Let the battle of the electric luxury SUVs commence.
BMW is getting ready to launch the iX3, the fully electric version of the X3 which is one of the brand's most popular models. Although teased on social media this week, the iX3 already leaked in full back in April. Over at Audi, the Q4 Sportback e-tron Concept was just unveiled, a similarly sized EV SUV that will likely be pitted against the iX3 in the near future.
This is a perfect opportunity to compare the styling approaches of these exciting electric SUVs. In a corner of the market that contains the Tesla Model Y and Jaguar I-Pace, exterior design needs to make a bit of a ruckus, even if the powertrain doesn't. Since the iX3 has yet to be officially revealed, we're using the Concept iX3 for the sake of this comparison.
First off, you'll notice that the Concept iX3 is more of a traditional, boxy SUV than the Q4 Sportback e-tron Concept, which has a distinct coupe-like roofline to set it apart from the Q4 e-tron. Perhaps an iX4 would be the perfect match for this Audi. The first impression is that the iX3 is an X3 with just a few styling differences, whereas the Sportback is a far more emotive, futuristic thing with its large grille and spiffy headlights. The iX3, by contrast, mimics the regular X3 but has a unique grille that's joined in the middle, along with a smoother lower front section. It does look rather good, though.
Along the side, once more, the Sportback impresses with gigantic wheels and a much sportier profile, whereas the iX3 only really has a more intricate wheel design and some blue detailing on the side sills to set it apart from the X3.
At the back, the Sportback wears a large integrated fin and has illuminated e-tron script lower down. It instantly dates the iX3 from this angle, which is nearly identical to the X3 and doesn't stand out in any way. Then again, the iX3 should find favor with customers who want an electric powertrain but don't feel the need to shout as loudly about it.
The Q4 Sportback e-tron will be preferred by a more style-conscious buyer, especially if the production version retains most of the concept's detailing.
At least until we drive them, Audi's electric SUV is the one that has us more excited.