BMW X3

The BMW X3 comes in just two models: X3 xDrive28i and X3 xDrive35i. 28i models have a so-called TwinPower turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, displacing 2.0 liters and making 240 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Peak torque is achieved at just 1,250 rpm, so this engine is very responsive; it move the X3 to 60 mph in just 6.5 seconds and to a governed top speed of 130 mph. Then 35i models step up to a 300-hp, 3.0L turbocharged in-line six that's the choice for those who want the most performance. Both engines have Valvetronic variable valve timing and direct fuel injection,

In either case, the X3 has a responsive and quick-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission, and it includes an Eco Pro mode that--when the button is depressed--helps improve fuel economy by optimizing heating and air conditioning use, softening accelerator response and changing shift times. All models also have Auto Start/Stop, which shuts off the engine when waiting at stoplights--starting quickly when the brake is released; and Brake Energy Regeneration essentially saves fuel by using the alternator smartly. Fuel economy ratings are 21 mpg city, 28 highway with the 28i, or 19/26 with the 35i.

Both versions of the X3 offer the xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive system, which works together with the stability control electronics and normally send 60 percent of torque to the rear wheels; a multi-disc clutch system can send up to 100 percent to the rear wheels when it's needed for traction--whether by a slippery road situation or high-performance driving. X3 models also have Servotronic speed-sensitive steering, although a Variable Sports Steering--essentially a variable-rack system--is optional. The X3 rides on run-flat tires.

The interior of the X3 is set up like a wagon, only with a somewhat higher seating position and plenty of headroom. Ingress and egress are easier than in a sedan and the back seat can fit three across, albeit snugly. There's a ski pass-through and the rear seatback is split 40/20/40 so that it can be folded for any combination of passengers and cargo. The X3 also offers a number of small storage cubbies in the doors, the dash and center console.

Standard equipment includes a power tailgate, 18-inch wheels, a universal garage-door opener, a panoramic moonroof, xenon headlamps, automatic climate control, dynamic cruise control, fog lamps, power front seats, driver seat memory and a BMW Professional sound system with HD Radio and satellite radio compatibility. BMW Assist eCall and TeleServices emergency roadside assistance and concierge services are now included, too.

The options list is long and includes both major packages and a la carte items. Some of the larger packages include a Dynamic Handling Package (Dynamic Damper Control, Performance Control and Variable Sport Steering), a Driver Assistance Package (rearview camera with Top View and Park Distance Control), an M Sport Package (high-gloss roof rails, sport seats, an aero kit, an Anthracite headliner, Shadowline exterior trim, an M Sports leather steering wheel, paddle shifters, Dynamic Damper Control and 19-inch M light-alloy double spoke wheels), or the Technology Package (navigation, real-time traffic, a head-up display, BMW Apps).

Editors' Review

BMW has ambitious plans to launch 25 new electrified models by the year 2023. Some of those will be fully electric vehicles like the new i4 sedan, but the majority will be plug-in hybrids, like the 330e, the 530e or the subject of this review, the X3 xDrive30e.

The X3 30e borrows the powertrain from the 330e: a 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 combined with an 80-kilowatt electric motor. This combination is good for 288 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque, with electricity stored in a 12-kilowatt-hour battery pack located underneath the rear seat.

Different hybrid drive options are accessed via the eDrive button on the center console. Max eDrive reduces speed and power delivery, for the most efficient use of electricity. You can even configure Max eDrive to be the default setting -- assuming there's sufficient battery power. The eDrive button also allows you to control your battery options, so you can maintain a set state of charge, in case you want to save your EV operation for a jaunt in the city and run the gas engine exclusively on the highway.

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The Good ~ Enough electric range for short commutes ~ Plenty of room for people and things ~ Wireless CarPlay works great

The Bad ~ Not as powerful as its competitors ~ All the good driver-assistance features are optional

The Bottom Line The 2020 BMW X3 xDrive30e takes everything we like about BMW's compact crossover and adds a little more power and efficiency.

Editors' Rating
  • Performance 7
  • Features 8.5
  • Design 8
  • Media 8

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