I recently drove the new BMW iX3 at a media event, which is the electric counterpart to the locally built and extremely popular X3. I’m also currently spending time with the Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge. Both models are electric, and are around similar price points.

As requested, I am doing a side by side comparison of the two.

BMW iX3 Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge
Battery (nett) 74kWh 75kWh
Range 460km 418km
Charge Speed Max AC: 11kW (3 phase)
Max DC: 150kW (10 minute fast charge yields 100km of range)
Max AC: 11kW (3 phase)
Max DC: 150kW (0-80% in 40 minutes)
Home charger Wallbox charger included Wallbox charger included
Engine Integrated system (electric motor, transmission, power electronics) 2x electric motors. 1-speed gearbox (electric)
Power 210kW; 400Nm 300kW; 660Nm
Acceleration 0-100km/h in 6.8 seconds 0-100km/h in 4.9 seconds
Top speed 180km 180km
Infotainment iDrive operating system Runs Android natively
Phone pairing Android Auto; Apple CarPlay CarPlay coming soon
USB ports 1x USB-A; 3x USB-C (1 in centre; 2 in the passenger side) 4x USB-C (2 in front; 2 in the passenger side)
Digital Key Via BMW app (Android & iOS) Not supported
Warranty 2 year/unlimited km on vehicle;
5 year/100 000km maintenance; and 8 year battery warranty
8 year/160 000km warranty;
8 year/160 000km full maintenance plan
Pricing R1 290 000 incl VAT R 1 260 000 incl VAT

This side by side comparison is interesting to me as they are similarly priced EVs and for the first time I’m looking at them spec for spec in this format. These are my insights:


A very obvious thing here is how similar the nett battery capacities are but the BWW gives you more range from a single charge, but not as powerful as the Volvo. When you’re driving an EV, you’re doing it for the efficiency, right? I’m not into how fast the car is going in x seconds, because I’m all about real world usage. Ya’ll know I love the instant torque though.


If you’re into smartphone tech and integrating it with your vehicle, you will love the Digital Key option. I used it on the iX and could do basic functions from my Apple Watch and iPhone (lock, unlock, start car), but more importantly, when you share it with a family member, should be able to restrict certain things.

But also, both Android and iPhone can pair the phones to the car and use those smartphone interfaces – the easiest way. I also love that it has a USB-A port to connect most cables, not just phones, though that is the most obvious thing.

Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge

The Volvo feels like it’s in a class of its own. Love the sage green colour; it’s a good looking car to drive. It’s also really powerful at 300kW, and also faster to get to 100km; if you’re into that, then this is a no brainer. Different things matter when it comes to buying decisions.

Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge

The car runs Android natively. I think it’s fair to call it Android Automotive now that we understand how it all fits in, despite the wording not being used on official brochures. This means that you can use Android directly on the car, and not Android Auto (!). You need to to log into your accounts and will have access to the data on the vehicle.

CarPlay is not yet available, though am testing it on my XC40 (will share more on a separate post) but it is coming. While I didn’t have a good experience on the hybrid, I am enjoying the XC40 a lot. Unfortunately, it doesn’t support a Digital Key. And there are only USB-C ports. If you want to pair an Android phone, you will need a USB-C to USB-C cable cos both ends need it. But the whole point of this Android run car is that you use your accounts on the vehicle.

Parting words

I loved doing this comparison, and loved driving both cars. At the end of the day, both are electric so fun will be had. BMW gives you the three driving modes (eco pro, sport, comfort) whereas Volvo only has one mode for driving, but you can adjust the regenerative braking.

The 8 year battery warranty seems standard, and with BMW i3 being the longest running EV in SA, the company says the batteries have not failed, to date, and didn’t need replacing. Also, it’s good that Volvo offers such a long full maintenance plan if you’re looking long term. That said, I’ve also written about how cheap it is to maintain an EV.

Each has its own strengths and it’s up to you to decide for the same R1.3m bracket what matters to you. It really is a personal preference, which is why I’m not sharing which one I’d go for; I really don’t want you to buy a car because I said so. You should come to that decision for the reasons that matter to you.