Is the Redesigned 2018 BMW X3 xDrive30i Still a Solid Choice Among Luxury SUVs? [Review]

2018 BMW X3
2018 BMW X3. [Photo: BMW]
SUVs and crossovers continue to dominate the market – particularly compacts, as the segment has experienced rapid growth year-on-year. The BMW X3 has enjoyed tremendous sales success in the past, but the current model needed a refresh to keep up with its substantial competition. Thanks to its redesign, the 2018 BMW X3 is  more appealing than before with a complete redesign and by simplifying the model availability featuring only two versions: the BMW X3 30i – available in rear-wheel drive (sDrive) or all-wheel drive (xDrive) – and the BMW X3 M40i xDrive.


BMW has revamped the X3 for 2018. The boxier SUV shape remains, but BMW has given it more pronounced, angular styling to bring it in line with the rest of the model range.

The 2018 BMW X3 has a 75 percent larger Head Up Display (HUD) with a full color 10.25-inch touchscreen. It also features BMW’s Gesture Control technology, where you can control multimedia elements using your hands rather than the traditional buttons and knobs. Comfort and safety have been enhanced with Active Protection pre-crash accident detection system, standard sport seats, three-zone automatic climate control and reclining rear seats. BMW also includes its first factory-mounted trailer hitch in this model.

Visually, the exterior of this third generation BMW X3 improves on the outgoing generation’s design. It displays a muscular form with the company’s signature twin kidney grille prominently front and center. Shifting aft, BMW showcases a strong visual impact with the distinctive taillights, which match the front aesthetic of the car. Although, you can go one step further with the lights, Adaptive Full LED headlights are optional. The roofline slopes slightly downward for a more athletic appearance, although not nearly as much as the coupe-like X4 model.

2018 BMW X3
[Photo: BMW]


The cabin provides roomy and comfortable seating for five. The “sport” seats with power adjustable side bolsters are standard fare, and are actually more comfortable than you might expect. An Anthracite headliner is also standard. Everything feels remarkably solid – the fit and finish is exactly what you’d expect from the brand.

The overall cabin and cargo space is generous, with 28.7 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats in place, and 62.7 cubic feet while they’re folded down. A 40/20/40 split-folding second row and power rear liftgate are standard issue. The 2018 BMW X3 includes an Executive Tier which adds a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster display. There’s also a standard 6.5-inch display, but buyers can up that to a 10.3-inch screen with the Premium Tier.

Auto Stop/Start and selectable driving modes including  Eco Pro, Comfort and Sport are standard fare on the 2018 BMW X3. So is the government-mandated rearview camera. However, those are really the only standard features on this car. Virtually everything else costs extra. Safety features such as blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, city collision mitigation, pedestrian detection, automatic braking, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, park distance control, a 360-degree surround-view camera, and front and rear cross traffic alert are all options.


2018 BMW X3

2018 BMW X3 (European model shown). [Photo: BMW]


The 2018 BMW X3 xDrive30i is propelled 2.0-liter TwinPower turbocharged engine. It produces 248 horsepower in a range from 5,200-6,500 rpm, while also developing 258 lb-ft of torque from 1,450-4,800 rpm. Power is sent to all four wheels through BMW’s trademark xDrive system via an eight-speed automatic transmission. With its reduced mass and enhanced axle kinematics, the ride quality is sportier more agile than before with any sacrifice in the level of comfort.

The engine feels powerful and readily responsive, and gear changes come smoothly, whether in automatic or manual mode. While the current flagship X3 xDrive40i is more powerful thanks to its six-cylinder engine, the four-cylinder xDrive30i version is still no slouch.


2018 BMW X3
[Photo: BMW]


The 2018 combines driving fun and enjoyment with practicality and functionality in a more attractive package, thanks to its recent redesign. The 2018 X3’s MSRP starts at $42,650 for the xDrive30i model. That sounds perfectly reasonable, but that’s only the start. After adding on all the options, including Dark Olive paint, Canberra Beige Vermasca leather trim, the Convenience Package,Driving Assistance Package, Dynamic Handling Package, Parking Assistance Package, Premium Package, Front and Rear Heated seats and Destination Charges, that price shot up to $57,470.

On the whole, the 2018 BMW X3 xDrive30i is an engaging SUV – a good all-around option for those in the compact luxury market.

SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 BMW X3 xDrive 30i

On Sale: Now
Base MSRP: $42,650
Price as Tested:
Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged I4
Drivetrain (Layout): Longitudinally mounted front engine, all-wheel drive
Horsepower: 248 hp @ 5,200-6,500 rpm
Torque: 258 lb-ft @ 1,450-4,800 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Suspension: Front: Aluminum double-joint spring strut axle

Rear: Five-link axle in lightweight steel construction

Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel vented discs
Tires: Bridgestone Dueler H/P Sport all-season 245/30 R19
Fuel capacity: 17.2 gallons
Fuel economy (EPA): 22 City / 29 Highway MPG


Wheelbase: 112.8 inches
Length: 185.9 inches
Width: 84.2 inches – with mirrors
Height: 66.0 inches
Turning Circle: 39.4 feet
Curb Weight: 4,156 pounds