Published on September 16th, 2020 |
by Zachary Shahan
September 16th, 2020 by Zachary Shahan
Starting prices for special editions of the BMW iX3 have been revealed for the UK market, as have a variety of key specs. The UK is getting two special editions of the fully electric SUV, the Premier Edition and Premier Edition Pro. Pricing for the Premier Edition starts at £61,900 OTR, while the Premier Edition Pro starts at £64,900 OTR. Not cheap, but they are special trims of an electric BMW SUV. BMW has also reportedly completed the conversion of a factory to produce the fully electric BMW i4.
The Premium BMW iX3 Electric SUV
The BMW iX3 Premier Edition Pro comes with a handful of luxe and high-tech features — a Harman Kardon surround sound system, a head-up display (HUD), Gesture Control, and Parking Assistant Plus, for example. It and the iX3 Premier Edition also include:
- 20” Black aerodynamic wheels
- automatic tailgate
- adaptive suspension
- panoramic sunroof
- wireless phone charging
- heated front seats
- Driving Assistant Professional, Parking Assistant and BMW Live Cockpit Professional
- Vernasca leather in a choice of four colors
- Sensatec dashboard
- sun protect glazing
- ambient lighting
- electric seats.
Key specs for the iX3 include:
- 279 mile range (WLTP)
- 0–100 km/h (0–62 mph) in 6.8 seconds
- 286 horsepower
- peak torque of 295 lb-ft
- 74 kWh battery energy capacity (80 kWh gross)
- 11 kW AC charging
- 150 kW superfast charging (adding 62 miles of range in 10 minutes, or charging from 0–80% in 34 minutes)
- 10.25-inch Central Control Display + 12.3 inch instrument cluster.
Additionally, “BMW Live Cockpit Professional comes with optimised smartphone integration; in addition to Apple CarPlay, the new iX3 is also compatible with Android Auto,” a press release notes. “The latter enables customers to access digital services such as Google Assistant, Google Maps, music streaming services like Spotify and Amazon Music, and the WhatsApp messaging service.”
The first deliveries of the BMW iX3 for the UK will begin in the middle of 2021. Interested? Order one here.
New (Converted) BMW i4 Factory
The BMW i4, a somewhat more “dramatic” fully electric offering coming later on also had some news to share. BMW Group Plant Munich has been converted for the new electric era. Over the course of 6 weeks, the BMW team prepped it for production of the i4.
That said, it’s not a 100% conversion like Volkswagen’s Zwickau factory conversion for the Volkswagen ID.3, Volkswagen ID.4, and other fully electric models. “Our plant can now manufacture the fully electric BMW i4 on the same line as diesel-, petrol- and hybrid-powered vehicles,” Plant Munich Director Robert Engelhorn noted.
The conversion process cost BMW €200 million, but this followed bigger general investments in the factory. “Approx. €700 million had already been invested between 2015 and 2018 to install a new, resource-efficient paintshop and extend the bodyshop for production of the BMW 3 Series,” a press release noted.
“In recent weeks, a particular challenge facing the team was the confined space within the production halls, which made conversion and installation work difficult. Previous systems had to be removed with very little space to spare, and new ones installed and launched. Before conversion work began, plans were made with the help of digital tools that simulated the line sections, system designs and production processes by virtual reality.”
Perhaps most interesting and fun about this is that actual factory workers helped in the redesign process using VR (virtual reality) goggles. This was particularly useful for them to provide “valuable feedback on ergonomics and process optimisation.”
Naturally, the BMW i4 needed its own special portion of the factory for attaching the battery pack to the car, a process that has been “fully automated,” according to the company, cutting costs and hopefully providing better precision and consistency. “The approx. 550-kilogram battery pack will be fitted to the body by a new, fully automated battery assembly system, which uses camera systems to check automatically if the battery pack is positioned correctly on the line. The battery pack is also transported to the line and bolted to the body fully automatically.”
It sounds like an efficient, intelligent, modern example of ongoing manufacturing innovation and improved efficiency.
“This has been the most comprehensive overhaul of assembly in the history of Plant Munich,” Engelhorn added.
In addition to the BMW i4, full-fossil-fuel and hybrid versions of the BMW 3 Series Sedan and BMW 3 Series Touring will be produced at this factory, as will the new BMW M3.
All photos courtesy BMW Group
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