This image of a conjoined version of BMW"s iconic double-kidney grille is the first official teaser of the German company"s iX3 concept, which will be unveiled at the Beijing Motor Show.
BMW is set to take the wraps off its conceptual rival to the Jaguar I-Pace and has released a short video on Twitter that reveals the show car"s iX3 name tag. The fresh variation on BMW"s famous grille design could be seen as a symbol of the brand"s exploration of new ideas and technologies – in this case, a fully-electric SUV.
BMW has yet to release technical information about the concept – that"ll come with the car"s official unveiling at the Beijing Motor Show on 25 April – but we expect the latest evolution of the carmaker"s EV technology to offer a longer range than the pioneering BMW i3, perhaps as much as 250 miles between charges.
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The iX3 name offers an interesting clue as to BMW"s direction when it comes to electric vehicles. The company presently offers two standalone electric and electrically assisted models, the i3 hatchback and i8 sports coupe, as well as electrified hybrid versions of the BMW 3 Series, 5 Series and other models under the iPerformance banner. We’re likely to see more of this in future with an increase in all-electric models that are closely related to their conventionally-powered stablemates but the bespoke ‘i’ EV range is also set to grow.
This means the majority of future BMW cars could be developed to accommodate both electrified hybrid and all-electric powertrains. At BMW"s annual financial press conference, company chairman Harald Kruger pledged the arrival of a production iX3 for 2020, and every badge from iX1 to iX9 has been trademarked by the brand. This suggests the iX3 is just one of many electric SUVs in the pipeline – with iX9 perhaps offered as a super-luxury flagship. Elsewhere in the range, an i4-badged model is due to arrive in 2020 to rival the Model 3 and Model S from Tesla.