The luxury compact SUV segment has rapidly evolved in the last decade, moving away from rugged styling and a plush interior to a machine that can do it all. Spacious, luxurious, and capable of regularly defying the laws of physics to handle like a much smaller vehicle - the new generation of crossovers have changed the game. So what happens when a manufacturer like BMW introduces hybridization to the popular X3? The BMW X3 xDrive30e's name gives a clue as to its drivetrain, which features an all-wheel-drive system, while power comes from two sources: a 2.0-liter four-pot turbo producing 180 horsepower and an electric motor producing 107 hp for a total combined measurement of 288 hp. An eight-speed ZF automatic controls output as is common on BMW models of late. Numerous features are available to enhance the experience of ownership, but with the more luxurious and more powerful Volvo XC60 Hybrid in the competition as well, can numerous features be enough to sway the judgment in BMW's favor?
For 2020, the X3 range receives a number of updates that include standard navigation on all models, but the big news is the arrival of the all-new X3 plug-in hybrid. Aesthetically, the X3 is difficult to tell apart from its gas-only siblings, and the cargo area does suffer slightly as a result of the battery pack and extra componentry required for the hybrid powertrain.
|xDrive30e Plug-In Hybrid||
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Plug-in Hybrid
LED headlights are standard, along with 18-inch wheels and adaptive LED brake lights. In fact, if you don't look at the color of the badges, it's pretty much impossible to tell the difference between this and a regular model from the exterior appearance. The most obvious difference is the charger door on the driver side, just above the fender vent. Other than that, the same distinctive kidney grilles, satin roof rails, and dual-exit exhaust tips remain. 19- or 20-inch wheels are available for a sportier appearance, and you can opt for the M Sport package with its unique body kit.
The BMW X3 plug-in hybrid shares its dimensions with the regular X3 in all respects but the weight, where the figure increases from 4,041 pounds on the xDrive30i to 4,586 lbs here. Length measures 185.9 inches with a wheelbase of 112.8 inches while the width is calculated at 74.4 inches. Height measures 66 inches on the dot.
The first-ever hybrid X3 in the US is powered by the reliable 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder found in numerous BMW products. It produces 181 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque on its own but is supplemented by an eDrive motor that adds 107 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque. You can run it on electric power alone if you like, but if you're at highway speeds with both motors running, the overall output is rated at 288 hp with 310 lb-ft of torque. These outputs allow the crossover to achieve the run from 0 to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds and achieve a top speed of 130 mph. Interestingly, this seems to be a very well-refined hybrid package, as the transition from electric-only to gas power is smooth and almost imperceptible. As is the case in other BMW products with the above-mentioned four-pot, the tone is a little gruff at higher revs, but the engine is eager and responds well to your right foot. The excellent eight-speed ZF automatic is a perfect companion for relaxed freeway cruises, stop/start traffic, and manual inputs too when you opt to use the steering-mounted paddles.
The X3 is arguably one of BMW's best current products, offering plenty of driving engagement and sporty handling characteristics along with the expected style and luxury that the brand is also known for. The all-wheel-drive system offers excellent grip, and if you opt for the available torque vectoring system, the ability to take corners at high speed improves considerably. Of course, most will never use this and will be more interested in the adaptive damping that can be optioned in, but even in standard form, the X3 handles well while still offering good ride comfort. Braking is similarly impressive, with the regenerative system proving less intrusive than that in most hybrids.
As you'd expect of a hybrid, fuel-efficiency is impressive, with the X3 xDrive30e offering combined EPA figures of 24 mpg with the gas motor only, and a whopping 60 MPGe when taking advantage of the electrical assistance in EV mode. On electric-only power, the X3 can manage 18 miles of range, while the gas motor alone with its 13.2-gallon tank can provide around 316.8 miles of range with mixed driving, giving you a maximum available range of around 335 miles when factoring in the electric range. Regular household sockets can charge the vehicle in around six hours, while BMW's Wallbox reduces that to around the 3.5-hour mark.
The classy interior of the X3 offers decent space and numerous features, with the front seats boasting ten-way power-adjustment as standard, while the rear seatbacks recline too, ensuring that five people of all sizes can remain comfortable even on long journeys. In the driver's seat, the position is commanding and comfortable with plenty of all-round visibility, while lumbar support on both front seats allows you to stay in place through quick corners.
The cargo area in the X3 xDrive30e is slightly below the 28.7 cubes of the regular X3, offering 27.2 cubic feet, but that is still enough for four large suitcases to fit with ease. Fold the rear seats in their 40/20/40 configuration and maximum space expands to 59.4 cubic feet.
In the cabin, four cupholders are provided along with generous center console storage, door pockets with drinks holders, a reasonably sized glovebox, and a center armrest bin.
As standard, the X3 xDrive30e boasts power-adjustable front seats, heated power wing mirrors, tri-zone climate control, a 12.3-inch driver info display, dynamic cruise control, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a power tailgate, LED headlights with cornering, parking sensors front and rear, a rearview camera, and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking. Options include ambient lighting, keyless entry with a hands-free tailgate, a panoramic sunroof, heated seats all round, ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a head-up display, a surround-view camera, adaptive dampers, and wireless charging. You can also get adaptive LED headlights with auto high beams, an automatic parking system, lane departure warning, lane keep assist with side collision warning, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, front cross-traffic alert, and adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go.
