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BMW is fashionably late to the electric SUV party, but the iX3 is finally about to break cover in production guise. Previewed by a namesake concept more than two years ago at the Beijing Auto Show, the zero-emissions derivative of the X3 is celebrating its world premiere today before entering production in China.
The showcar, camouflaged prototypes, and all the teasers released by BMW showed the design won’t stray away too far from the conventionally powered compact crossover. It should be just about the same story with the interior as we’re not expecting the cabin to stray away too far from the ICE-powered X3.
In true BMW fashion, the iX3 will be available in rear-wheel-drive form with a single electric motor sending 282 horsepower and 295 pound-feet (400 Newton-meters) of torque to the back wheels. The electric crossover will make use of the company’s fifth-generation eDrive technology, which will also be adopted by the i4 and iNext next year.
All these EVs will integrate the electric motor, transmission, and electronics into a central housing to improve packaging and reduce weight compared to previous setups developed by BMW, while eliminating the need for rare earth materials. The 74-kWh battery pack will offer more than 440 kilometers (273 miles) of range in the WLTP cycle.
Gallery: BMW iX3 new spy photos
By introducing an EV version of its popular crossover, BMW is making the X3 its first production model to be offered with gasoline, diesel, hybrid, and electric power. It will go into series production later this year in Shenyang, China at the BMW Brilliance Automotive joint venture.
In an interview with BMWBLOG, a spokesperson for the automaker said there are no immediate plans to bring the iX3 to the United States. BMWBLOG speculates it might have something to do with the relatively limited range and the lack of xDrive.