When the BMW iX3 arrives sometime later this year, it’ll usher in a new electric era for the automaker, spearheading BMW’s next generation of electric vehicles. BMW is doing everything to stretch those precious electric miles through aerodynamics – and not even the wheels can roll away unscathed. The iX3 will debut with the “BMW Aerodynamic Wheel” – a new wheel developed to improve aerodynamic efficiency and reduce weight.
BMW uses an aluminum base wheel with “individually designed inserts” to create the BMW Aerodynamic Wheel. The design helps reduce drag by about 5 percent compared to a standard BMW X3 wheel. It’s also 15 percent lighter than BMW’s other aerodynamic wheels. Together, those help lower the iX3’s power consumption by 2 percent, extending vehicle range by 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) on Europe’s generous WLTP test cycle.
Not to pigeonhole buyers with lackluster wheel choices, BMW will offer customization for its new aerodynamic wheels. Not only can the wheels themselves receive personalization, just like conventional wheels, customers can also customize the inserts in a variety of styles. Different sheens, polish, and patterns are possible, allowing customers to combine different surface designs within a single wheel.
BMW teased the iX3 – and i4 and iNext – nearly a year ago. Since then, BMW has detailed the iX3’s powertrain and range, too. It will use a 74-kilowatt-hour battery while offering more than 273 miles (440 km) on a single charge. That number also comes from the WLTP test cycle. The U.S. EPA rating will be lower. Delivering that power will be BMW’s fifth-generation eDrive electric powertrain, which is scalable for the needs of other vehicles. It’ll produce 286 horsepower (210 kilowatts) and 295 pound-feet (400 Newton-meters) of torque, powering the rear wheels only.
Gallery: BMW iX3 teasers
The BMW iX3 will begin rolling off the assembly line sometime this year. BMW is building it in Shenyang, China, through the BMW Brilliance Automotive joint venture there. Production for BMW’s other electric vehicles – the i4 and iNext – will begin in 2021.
Novel “Aerodynamic Wheels” for the purely electric BMW iX3.
Munich. In today's automobiles, the wheels and their aerodynamic flow influence the overall vehicle efficiency by up to 30%. That is why a further developed technology of the BMW Aerodynamic Wheel is making its debut together with the BMW iX3, whose market launch is planned for 2020: The new combination of aluminum base wheel and individually designed inserts complements the efficient basic alignment of the BMW Group's first purely electric Sport Activity Vehicle (SAV) effectively.
While reducing drag for about 5% compared to a conventionally powered BMW X3 the new Aerodynamic Wheels are not only more efficient but also lighter than previous ones: Thanks to optimum airflow around the wheel arches, the wheels are 15% lighter than the aerodynamic wheels previously fitted by BMW.
Their benefits in terms of aerodynamics and weight have the overall effect of lowering power consumption for the BMW iX3 by another 2% in the European WLTP test cycle – equating to 0.4 kWh/100 km – and thereby extending the vehicle range by 10 kilometres. The wheels’ appearance can be varied in numerous different ways, enabling a vast variety of possibilities for the design of wheels on future models. The new Aerodynamic Wheels will also feature on the BMW iNext and BMW i4, which are going to be introduced in 2021.
The Aerodynamic Wheels on the BMW iX3 blend lightweight construction and reduced air resistance with the sporting elegance of a V‑spoke aluminium wheel in a whole new way. The dimensions of the base wheel ensure the wheel living up to all the structural challenges involved in transmitting dynamic driving forces. Inserts with a high-class finish are responsible for achieving the necessary aerodynamic impact. This new division of tasks heralds a substantial weight saving over previous aerodynamic wheels from BMW.
Furthermore, the new base wheel is made using less material than its precursor adding up to the reduction of unsprung mass by lightweight inserts. This enhances both, driving dynamics and efficiency. Additionally, the mix of materials is benefitting a resource-efficient manufacture, as there is no need for further tools to produce special wheel options with optimised aerodynamics.
To fit the lightweight base wheel, the inserts are precision-moulded and integrated into the outside of the wheel between the spokes. Thus, they are highly effective in reducing wheel-arch air turbulence – and therefore aerodynamic drag. As a result, the Aerodynamic Wheels form a key element of the overall package developed for optimum efficiency of the BMW iX3.
Design variants enable maximum individualisation.
The BMW Group is the first automobile manufacturer to combine cast aluminum wheels with inserts consisting of a plastic carrier and an aluminum visible surface.
The high-quality material used for the inserts and their precise integration into the wheel design with no visible gaps reinforce the premium character of the rims. The patented process for optimising aerodynamic properties while minimising weight opens an unprecedented scope for vehicle customisation.
The Aerodynamic Wheels can be painted in different colours while the customer can also choose between matt or polished finish, just as known from conventional wheels. All versions of the base wheel can be fitted with inserts whose appearance can vary in endless ways according to the sheen, polish and pattern specified. This means that, for example colour accents from the body design can be incorporated into the inserts’ styling. Furthermore, inserts can also be combined with different surface designs within a single wheel. The end result is a multitude of aerodynamically optimised wheel possibilities, each with a design that matches the vehicle’s character, the equipment line selected and the customer’s individual preferences.