The infotainment system is BMW's excellent iDrive system with a 10.25-inch touchscreen display. Intuitive, easy to use, and quick to respond, the system boasts a 32GB hard drive, Apple CarPlay, voice control, navigation, and a 12-speaker sound system, but Android Auto is not offered. What is on offer through the options is SiriusXM satellite radio, as well as features like gesture control and a 16-speaker Harman Kardon audio setup.
The 2020 BMW X3 hybrid is a brand new offering but shares the same issues as the regular X3, which has been subject to five recalls thus far. Recalls started in September 2019 and carried through to March 19th of this year. These included issues like front axle swivel bearings that could break, a steering rack that may fail, an improperly tightened instrument panel casing, a failure to display a rearview camera image, and most recently, seat belt sensors that would not detect if a seatbelt was in use.
If reliability is a concern, the X3 is covered by a limited warranty for four years/50,000 miles. A 12-year/unlimited-mileage rust perforation warranty is offered too, along with four years of roadside assistance. Three years or 36,000 miles of complimentary scheduled maintenance are included too, as part of BMW's Ultimate Car package.
The 2020 X3 has performed well in crash tests, with the NHTSA awarding it an overall rating of five stars out of five in its safety review. The IIHS felt similarly after subjecting the BMW X3 Hybrid to review, and awarded the 2019 model their highest honor of a Top Safety Pick+ award.
Standard safety features include frontal, side-impact, and curtain rollover airbags. You also get a standard crash preparation system called Active Protection, along with a rearview camera, parking sensors, rain-sensing wipers, adaptive LED brake lights, and LED headlights with cornering. Forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection is also included. Options are numerous and include a surround-view camera, an automatic parking system, a head-up display, adaptive LED headlights with auto high beams, lane departure warning, lane keep assist with side collision avoidance, front cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist and Stop & Go.
The X3 in regular form offers impressive handling and comfort, and this hybrid variant is no different. It cruises well on the highway, handles well in the corners, and is responsive to throttle inputs. It also offers good fuel economy and a large cargo area, as well as comfortable seating for five. Standard features are numerous too, while the options list is extensive and filled with useful additions to the X3's capabilities. Essentially, the X3 is sporty, comfortable, efficient, and spacious. The infotainment system is also impressive, providing clear images. To answer the question posed at the outset, the X3 xDrive30e is certainly worthy of being in the lineup and is worth considering. However, with the iX3 coming to the USA as a full-electric model, possibly this year still, those who are looking for an alternative to a Tesla or another electric sport activity crossover may wish to wait a little longer.
So, how much do you need to budget for the Bimmer X3 hybrid? The X3 xDrive30e starts at a base price of $48,550, and the MSRP is exclusive of the $995 destination charge. Numerous options are available and if you don't want the cheapest variant, you can spend up to $66,175 on a fully loaded model.
The X3 Hybrid is an impressively capable luxury crossover, even as a base model, but we'd add some features to make it more enjoyable and easier to live with. Thus, we'd spec keyless entry with the hands-free tailgate, heated seats, and the automatic parking system. We'd also consider the ventilated front seats and adaptive dampers to further enhance comfort for those long drives. Since the adaptive cruise control system comes as part of the Driving Assistance Plus Package, we'd tick that box, thus adding lane keep assist with side collision avoidance, traffic jam assist, and an evasion aid. Thus, you have a comfortable, safe, and dynamic vehicle that can do fun daily driving just as well as family road trips.
If you're not interested in hybridization, the regular X3 is an attractive proposition. It costs considerably less, at $41,950 in RWD form and offers greater cargo volume, along with only a small deficit in power, producing 248 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The same features and options are available, and with less weight, it's also a more agile vehicle. You can also have it in M40i guise, where the 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder produces 382 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, making it a rapid and exciting crossover. Overall, the decision will come down to what you prefer from your vehicle, but the minimal sacrifice in space on the hybrid is worth overlooking for the improved fuel economy, and, when compared to the base variant, increased power.
Premium luxury SUV hybrids are becoming more and more common, but one of the first companies to do it was Lexus, with its NX hybrid. Starting at $39,420, the NX is considerably cheaper than the almost $50,000 X3 xDrive30e. The Lexus is powered by a 2.5-liter inline-four hybrid, but only produces 194 hp and 152 lb-ft of torque. The Lexus is arguably far more striking than the Bimmer from the outside, but the interior, although sophisticated and stylish, is not as modern as that of the X3. Standard features are also less impressive, with only dual-zone climate control, an analog instrument cluster, and an eight-speaker sound system. Maximum cargo space is also lower, with 53.7 cubic feet in comparison to the Bimmer's 59.4. Essentially, the Lexus is an attractive offering, but the Bimmer is the superior competitor here.
Premium luxury SUV hybrids are becoming more and more common, but one of the first companies to do it was Lexus, with its NX hybrid. Starting at $39,420, the NX is considerably cheaper than the almost $50,000 X3 xDrive30e. The Lexus is powered by a 2.5-liter inline-four hybrid, but only produces 194 hp and 152 lb-ft of torque. The Lexus is arguably far more striking than the Bimmer from the outside, but the interior, although sophisticated and stylish, is not as modern as that of the X3. Standard features are also less impressive, with only dual-zone climate control, an analog instrument cluster, and an eight-speaker sound system. Maximum cargo space is also lower, with 53.7 cubic feet compared to the Bimmer's 59.4. Essentially, the Lexus is an attractive offering, but the Bimmer does pretty much everything better.
Check out some informative BMW X3 Hybrid video reviews below.