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German electric car bargains! BMW launches three more sub-$90K EVs in Australia, taking on Tesla Model Y, Kia EV6, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Tesla Model 3 and more

With the iX1 already a hit, BMW has announced a new base grade, along with cheaper versions of the older iX3 and i4 coupe sedan.

BMW has made good on its promise of making luxury electric vehicles (EVs) more affordable, with a trio of additional grades to existing models announced this week for Australia.

Slipping in under the Luxury Car Tax threshold of $89,332, the iX1 eDrive20 small SUV from $78,900 before on-road costs, i4 eDrive35 coupe sedan from $85,900 and iX3 M Sport medium SUV from $89,100 quadruple the number of EVs it sells below the government-mandated amount, joining the recently-released iX1 xDrive30 from $84,900.

Probably the one likely to make the most impact with consumers in Australia is the more affordable iX1.

Due in the first quarter of next year, the long-anticipated front-motor/front-wheel-drive version – that’s just been announced at this week’s IAA Mobility show in Munich – will be BMW’s cheapest EV for Australia when sales commence in the first quarter of next year.

Sure, it loses its 230kW/494Nm iX1 xDrive30 all-wheel-drive (AWD) sibling’s rear-mounted electric motor, resulting in an 80kW power and 247Nm torque fall, for a three-second 0-100km/h sprint-time rise (to 8.6s) and 10km/h drop in top speed (to 170km/h).

But a corresponding $6000 saving, as well as a gain of up to 75km in range (provisional WLTP figures put it between 430km and 475km) thanks to the retention of the 67kWh battery pack and significant decrease in weight, should resonate strongly with luxury car buyers.

The iX1 eDrive20 small SUV wears a price tag of ,900 before on-road costs.

“We expect the iX1 eDrive20 to be our best-selling EV,” according to BMW Australia Corporate Communications General Manager, Leanne Blanckenberg. “It should be very popular.”

Along with keeping the same-sized battery as big brother, the cheaper iX1 also includes its 22kW AC and 130kW DC charging capabilities, powered tailgate, adaptive LED headlights, head-up display, surround-view camera and auto-entry start, while also ushering in BMW’s latest operating system known as OS9, offering broader digital content and faster over-the-air updates, as well as a revised iDrive interface.

Wheels do drop a size though, to 18 inches, and adaptive dampers are not included, among other equipment cuts, compared to the xDrive30 grade. Note, also, that since the latter will inevitably gain the new OS9 tech in time, that $6K price gap may grow significantly and soon, given the strong demand for this German-made small SUV, so get your order in fast.

The i4 eDrive35 coupe sedan wears a price tag starting from ,900.

Meanwhile, the larger but older iX3 from China will also cost considerably less when the new base grade arrives before the end of this year.

Back in February, it underwent a $10,000 price drop to $104,900 as the M Sport Pro to help stimulate lacklustre sales, and now a new Pro-less M Sport model starts from $89,100.

Yet it retains the former’s 210kW/400Nm rear-motor/rear-wheel-drive (RWD) powertrain and 80kWh battery mustering up to 461km of Combined Driving Test Cycle (CDTC, not WLTP) range.

The iX3 M Sport medium SUV wears a price tag starting from ,100.

A panoramic sunroof, keyless entry, leather upholstery, heated sports front seats, adaptive suspension and more are retained, but the cheaper iX3 ditches the 20-inch wheels for 19s and loses a few other luxuries that were standard M Sport Pro fare.

Finally, the 210kW/400Nm i4 eDrive35 is also a new entry-level proposition, and from $85,900, is due in the last quarter of this year too, joining the 250kW/430Nm eDrive40 RWD from $102,900 and 400kW/795Nm M50 Dual Motor xDrive AWD from $133,900.

It’s still no slouch though, needing just 6.0s to hit 100km/h from standstill, while its CDTC range is up to 430km from a 70kWh battery. AC charging is 11kW.

The iX1 eDrive20 is expected to be BMW's best-selling EV.

Standard kit in the i4 eDrive35 includes keyless entry, a head-up display, LED headlights, three-zone climate control, electric sports front seats, powered tailgate and 18-inch alloy wheels.

All BMW EVs also come with a 12-month Chargefox subscription service, meaning free charging for one year.

Byron Mathioudakis
Contributing Journalist
Byron started his motoring journalism career when he joined John Mellor in 1997 before becoming a freelance motoring writer two years later. He wrote for several motoring publications and was ABC...
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