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2022 BMW X3 Review | The Ultimate Selling Machine

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The 2022 BMW X3 is an SUV with wide appeal. It offers numerous powertrain options with various degrees of performance and efficiency. Plus, there’s even the X4 if you wanted a different body style in exchange for less utility and more money out of your wallet.


And while the X3 may be the most mainstream of all BMW models — it’s the company’s best-seller in the United States — that doesn’t mean it strays too far from the pursuit of the “Ultimate Driving Machine.” We prefer the Porsche Macan and Alfa Romeo Stelvio when it comes to the pure driving experience, but BMW isn’t terribly far behind. Even the basic xDrive30i model exhibits fun driving characteristics while maintaining a certain level of driving ease and comfort. Those wanting everything BMW performance has to offer can dial up the X3 M Competition with its 503 ponies and track-ready chassis, and there’s even the middle-of-the-road high-performance choice with the M40i and its smooth inline-six.


Updates made for 2022 make the X3 far more competitive with the tech-laden competition, and its styling is still fully agreeable to our eyes. There are few standout features, meaning it falls just short of being one of our favorite compact crossovers, but you’d still be smart to check it out.


Interior & Technology   |   Passenger & Cargo Space   |   Performance & Fuel Economy


What it’s like to drive   |   Pricing & Features   |   Crash Ratings & Safety Features



What’s new for 2022?


In short, there’s a lot new for 2022. BMW treated the X3 to a mid-cycle refresh this year, which includes changes to the styling, interior, tech and even powertrains.


Exterior changes include a new, bigger kidney grille, slimmer headlights and a new front bumper design. The rear taillights are much more distinctive with a shape resembling that of cooking tongs. BMW styled up new exhaust exit trim and is offering new wheel options, one of them being a special 19-inch aero wheel that is more aerodynamic and 15% lighter than the standard cast-aluminum wheels. The X3 M adds a new front bumper with larger openings, with the lower area resembling the lower bumper design seen on the new M3.


The interior gains a larger infotainment system display (now 10.3 inches standard with optional 12.3-inch screen), and the center stack’s climate and radio controls panel is updated to resemble that of BMW’s more recently redesigned models. The console below has also been redesigned and features a new gear selector, button layout and iDrive rotary controller — it’s the same as you’ll see in the 3 Series. The standard instrument cluster is still partially analog and partially digital, but you can option up to the all-digital 12.3-inch cluster.


Other tech updates include an expanded driver assistance suite, updated iDrive 7 and greater use of ambient lighting throughout the interior. Perhaps most noticeable of all, BMW has added a 48-volt mild-hybrid system to its X3 M40i model, but we’ll get into more detail there when we discuss powertrains. Also in that section, we’ll detail the power updates made to the X3 M and X3 M Competition. Lastly, the likable plug-in hybrid xDrive30e model is dead for 2022.



What’s the X3 interior and in-car technology like?


The BMW X3’s interior boasts an attractive, clean design and is assembled with premium materials. However, even when extensively optioned, it doesn’t quite rise to the obvious luxury you’ll see in a Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class and Genesis GV70, nor the ultra-cool modern design of the Volvo XC60. That said, the interior styling updates class it up a touch for 2022, and the tech is now even more competitive. If you want something flashy, the X3 M (pictured in the smaller pictures above) and its added colors/zest manage to spruce things up. It even shares its center console with the new M3/M4 now.


BMW offers tri-zone climate control, eight-way power front seats with memory, and a 10.3-inch infotainment system as standard equipment. All models use the current generation of BMW’s iDrive infotainment (iDrive 7) redundantly controlled by touchscreen or a center console knob. This system is super-quick, has excellent graphics and is very competitive in the luxury space of infotainment tech. Thankfully, it offers both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.


The base upholstery is synthetic leather that BMW calls Sensa-Tec (typical for luxury brands), but leather can be optioned from the base sDrive30i model on up, and special variants such as the M models get unique interior options to further set them apart from their peers. BMW’s front seats offer ample support and adjustment and can be had with both heating and ventilation; rear seat heaters and a heated steering wheel are also available.



How big is the X3?


The BMW X3 has been a key player in the compact luxury CUV/SUV space from the very beginning, and along with the Audi Q5, has helped shape the segment as it exists today. Like its European competitors, it boasts a wheelbase roughly as long as a typical midsize family sedan’s and offers ample passenger and cargo room. The rear seats are roomy and comfortable, and the available cargo space behind the second row is competitive, though not class-leading.


Those who want something the size of the X3 but would prefer a less conventional look (and don’t mind the accompanying hit to practicality) should check out the BMW X4, which is the X3’s coupe-like mechanical twin.



Note that the 30e model pictured above is not available for sale in the United States. It’s nearly identical in appearance to the standard xDrive30i, save for the 30e badge and charging flap on the front fender. 


What are the X3 fuel economy and performance specs?


The base sDrive30i and xDrive30i are powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four making 248 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The sDrive models are rear-wheel drive; xDrive denotes all-wheel drive. Every X3 has an eight-speed automatic transmission. The sDrive30i is rated at 23 mpg city, 29 mpg highway and 25 mpg combined (a 2-mpg combined drop for 2022 due to a reduction in city mpg); xDrive models are rated at 21/28/24. BMW estimates zero-to-60-mph times of 6 seconds for both.


