G08 iX3 LCI

A little over half a year has gone by since we last took the BMW iX3 out for a drive. Though fresh it might still be, with the introduction of BMW’s “Life Cycle Impulse” updates to the entire X3 range, it’s time to say hello to a newly refreshed iX3.

In its pre-LCi form, the iX3 impressed us (and many others) with its tech-laden drivetrain and equipment, decent range, a long list of options as standard, everyday usability, engaging driving dynamics and that signature Hans Zimmer soundtrack.

The good news is that with the latest iteration of the iX3 bringing with it mostly aesthetic updates and flourishes, all of the original car’s defining positives have been carried over in their entirety. Save for a change in trim levels to now only featuring the M-Sport variant for the local market.

Gone is the original iX3’s friendlier face as the latest aesthetic revisions now endow the LCI with a bit more attitude with the angular, sculpted front end visually projecting a mean and hunkered down stance aided by a pair of slightly slimmer LED headlamps, all accentuated with splashes of “i”-car blue, because, it’s electric and electric cars must all have a liberal application of blue somewhere.

This latest redesign also ditches the earlier car’s vent covers in favour of a more traditional set of breather covers. A shame in my opinion as I find the “i”-branded side covers much more interesting and could have been explored further when penning the LCI.

Along the flanks, we now have M-sport trim along the wheel arches and side skirts, replacing the original car’s textured plastics and further accentuating the iX3’s sporty visuals even further are a set of new 20-inch M Aerodynamic wheels, addressing the often critiqued earlier car’s Starfish-Esque alloys.

Towards the rear, we conclude the styling exercise with a similarly sculpted lower rear bumper sitting below BMW’s latest three-dimensional LED rear lights.

Inside, while it might look remarkably similar to those of us who are a little less keen-eyed, BMW have updated the cabin with some welcomed additions, most noticeable of all being the M-sport steering wheel, sport seats and a lovely new 12.3 inch iDrive display.

While the iX3’s cabin might not quite have the minimalist pizazz as the latest technological marvel that is the (considerably more expensive) BMW iX, it remains a very nice place to be in with a high level of finish applied throughout the cabin with little to complain about.

Even less to complain about are the iX3’s driving dynamics with excellent body control through the curves and enough electrical juice (286 hp/400 Nm) powering out the rear wheels to keep most drivers entertained, while the iX3 remains a class leader in the handling department it might not be quite the most engaging or thrilling vehicle to “play” with. If attacking curvaceous roads is what you are looking for, we recommend perhaps waiting for the i4.

While BMW seems to have played it rather safe when it came to revising the iX3, it brings with it a suite of updates that will no doubt be welcomed by buyers looking for that little bit extra to push them into a new world of electrical motoring with little to frustrate current owners of the earlier car.

What wouldn’t frustrate the earlier adopters is definitely the price as the latest iX3 is no longer the lowest priced variant in the X3 range. That award now goes to the X3 Mild Hybrid 2.0 (in both standard and M-sport trim levels), that said, the iX3 still only commands a smidgen of a premium over either of those cars and considering its tech-heavy features and equipment, is still clearly the one to go for.

While the BMW iX3 (S$268,888*) might still considerably (and comfortably) undercut its main Mercedes-Benz EQC rival (S$341,888 – S$360,888*), with the EV automotive landscape having evolved rather quickly over the past few months, it now also has to contend with punters who might even cross-shop it against cars that sit a segment down, like the Polestar 2 (S$211,000-S$253,000*), XC40 Recharge Pure Electric (S$271,000*) and the Mercedes-Benz EQA (S$273,888-S$279,888*). Though with its class-leading dynamics, larger overall size, better utility and usability and with BMW’s charging incentives, we’re confident that the refreshed, recharged and ever-ready iX3 can more than ever, still hold its own.

* Prices as of 4th March 2022

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