The Bavarian Motor Works, (known as the Bayerische Motoren Werke in German, or BMW in America), is a name long associated with luxury, precision, and racing capabilities. Scroll below to learn about the BMW X3’s defining features.
Though hard-pressed at times to beat the sportiness and refinement of Audi and Porsche, BMW does the German people proud by offering a strong pedigree of sedans, SUVs, and even motorcycles as well. Prestige and legacy aside, BMW continues to market dynamic vehicles equipped with class and competences.
BMW names its SUVs as SAVs, for Sports Activity Vehicle. While this may be a subtle distinction, the intended use makes all the difference. For example, Jeeps are your typical SUV/4WD vehicles, but for those who love “glamping” and fancy ski trips, BMW is your prime choice for a smooth, luxurious ride. Because who says you have to get dirty and be uncomfortable if you’re outdoors?
BMW offers two engines for the 2018 X3. The first, an inline-four, TwinPower turbo 2.0L, is capable of 248 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. The 3.0L inline-six featured on the M model is also a TwinPower turbo capable of 355 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. Both engines are paired to an eight-speed automatic with sport and manual shift modes and feature twin-scroll turbos.
Customers can choose from the following colors for their 2018 X3:
- Alpine White
- Jet Black
- Black Sapphire Metallic
- Glacier Silver Metallic
- Dark Graphite Metallic
- Mineral White Metallic
- Dark Olive Metallic
- Terra Brown Metallic
- Phytonic Blue MEtallic
The 2018 X3 has a respectable towing capacity of 4,400 pounds, when equipped with an optional tow hitch of course.
The EPA estimates 22 city and 29 highway mpg for the X3 equipped with the 2.0L engine, while the 3.0L dips down to 20 city and 27 highway mpg.
With no hybrid option, and both engines featuring a twin-scroll turbo set-up, it’s hard to effectively compare the 2018 X3 to the rest of the SUV lineup. Most notably, Toyota offers the Highlander hybrid, and other marques have done their best to reduce displacement while still maintaining high horsepower and torque numbers. This is where the 2018 X3 falls behind the pack, coming in fourth after the Highlander hybrid, Audi Q5, and the Range Rover Evoque.
Entertainment and Safety Features
Offered in only two engine configurations, the 2018 BMW X3 is all about features and packages. Some of the packages offered include the Driving Assistance Package, the Driving Assistance Plus Package, the Dynamic Handling Package, and the Parking Assistance Package. Trim packages include the xLine, Luxury, and of course M Sport.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awarded the 2018 X3 five stars overall, with a four out of five stars for the rollover rating, according to Kelley Blue Book. Since this is an SUV, and therefore the center of gravity is higher than in a standard sedan, such a rating is to be expected. Edmunds states the IIHS has not rated the 2018 X3 yet, but that J.D. Power and Associates gave this year’s model anywhere from a two to a five in each category. Most notably, the X3 did well in body and interior design, but average in features, accessories and powertrain quality.
The first engine option for the 2018 BMW X3 is the 30i, which comes equipped with the 2.0L inline-four. The model itself is called the xDrive30i, and rides on 18-inch wheels. With an auto start-stop function, an eight-speed automatic with sport and manual shift modes, and steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters, the base model is no slouch. Styling points include LED headlights and fog lights, chrome exhaust tips, leather seats, a power tailgate, and a rear-view camera. These AWD models also include Hill Descent Control (HDC), Bluetooth, SiriusXM, electric power steering, and Launch Control.
The M40i has all the M Sport trimmings necessary to kit this model out: the M Sport exhaust system so everyone can hear you coming; M Sport brakes to pull all those horses to a stop; and M Sport suspension to keep you riding like a prince. Other features include Variable Sport Steering and Performance Control, which are “exclusively tuned for [the] X3 M40i,” a panoramic moonroof, LED headlights, and leather seating. Riding on 19-inch wheels, the M40i model has an aerodynamic kit, black chrome exhaust tips, SiriusXM and HD radio, a power tailgate, rear-view camera, and Park Distance control for the front and rear.
Optional features available on both models include a heated steering wheel, heated front and rear seats, a navigation system, the Harman Kardon sound system, Apple CarPlay, and trailer hitch. The panoramic moonroof is optional on the xDrive30i model as well. Android Auto is not available on the 2018 BMW X3.
How the 2018 BMW X3 Compares
All in all, every reviewing website had good and bad things to say about the 2018 BMW X3. Kelley Blue Book notes the “X3 M40i is the ideal solution if you’re stuck choosing between a sport sedan and an SUV,” while they lament that “with so many options, the price climbs quickly.” Consumer Reports points out that the gear selector and some of the electronics require a learning curve.
Edmunds acknowledges the brand’s legacy, noting the second generation of the X3 sold for seven years before the new model, so why fix what’s not even broken? Then again, with the X3 and X5 so similar in appearance, it might be time for the Germans to consider a facelift. All the same, Edmunds states the X3 “remains one of our top recommendations for a luxury crossover SUV.”
What’s most notable about the 2018 X3 is that Android Auto is not featured, at all. For around $50,000, that’s hard to believe considering most brands offer the Apple and Android vehicle components as a pair, rather than alone. With only two models offered, BMW really left the customization up to the customer, but many reviewers noted that the bill adds up fast. What started around $50,000 might end up costing you close to $60,000 in the end.
The SUV segment is also rife with a wealth of options at varying prices. While common brands like Volkswagen, Mazda, Kia, and Acura can’t really match the styling of manufacturers like Audi, Buick, Jaguar, and Mercedes-Benz, BMW does offer somewhat of a middle ground option. You’ll certainly find sportier, more luxurious, more affordable, and/or better equipped models if you look hard enough, but it’s all about your personal tastes. The SUV segment is a customer’s market for sure.
- Responsive handling
- Quiet interior
- Plenty of options
- Fuel efficiency
- No Android Auto
- No hybrid option
- Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) not standard
- No styling updates
- Price adds up with options, packages
The 2018 BMW X3 rounds out the compact luxury SUV segment with a capable, clean, and classic lineup. If you’re in the market for a model similar to the likes of Audi, Porsche, and Mercedes-Benz, give the BMW X3 a test drive and decide for yourself if the BMW is the ultimate driving machine?