The next step up is the X3 M40i, which uses BMW’s glorious 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six, which makes 382 hp and 365 lb-ft of torque. New for 2022, BMW adds a 48-volt mild-hybrid system, but only to this six-cylinder model. It’s capable of doling out an extra 11 horsepower that BMW says helps on standing starts and can add an extra kick “during intermediate sprints.” The system also makes for smoother operation of the start/stop system, and it’ll even shut the engine off at speed when coasting. This turbo-six is paired to standard all-wheel drive and is EPA rated at 21/26/23 mpg. That’s one mpg worse on the highway versus the 2021 model year, so the 48-volt system hasn’t translated to better EPA-rated fuel economy. Its 0-60 time is a scant 4.4 seconds, which is the same as 2021’s M40i. 


Those who want performance, well, you’re in for a treat. The high output X3 M variant with 473 hp and 457 lb-ft of torque from a 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-six. Its 0-60 time is just 3.9 seconds. That’s a 13 pound-foot increase over 2021’s X3 M, and a 0.2 second quicker 0-60 time. If that’s not quite enough, the Competition package (pictured below) bumps the power figure up to 503 horses and 479 pound-feet (37 pounds of twist more than before). All-wheel drive is again standard, helping the Competition scurry to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds (also 0.2 second quicker than before). The downside is that the X3 M is rated at 15/20/17 mpg, which is not good, but also 1-mpg better than last year.



What’s the X3 like to drive?


The X3 is generally pleasant and even fun to drive. The 30i variant may not have the zip of the various M-branded X3 models, but it is torquey enough for everyday driving and we found it to be quiet, smooth and undramatic. The step-up X3 M40i possesses that quintessential verve, poise and overall feel we’ve all come to expect from a BMW. The electric-assisted steering remains a letdown as it’s disappointingly devoid of feel, but the throttle is very responsive and the chassis is willing.


Unfortunately, models with the sport suspension option, including the M40i, come with a firm ride that could easily get tiresome for owners who spend most of their time tooling around a city with poorly patched pavement. The X3 M and M Competition models are more tolerable in this regard as their performance-first mission will likely appeal to drivers who prefer a sharper overall feel at the expense of comfort, and thanks to the X3 M’s adaptive suspension, it can be rendered reasonably docile when a keener edge isn’t necessary. We recommend BMW’s available adaptive dampers if you want to both explore the X3’s performance limits and preserve your vital organs.


We’ve been less impressed with BMW’s adaptive cruise control. While it incorporates some handy features, such as an optional semi-autonomous traffic jam mode, its lane-following still isn’t as accomplished as some others out there.


What other BMW X3 reviews can I read?


2018 BMW X3 xDrive30i Road Test


Our review of the most popular X3 model, the xDrive30i. Although the X3 received multiple substantive updates for 2022, our original observations remain s



2018 BMW X3 M40i Road Test


Pictured below (it’s the blue one), the M40i puts on a decent showing as a sport-tuned choice. The exhaust noises alone make it zestier than the 30i. Again, this was a pre-refresh version of the X3, but our impressions remain broadly the same for 2022.



 


2019 BMW X4 First Drive Review


Want styling zest? Consider the X4, which is just an X3 with a sleeker roofline, less space and a higher price. 



 


2020 BMW X4 M Competition Review


For a taste of what the X3 M provides, check out our X4 M review. The driving experience should be identical, but the interior more practical. 



 


Comparison test: BMW X3 vs Acura RDX, Audi Q5, Mercedes GLC and Volvo XC60


We drove them back-to-back and picked our favorites. Although all but the RDX has since been upgraded, they all belong to the same generation, and our overall rankings and thoughts have not changed. 



 


2020 BMW X3 xDrive30e First Drive


Our review of the X3 plug-in hybrid, the xDrive30e. This model is discontinued for 2022, but you can still read about it here in case you were curious about picking up a used version of the PHEV. 



How much is the BMW X3 price and what features are available?


Pricing starts at $44,695 for the 2022 BMW X3 sDrive30i, including the $995 destination charge. That’s just $700 more than last year’s base model. The all-wheel-drive xDrive30i tacks on $2,000.


Standard features highlights for all of the above include 19-inch wheels, LED headlights, front and rear parking sensors, power folding and heated side mirrors, a power liftgate, three-zone climate control, eight-way power front seats, driver memory settings, SensaTec vinyl upholstery, a 12-speaker audio system, the 10.3-inch iDrive 7 touchscreen infotainment system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.


The M40i sport tunes most key mechanical elements, including the all-wheel-drive system, steering, brakes and the adaptive suspension. It also features more aggressive looks and gains more standard equipment. Basically, the same can be said of the X3 M, but all to an even greater degree.


The bulk of options come within the Convenience, Premium and Executive packages. There are also a handful of stand-alone options, so BMW has maintained some degree of customizability. A more complete breakdown of features, specs and local pricing can be found here on Autoblog.


sDrive30i: $44,695
xDrive30i: $46,695
M40i: $58,795


X3 M: $70,895
X3 M Competition: $77,895



What are the X3 safety ratings and driver assistance features?


For 2022, the X3 comes standard with a number of accident avoidance technologies: forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, and lane-departure warning. The Driver Assistance Plus package increases the speed range of that forward-collision mitigation system and adds adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability, lane-keeping assist and blind-spot warning.


The 2021 X3 received top five-star ratings from the government for its overall, frontal and side crash protection — 2022 scores are not out yet, but we don’t expect any changes. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave it the best-possible ratings for crash protection and crash protection. Standard headlights got a “Marginal” ratings for 2021, while the Executive package’s upgrades get the best-possible “Good” rating. It’s possible these ratings could change with the 2022 updates. This is the X3’s IIHS page that will have the most up-to-date ratings.


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