2022 BMW X3 xDrive30e review

Jacquie Hayes finds out whether the new X3 plug-in hybrid can justify its steep premium over the already-capable xDrive30i and xDrive30d.

Jacquie Hayes
Jacquie Hayes
Contributor
Published
PROS
  • Good power and response in hybrid mode
  • Premium styling and high-quality cabin
  • Plenty of space for adults front and rear
CONS
  • Not a lot of grunt in EV mode
  • Short real-world EV range
  • Battery packaging impedes on cargo space

At first blush, BMW’s X3 xDrive30e is the full package, offering the premium styling typical of the X3 range, the familiarity and performance of a turbo petrol engine, and electric power on board as well.

But that last piece of this plug-in hybrid puzzle might give prospective buyers reason for pause. If they’re expecting the thrust and excitement of a pure-electric vehicle, they won’t find it here.

At $104,900 before on-road costs, the X3 xDrive30e PHEV also priced at a premium over plug-in rivals including the Volvo XC60 Recharge, Mercedes-Benz GLC300e and Range Rover Evoque P300e.

Nevertheless, there’s a lot to like about this petrol-electric X3, as BMW’s pushes towards ensuring at least half its global sales are fully electric by 2030.

How much does the BMW X3 xDrive30e cost?

As noted earlier, the X3 PHEV starts at $104,900 plus on-road costs, putting it one rung under the X3 M40i in the core X3 line-up.

It commands a $10,000 premium over the six-cylinder xDrive30d diesel, and $17,000 over the four-cylinder xDrive30i petrol. BMW has previously kept the price gap between combustion and PHEV models fairly thin, so this discrepancy is a little out of character.

2022 BMW X3 pricing:

  • BMW X3 sDrive20i: $73,900
  • BMW X3 xDrive20d: $76,900
  • BMW X3 xDrive30i: $87,900
  • BMW X3 xDrive30d: $94,900
  • BMW X3 xDrive30e: $104,900
  • BMW X3 M40i: $115,900

All prices exclude on-road costs

What do you get?

X3 xDrive30e highlights:

  • Metallic paint
  • Panorama glass sunroof
  • Lumbar support for driver
  • Seat heating for first row 
  • Domestic use (Mode 2) and public charging (Mode 3) cables
  • BMW i brand designation elements for interior and exterior

That’s on top of specification carried over from lower grades, including:

  • M Sport Package
  • Parking Assistant Plus
  • Backrest width adjust, driver
  • Leather ‘Vernasca’ upholstery
  • Ambient lighting
  • 12-speaker HiFi loudspeaker audio system
  • Driving Assistant Professional^
  • Remote Software Updates
  • Reversing Assistant
  • Adaptive LED headlights
  • High Beam Assistant
  • Comfort Access
  • Galvanic interior finishers
  • Remote Software Updates
  • Reversing Assistant
  • 19-inch alloy wheels
  • Tri-zone climate control
  • Automatic tailgate
  • BMW Live Cockpit Professional with 12.3-inch screen
  • Connected Package Professional
  • DAB digital radio
  • Electric front seat adjustment
  • Head-up display 
  • Mirror package
  • Navigation package
  • Parking Assistant
  • Reversing camera 
  • Sport leather steering wheel
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
  • Wireless phone charging#

#Enhanced telephony temporarily replaces Wireless Charging due to the current semiconductor supply shortage. A $429 reduction is applied to the RRP in light of the change.

^Driving Assistant temporarily replaces Driving Assistant Professional due to the current semiconductor supply shortage. A $2500 reduction is applied to the listed RRP in light of the change.

Is the BMW X3 xDrive30e safe?

The pre-facelift BMW X3 managed a five-star ANCAP safety rating based on tests conducted by Euro NCAP in 2017. This rating only applies to xDrive20d and xDrive30i variants in the pre-update line-up, however.

In terms of category scores, the X3 managed 93 per cent for adult occupant protection, 84 per cent for child occupant protection, 70 per cent for pedestrian detection and 58 per cent for safety assist.

Dual frontal, side chest, side curtain and a driver’s knee airbag are standard.

X3 sDrive20i and xDrive20d models come with the basic Driving Assistant package, which includes:

  • AEB with pedestrian detection
  • Forward collision warning
  • Cruise control with downhill braking function
  • Lane departure warning
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Speed sign recognition
  • Proactive rear collision protection

The X3 xDrive30i, xDrive30d, xDrive30e and M40i get Driving Assistant Professional, which adds:

  • Adaptive cruise control with stop/go
  • Steering and Lane Control Assistant (semi-autonomous mode)
  • Lane-keep assist
  • Blind-spot assist
  • Front cross-traffic alert
  • Evasion aid

Driving Assistant Professional is currently unavailable on all versions but the M40i, however, “due to the current semiconductor supply shortage”. BMW Australia says this is only temporary, and a $2500 price reduction is applied to the listed RRP of impacted variants.

What is the BMW X3 xDrive30e like on the inside?

