2022 BMW X3 First Look Review: Making A Best-Seller Better

First Look / 3 Comments

BMW's bread-and-butter SUV has just been refreshed.

In a world where crossovers outsell sedans at an alarming rate, it comes as no surprise that marques like BMW are prioritizing these models. That's why the 2022 BMW X3 is such a big deal, and why the German brand has not delayed in bringing us a Life Cycle Impulse - LCI, or BMW speak for an update - of the third-generation crossover after just four years on the market. Still based on the same BMW CLAR platform as everything from the BMW 3 Series to the Toyota GR Supra, there's new tech in store including mild-hybrid systems, and, of course, visual updates ready to lure in new buyers.

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Exterior Updates: Subtle Snoutwork

Thankfully, the 2022 X3 manages to escape the big-nose fad sweeping through BMW's design department, although the kidney grilles have still grown for this update. The visual changes take effect all over the car though, with new full-LED headlights that are 0.4 inches narrower, a single-piece grille surround for the aforementioned kidneys, vertical air intakes below the headlights, and a new front bumper design. The headlights can even be customized with several darkened inserts as part of the Shadowline Package.

Around back, new LED taillights feature a 3D effect, and the flush-fitting exhaust trim is larger than ever. Wheels remain available from 19-inches in size on the 30i derivatives, while the M40i boasts the availability of 20- and 21-inch items. This derivative also gets bespoke M styling cues including unique grille bars, wing mirrors, and tailpipe trim.

Among the nine exterior paint finishes, two are new, with Brooklyn Grey metallic and the BMW Individual Tanzanite Blue II joining the palette.

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Interior: More Tech Than Ever

An integral part of any facelift is adding modern tech. That's why the 2022 X3 gets a larger 10.25-inch infotainment display on the center stack supporting both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Over-the-air updates are also standard. Supplementing the main screen is an optional 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster as part of BMW's Live Cockpit Professional suite, which also increases the central screen's size to 12.3 inches. Beneath all this, BMW has reconfigured the controls in the X3, with a new design taking effect. Gloss black is the order of the day, while the new 4 Series-derived center console houses a newly-designed "control island" and gear selector.

Options include extended ambient lighting that has been tweaked to be more than just aesthetically pleasing. It now serves a functional purpose, illuminating a door in red if it has been left open, or flashing across all the doors when locking/unlocking the X3.

Standard seating in the X3 comprises strongly-bolstered sports seats upholstered in Sensatec synthetic leather. This is available in numerous shades including Black, Canberra Beige, Cognac, and Tacora Red. Vernasca leather is available - standard on the M40i - in shades such as Black, Oyster, and Mocha. The M40i gets Canberra Beige/black, Tacora Red, and Cognac as options.

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Performance: Mild-Hybrid Turbo Power

While the sDrive30i and xDrive30i models remain largely unchanged under the hood, both boasting 2.0-liter turbo four-pots with 248 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, the X3 M40i receives a significant mechanical upgrade in the form of mild hybrid assistance. The 3.0-liter B58 six-cylinder is turbocharged and augmented by a 48-volt electrical system to improve efficiency upon startup and when cruising, or alternatively, support ancillary systems in the vehicle. The electric augmentation adds 11 hp of assistance low down in the rev range to the M40i's existing 382 hp and 369 lb-ft outputs.

All X3 models are paired exclusively with a ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox, which allows the M40i to sprint from 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds, while the 30i derivatives - regardless of whether rear- or all-wheel drive - manage the same feat in 6 seconds flat.

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Price and Rivals

Competing in the compact luxury crossover segment, the X3's rivals remain the same as they were before. That means chief competition will come from the Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class and Audi Q5, while the Alfa Romeo Stelvio also features as a challenger to the X3's dynamic abilities.

Pricing has already been confirmed, and when the 2022 X3 arrives later in the year, a base MSRP of $43,700 will apply to the X3 sDrive30i. The AWD-equipped xDrive30i bumps this up to $45,700, while the X3 M40i is priced at $57,800. This represents an increase of just $700 on 30i models and $1,200 on the M40i.

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