Review: 2022 BMW X3 gets a facelift, but loses a plug-in
The X3 is the small but not compact SUV in BMW's lineup, sitting above the diminutive X1 and below the more family-sized X5. Because of its size, the X3 fits in the area where most sporty, right-sized, and fuel-efficient sport utilities land. And it's all that.
The 2022 model year sees a few changes for the X3, including some styling alterations to the front and rear, some interior upgrades to include a larger infotainment touchscreen, and a mild hybrid system for the six-cylinder turbo engine option. Sadly, BMW dropped the plug-in hybrid xDrive30e model and has not said whether it will return. It's likely that the iX xDrive50 is expected to be the replacement as a similarly-sized EV.
At a glance
- Two engine options, one with a mild hybrid built in
- Surprisingly good fuel economy for the segment and performance levels
- Good interior with smart technology
- Tall price tag
The 2022 BMW X3 comes with both a turbocharged four-cylinder and a turbocharged six-cylinder option, the latter of which gains a 48-volt mild hybrid system to improve fuel economy. The four-cylinder model is designated the sDrive30i for front-wheel drive models, and xDrive30i for the all-wheel drive models. The six-cylinder is the M40i, with its mild-hybrid system adding an upgraded starter-generator and additional battery to add torque for acceleration, especially in stop-start situations like city driving.
As the best-selling model in BMW's fleet, the X3 is where the German automaker must shine to stay ahead of the game. This refresh adds a few things that make the X3 a little better. The infotainment is greatly improved with the new, larger screen and better voice recognition. The plug-in hybrid model, however, was our favorite among the X3 options and with it gone, the M40i mild hybrid is our next choice.
The system does definitely add some acceleration to the engine's output, especially during the pre-turbo points where lag is usually the enemy to getting up and going. Fuel economy improves around town and is rated at 23 mpg (10.2 l/100km), but it seemed clear that the mild hybrid system was boosting that as our overall (mixed) MPG return was 28 mpg (8.4 l/100km). Highway MPG is rated at 29 (8.1 l/100km) and we achieved 29.4 (8 l/100km) in our loop test. For reference, the four-cylinder model is rated at 31 mpg (7.6 l/100km), so the penalty for going with the six is slight.
For performance, the 30i models use a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine that produces 248 horsepower (185 kW). That’s pretty good output for a small SUV like this. Going to the M40i model, however, swaps in a 3.0-liter six-cylinder that’s turbocharged to 382 horsepower (285 kW). That plus the mild hybrid system means that the X3 M40i is capable of sub-5-second 0-60 mph (96.5 km/h) sprints.
Driving the 2022 BMW X3 is a treat. The mixture of versatility and daily usefulness with solid driving dynamics is a winning combination. Steering is well-balanced, body roll is minimal, and the option of changing steering feel with the push of a button is great. Noise levels on the highway are as expected with a BMW, so better than average, but not as quiet as with some other luxury makes. Road feel is excellent, though, giving a strong engagement.
The interior of the X3 is comfortable and well appointed, with the typical BMW flair for minimalism and luxury. The gauges are easy to read, and are a proper mix of analog and digital. Storage is about average for day-to-day items and small things, but cargo is excellent with one of the largest in the category. Cargo space is rated at 28.7 cubic feet (813 liters) behind the second row, and expands to 62.7 cf (1,775.5 liters) with the rear seats folded. They fold nearly flat.
Front seats are spacious and the rear bench is pretty good at the outboards, but not as good in the middle (as would be expected). The seats aren’t great for big and tall passengers, but fine for everyone else. Headroom is surprisingly good for a vehicle this size, and legroom is very good up front and good enough for most in the rear. As with most European designs, the LATCH connectors for child safety seats are easy to get to and use.
Where things get sticky is in pricing. The 2022 BMW X3 sDrive30i and xDrive30i start at about US$45,000. The M40i jumps to $59,000. All 2022 X3 purchases include three years of complimentary scheduled maintenance.
The 2022 BMW X3 is a great vehicle that’s right-sized for a lot of buyers. Its rivals offer fierce competition, however, and while the X3 is definitely a top choice, it’s not going to be everyone’s favorite. That said, we still think it’s competitive, and greatly enjoyed the M40i model.
Product Page: 2022 BMW X3