Once inside, there’s no difference to the regular X3’s styling, with its two-tone combination and beautifully made M Sport electric leather seats familiar from elsewhere in the range.

The M Sport steering wheel looks good, feels good to hold and delivers great weight and feedback to improve the fun factor. The chunky wheel is also heated and the paddles are easy to reach and use.

An 10.25-inch touchscreen running iDrive 7 sits in the middle of the dash, displaying terrific resolution, while a 12.3-inch driver screen is embedded behind the steering wheel. The latter has a curious feature which displays a video game-like view of where the car is positioned on the road in relation to surrounding traffic.

My 15-year-old son and I found this entertaining for all of 60 seconds while we worked out if the system could discern between different vehicle types – car, truck or motorbike (it could). Otherwise, we failed to understand the utility of it given keeping your eyes on the actual road seems a preferable strategy when it comes to looking for obstacles.

Otherwise, BMW’s infotainment system is intuitive and easily configured so the home screen displays most commonly used information. It’s navigated using the iDrive scroller on the centre console, touchscreen and voice control, which works well. Wireless phone charging is a welcome addition, and there are USB and USB-C charging points throughout, as well.

Apple and Android smartphones are mirrored wirelessly and digital connectivity includes over-the-air software updates and compatibility with the My BMW smartphone app, which provides access to remote locking, viewing and vehicle location functions. The BMW GPS looks good but I still prefer Audi’s.

In reverse, the 360-degree camera system shows trajectory, distance markers and parking sensors with resolution. 

There’s plenty of cabin space for five adults compared to competitors, especially in terms of leg and toe space in the rear.

In the boot, the initial entry has been raised about 7.5cm to accomodate the battery which reduces cargo space up to the window line from 550 litres to 450 litres.

Other competitors have been able to avoid that lost space with a better packaged battery.

What’s under the bonnet?

The xDrive30e combines the sDrive20i’s 135kW/300Nm 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine with an 80kW/265Nm electric motor, for system outputs of 215kW and 420Nm.

It’s all hooked up to a 12kWh (gross) lithium-ion battery pack mounted under the boot floor, good for a zero emissions driving range up to 41 kilometres in Australian specification (EU models claim up to 50km).

Combined fuel consumption is rated at 3.2L/100km on the combined cycle, and emissions at 73g/km.

BMW claims a 0-100km/h acceleration time of 6.1 seconds, making it 0.2 seconds quicker (claimed) than the xDrive30i but 0.3 seconds slower than the xDrive30d.

How does the BMW X3 xDrive30e drive?

Don’t expect aggressive acceleration in this car.

In pure-electric mode, it could even be described as sluggish. At least the eight-speed stepped transmission under gas sounds great.

In hybrid mode, you can feel the car working its way through the power sources, using mostly electricity in town driving.

When you put your foot down, the shift in torque is instantaneous but it’s mild, which may be a deal-breaker for those used to BMWs being really fun cars. Still, the pedal response and power was adequate in traffic.

It takes no time to burn through the surprisingly low (from BMW) 50km that WLTP test labs promise of the xDrive30e.

We regularly saw the indicated EV range from a full charge well below that quoted 50km figure, so it may be hard to match the manufacturer’s claim in real-world conditions.

That may have something to do with the its two-tonne weight which you really feel, especially on bumpy and uneven roads. Ride finesse and fluency can fall short, delivering some unsettled cabin moments.

On smoother roads, BMW’s suspension keeps the lateral body control in check and its handling feels agile and precise for a car of this size.

For those who want to know if they can drive it on electric alone, you can but there will be no avoiding that noticeably sluggish acceleration.

How much does the BMW X3 xDrive30e cost to run?

The X3 is covered by BMW Australia’s three-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty, which is shorter than the five-year coverage offered by most rival brands.

As for maintenance, BMW offers a Service Inclusive package that covers the first five years or 80,000km – whichever occurs first.

This package for the BMW X3 line-up (excl. iX3) is advertised for $2010.

CarExpert’s Take on the BMW X3 xDrive30e

Overall, it’s not hard to get past the lacklustre feel of the xDrive30e’s electric motor.

The ride quality is agreeable and it offers plenty of power for most people. It’s a solid option for those in the market for a good-sized family car, who like SUVs and enjoy a good drive with the daily EV driving capability and low emissions a PHEV – provided you charge it daily.

However, its high asking price and current lack of high-end assistance systems mean we encourage you to either wait for the full Driving Assistant suite to be available and consider whether you really need the PHEV or can make do with the similarly-specified petrol or diesel versions for over $10,000 less.

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MORE: Everything BMW X3

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Jacquie Hayes
Jacquie Hayes is a Contributor at CarExpert.
Ratings
Overall7.7
Show Breakdown
Cost of Ownership 8
Ride Comfort 8
Fit for Purpose 7
Handling Dynamics 7.5
Interior Practicality and Space 8
Fuel Efficiency 8
Value for Money 7
Performance 7.5
Technology Infotainment 8
Pricing
Top Line Specs
3.2L
135kW
73g
Not tested
View all specifications

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