Thursday, June 8, 2023
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Raising the bar

Adib Noor

After much anticipation, BMW Asia and QAF Auto Sdn Bhd recently unveiled the BMW iX3, a sports activity vehicle (SAV) that joins a growing generation of electric vehicles from the BMW i brand.

With the BMW iX3, the BMW Group is raising the bar for driving pleasure in vehicles with an all-electric powertrain. As part of the company’s electrification offensive, the new BMW iX3 comes as standard with a model-specific M Sport package that accentuates the sporting aura of the purely electric SAV with 210kW/400 Nm.

Among the highlights of the newly launched BMW electronic vehicle is the fifth-generation BMW eDrive technology, featuring a highly integrated drive unit bringing the electric motor, power electronics and transmission together within a single housing, and generating a maximum 210 kW/286 hp. The motor’s power is channelled to the road along the traditional route via the rear wheels.

The high-voltage battery in the new BMW iX3 is also the product of fifth-generation BMW eDrive technology. Its gross energy content of 80 kWh and the exceptional efficiency of the electric motor enable a range of up to 460 kilometres, as calculated in the WLTP test cycle.

Customer surveys and comparison drives by professional independent testers have clearly shown how the new BMW iX3 utilises the high energy storage capability of its lithium-ion battery to achieve an exceptional operating range – in everyday driving and exacting conditions including extremely low ambient temperatures and an extremely sporty driving style – when measured against its segment rivals.

ABOVE & BELOW: The new BMW iX3; and a view of the interior. PHOTOS: QAF AUTO SDN BHD

Advanced charging technology enables up to 150 kW of power to be fed into the car at a DC fast-charging station. In this way, it can take on enough energy in the space of 10 minutes to increase its range by 100 kilometres as per the WLTP test cycle. This gives the new BMW iX3 compelling everyday usability.

Apart from the revolutionary technology, the BMW iX3 is still a fully-fledged SAV. Its unrestricted everyday useability and sporty, sure-footed and safe driving characteristics are the result of an outstandingly well-resolved overall design. It shares the rugged versatility of the conventionally powered variants of the BMW X3, offers generous levels of space for five occupants, has a load compartment whose capacity can be expanded from 510 litres to a maximum 1,560 litres, and brings the allure of locally emission-free driving pleasure to the globally popular premium midsize SAV segment.

The flexible vehicle architecture of the BMW X3 makes it the brand’s first model to be offered with highly efficient petrol engines, a plug-in hybrid drive system or fully electric drive.

With its powerful proportions, precise lines and clear sculpted surfaces in the BMW brand’s new design language, the new BMW iX3 is every inch the modern SAV – and it combines versatility with hallmark BMW sporting ability and a robust premium character.

Colour accents in BMW i Blue, a largely enclosed BMW kidney grille and light alloy wheels with optimised aerodynamics signify the presence of a purely electric drive system and a vehicle concept focused squarely on sustainability.

The characteristic blend of sporty driving pleasure and exceptional efficiency is showcased even more vividly in the exterior design of the new BMW iX3 with a modified design for the headlights, BMW kidney grille, side skirts, front and rear aprons.

The sporting nature of the new BMW iX3 stands out more prominently than before on the inside too. Sport seats are now fitted as standard, while a modern control panel in the centre console and restyled controls in the centre of the instrument panel add to the progressive, premium ambience.

The BMW Live Cockpit Professional fitted as standard features a control display with a screen that measures 12.3 inches. Blue accents on the Start/Stop button – now located in the centre console, the gear selector lever and the BMW emblem on the steering wheel allude to the pure-electric drive system at the heart of the new BMW iX3.

Other model-specific cues include the model lettering on the centre console, door sill plates bearing the BMW i logo, elements in the instrument cluster and control display screens reflecting the presence of the electric drive system, and the standard-fitted ambient lighting, which provides BMW i Blue illumination in its default setting.

The standard sport seats provide optimal support for the driver and front passenger through high-speed corners. They are trimmed in the Vernasca leather upholstery in a choice of Mokka, Oyster or Black with blue contrast stitching.

The now standard M Sport package includes both an Anthracite-coloured headliner and interior trim strips in black high-gloss with pearl chrome highlights. There is also a choice of three optional interior trim strip variants.

The new driver-focussed cockpit layout with perfect ergonomic positioning of the controls helps the driver to concentrate on what is happening on the road ahead. The fully digital screen grouping in the new BMW iX3 is now formed by a 12.3-inch instrument cluster and an enlarged control display that matches its dimensions.

The Start/Stop button for the motor is positioned in a new-look control panel in the centre console, where the model-specific selector lever is joined by the BMW Controller and the buttons for the Driving Experience Control switch and electromechanical parking brake.

During the official launch at Rimba Garden Central, QAF Auto General Manager Alisa Khoo said, “We plan to introduce three fully-electric models in Brunei this year. And today, we are excited to bring you the first of these three vehicles – the new BMW iX3. This technology pioneer signals the start of our electric offensive in Brunei and we are confident that our customers will be amazed by the drive and technology.”

The new BMW iX3 is now available for viewing at the QAF Auto BMW showroom in Beribi. It was also shared that BMW currently offers electrified vehicles in 60 per cent of the ASEAN region. These markets include Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.

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