Even a couple of years ago, spotting an electric vehicle (EV) was a rare sight in Bangladesh. But now that the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) has a proper taxing structure and registration procedure for electric cars, more dealerships are starting to offer them.
The latest model to be added to the list of EVs officially offered in Bangladesh is the BMW iX3, and we managed to get our hands on a brand new unit of a BMW iX3.
We were able to drive around the city for one sunny afternoon, courtesy of Executive Motors, the authorised distributor of BMW vehicles in Bangladesh.
From the get-go, the iX3 looks almost identical to the regular X3. This is because the iX3 is actually an electrified version of the X3 – which is also offered in Bangladesh by the same distributor and boasts a hybrid powertrain. We featured X3 last year.
The model features are similar to that of the regular BMW lineup. BMW terms it as 'design shaped by dynamics' which the model definitely delivers in terms of styling. Like the rest of the lineup, the iX3 still retains the iconic BMW kidney grills, although enclosed to increase aerodynamics.
That's not the only way to distinguish it from the X3 however. There are blue accents around the grill, blue rings around the BMW badges and a few other blue touches all over the car– a signature move by BMW i– the brand's branch of EVs.
All iX3 models will be offered with the M Sport package offering the optional sporty bits and pieces as standard.
Getting inside the iX3, the first thing that strikes is the roomy interior. Unlike a typical electric vehicle – which needs to compromise spacing to fit the battery and opts for an oversimplified dashboard design – the iX3 actually looks and feels no different than any other BMW model.
The plush and supportive seats provide ample space for passengers to stay relaxed, no matter if they embark on a long road trip or just navigate city streets. The central rear AC vent, paired with the large panoramic sunroof is perfect to enjoy scenic downtown urbanscapes. It also helps with claustrophobia during traffic. The ambient lighting will ensure a relaxing and inviting atmosphere during nighttime drives.
For infotainment, there's a 12.3-inch display connected to 16 Harman Kardon tuned speakers and supports both Apple Car Play and Android Auto along with being able to display various vehicle settings.
Unlike traditional SUVs, the iX3 is actually termed a Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV), highlighting BMW's focus on driving pleasure with its models.
The electric powertrain of the iX3 produces a maximum power of 286 bhp and 400 Nm of torque, all of which is sent to the rear wheels. On paper, this can make the iX3 go from 0 to 100km/h in 6.8s.
When it comes to real-world driving experience, the iX3 doesn't disappoint. It offers a variety of driving modes, allowing users to tailor the experience to their preferences. However, what truly shines is the electric motor's torque, making it perfect for overtakes, providing an exhilarating acceleration that is quintessentially BMW.
What surprised me the most was that the EV iX3 didn't feel like a computer on wheels one bit. Albeit, the faux engine noise, channelled through the speakers, helps with it a bit.
The iX3 allows its driver to build a connection with the road, akin to driving a petrol-powered BMW. The responsive steering provides well-balanced feedback, which allows for an engaging and enjoyable driving experience, especially when paired with its stable handling capabilities for a 2.3-tonne car.
The adaptive suspension breezes through bumps while the 245/50/r19 Yokohama Advan tires provide a solid grip, enhancing the car's handling capabilities.
Commuting through traffic, the iX3 excels in providing excellent viewing angles. Parking and manoeuvring in tight spaces are assisted by a 360° camera, thus making city driving easier.
As per the press release, the iX3 comes with an EV range of 460 km on a single charge. If it's true, this would make iX3 the highest range offered by any EV currently available in Bangladesh. But it wasn't tested during our review.
Supporting up to 11 kW of charging performance, theiX3 will come with a complimentary home charger as standard.
The BMW iX3 is launched with a standard price of Tk1.55 crore. This makes it cheaper than the regular X3. For this price, buyers receive a luxurious and feature-packed BMW that offers the latest EV technology. However, unlike other EVs, this is the only one that feels like a car and not a computer and won't feel out of the box for everyone.
Powertrain: Single electric motor
Drivetrain: Rear-wheel drive
Power: 286 bhp
Torque: 400 Nm
Range: 460 km
Price: Tk1.55 crore