Electric Vehciles

iX3 is BMW's first electric SUV, but it won't be coming to the U.S. thanks to the feds

BMW's new SUV is fuel-efficient, but that's not a good enough reason to bring it to the U.S.

Photo courtesy of BMW

BMW has debuted its first all-electric SUV, touting its emissions-free powertrain, "sporting ability", and comfortable interior. But, the model won't be arriving on U.S. shores anytime soon. Instead, the model will be for consumption in Europe and China. Why? It comes down to government.

BMW calls it their "Power of Choice" approach. Others may call it the "throw noodles against the wall" approach to an ever-evolving powertrain scene. This is the same business model that is causing BMW to make a hydrogen-powered X5 available for sale in Europe.

2021 BMW iX3 The BMW iX3 is a compact SUV. Photo by Fabian Kirchbauer Photography, courtesy of BMW

In Europe and China, emissions regulations have been tightened as governments respond to the pressure of the perceived threat of climate change at an increasing rate. Much of the concentration in these regulations deals with tailpipe emissions, which is a cause of air pollution, but doesn't focus energy on the way power is supplied to the powertrain, whether from coal-fired power station or a battery that is made from materials that destroy large swaths of the earth.

In a release about the iX3, BMW shared that, "BMW Group monitors compliance with environmental and social standards as part of its procurement process for the lithium and cobalt used in battery cells."

It is because of these emissions regulations that more automakers have begun investing in electrified powertrains, whether plug-in hybrid (PHEV), battery electric (BEV/EV), or hydrogen fuel cell (FCEV). For some, like Hyundai with hydrogen, the investment in the technology is decades old. Others, like Volkswagen Group, have built their entire future on it. Many automaker executives acknowledge that battery electric vehicles are only a stepping stone until hydrogen takes over as the fuel of choice. Still, FCEVs have batteries.

2021 BMW iX3 The car is proportionally the same as the traditional X3. Photo by Fabian Kirchbauer Photography, courtesy of BMW

In the U.S., emissions regulations are not as strict, despite moves by California in a self-perceived effort to lead the way, with many states not yet clamping down on emissions regulations.

It is for that reason in addition to low demand and because more often than not the profit margins on PHEVs and EVs are slim (add in the cost of shipping, dealer training, and equipment for repairs and the MSRP would have to skyrocket to make up for the extra expense), that BMW will not be selling the iX3 in America - at least not right now.

The 2021 BMW iX3 will be powered by BMW's fifth-generation eDrive technology. It has an 80 kilowatt-hour battery that will allow for a 285-mile range (WLTP). The model's eDrive electric motor sends power to the rear wheels and produces 286 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. The SUV can move from zero to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds and has an electronically limited top speed of 112 mph.

2021 BMW iX3 Blue accents denote the model's EV standing.Photo courtesy of BMW

Drivers are able to choose the level of regeneration the model utilizes. It can be enough to allow for near one-pedal driving or minimally invasive.

To support the company's EV offerings, the BMW Connected Charging app delivers enhanced navigation with built-in charging options. Recharging from zero to 80 percent of the battery's capability happens in just 34 minutes. A 10-minute charge adds 62 miles of range.

The model's body design and interior proportions remain much the same in the iX3 as it does throughout the X3 lineup. Buyers can customize their iX3 ownership experience by ticking the box of one or more of the many options BMW offers including metallic paint, automatic lift gate, a panoramic sunroof, and sport seats.

There are blue accents on the exterior and interior of the model denoting its electric vehicle status within the BMW lineup.

2021 BMW iX3 The SUV seats five.Photo courtesy of BMW

BMW estimates that the iX3 will have 30 percent less of an environmental impact over its lifespan than the diesel-powered version of the X3. When it is charged exclusively using green energy, that number jumps to 60 percent.

The 2021 BMW iX3 will be the first model to be produced for explore at BMW's Shenyang manufacturing facility in China. It is expected to be on sale later this year.

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European sports sedan

Grab this 2000 BMW M5 before someone else does

Classic good looks and a rowdy V8 are the story here.

Bring a Trailer

We could spend all day bemoaning the rise of car auction sites and their impact on prices, but that won't do any good. The damage has been done. Of course, there are exceptions to the sky-high pricing we typically see on auction sites, and some cars are worth the money. This 2000 BMW M5 is one of them, and its current auction bid of just $15,250 makes us think it could go for a decent price.

The E39 M5 is one of the most legendary and sought-aftersports sedans of all time. Its 4.9-liter V8 produced 394 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque when it was new, which isn't all that crazy by today's standards, but an almost 400-horsepower family car was a big deal at the time. That magical engine is paired with a six-speed manual transmission and rear-wheel drive – an enthusiast's dream recipe.


2000 BMW M5 This car is in great shape for its age.Bring a Trailer


Inside, this car's tan leather upholstery looks great, and matches well with its black exterior. The seller has kept mods to a minimum, with just a set of aftermarket headlights on the list of changes. The car's original navigation system and head unit appear to be in place and the entire package is so well preserved it's amazing that the car hasn't drawn more interest so far.

Where this M5 will end up is anybody's guess. These cars are particularly difficult to find in any condition that could be called drivable, so this car's relatively low $15,000 current bid amount is surprising. Commentors on this auction are just as surprised as we are, and are asking where the love has gone for this M5. Of course, someone could swoop in at the last moment and start a bidding war, and with a full day left on the clock there's plenty of time for some action.


2000 BMW M5 The tan leather is nearly perfect.Bring a Trailer

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Updated crossovers

BMW Announces Updates for 2022 X3 and X4

The X3 and X4 get meaningful updates for 2022.

BMW

European luxury brands have fully embraced the SUV and crossover craze. Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and BMW have all drastically increased their utility vehicle catalogs in recent years, but haven't forgotten fun and drivability along the way. BMW in particular offers several models, each of which can be had in high-performance variants or with performance options packages. Two, the X3 and X4, will receive meaningful updates for the 2022 model year, with new powertrain tech and upgraded standard features.

The standard vehicles will be powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 248 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. All X3 and X4 models will get an eight-speed automatic transmission, and most will get standard all-wheel drive. Only the base X3 sDrive model will miss out. Both the X3 and X4 will be available with a Dynamic Handling Package, along with various steering and suspension upgrades. A Performance Control feature will be available for X3 models equipped with the M Sport package and standard for all X4 models, which brings the ability to shift torque to the rear wheels for better traction.


2022 BMW X4 Because of its sloping roof, BMW calls the X4 a coupe.BMW


Both the X3 and X4 will also be available in performance-oriented forms. The M40i models will be powered by a twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline-six engine that produces 382 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. BMW says the engine is powerful enough to propel the crossovers to 60 mph from a standstill in just 4.4 seconds and on to a stop speed of either 130 or 155 mph, depending on the tire.

BMW's Live Cockpit Plus system is standard for the X3, which includes a 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen and a 5.1-inch color display in the center of a traditional gauge cluster. X4 models and upgraded X3 models will get a digital gauge cluster that measures 12.3 inches, along with a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Called Live Cockpit Professional, the system is based on BMW's latest iDrive 7.0 software and can display information such as maps and vehicle data directly in front of the driver. BMW says that iDrive 7.0 allows the vehicles to be updated over-the-air to add new digital services and keep vehicle systems running properly.


2022 BMW X4 Both the X3 and X4 will be available in high-peformance M models.BMW


If you're hoping to get ahold of the new X3 or X4, production will begin in August 2021 at BMW's Spartanburg, SC facility. Pricing will begin at $43,700 for the X3 and $51,800 for the X4. Both vehicles will be subject to a $995 destination charge and taxes.

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