2022 BMW X3 xDrive30e review

The 2022 BMW X3 xDrive30e is a fantastic demonstration of plug-in hybrid technology, but with such a lofty price tag, does the value equation stack up?

What we love
  • Fuel-saving benefits
  • Daily commute achievable on electric power
  • Well-equipped and presentable cabin

What we don’t
  • Costs more than its rivals
  • Compromised boot space
  • Three-year warranty falls short of competition

Introduction

BMW is beating its chest about its transition to fully electric vehicles like the wild-looking new iX and a full-electric iX3, but flying under the radar is the carmaker’s set of more realistic and wider-appeal plug-in hybrid (PHEV) variants. The 2022 BMW X3 xDrive30e integrates a conventional petrol motor with a small electric battery/motor combination to reduce fuel consumption overall.

It’s said to be a considerable amount too. BMW estimates the plug-in hybrid X3 will burn through about half as much petrol as its petrol-only counterparts, 3.2L/100km to be exact. This plays 7.4L/100km in a turbo-petrol X3 xDrive30i.

Sounds good, but the downside is you’ll have to regularly charge the vehicle up using one of the fast chargers dotted around your city, or by plugging it into your house’s powerpoint. While the former will charge the vehicle quicker, plugging into a 3.7kW BMW Wallbox charger after a day of driving should see the car’s 11.15kWh lithium-ion powerpack charged in a claimed 3.8 hours.

Neatly, the battery can also be charged by the car itself using the ‘Battery Control’ function. I’ll explain more of that later in this review.

BMW isn’t the only prestige manufacturer offering plug-in hybrid variants of its SUVs, the plug-in hybrid X3 goes up against the Mercedes-Benz GLC300e and Lexus NX450h+. But it is one of the most expensive. Whereas rivals begin under the $100K mark, the X3 xDrive30e costs $104,900 before on-road costs.

Forgetting how much more it is than its competition, to put that price into even more perspective – it’s $17,000 more expensive than the aforementioned xDrive30i petrol variant.

For that money, BMW equips the xDrive30e with kit including a 12.3-inch infotainment display with an equal-sized digital instrument cluster, head-up display, panoramic sunroof, seat heating, M Sport package, adaptive suspension, ambient lighting, and both domestic use (type 2) and public charging (CCS) charging cables.

It is well-appointed, though, whether that – plus its frugal plug-in hybrid powertrain – is worth the lofty price is what we’ll talk about throughout this review.

Key details 2022 BMW X3 xDrive30e
Price (MSRP) $104,900 plus on-road costs
Colour of test car Phytonic Blue
Options Ash trunkwood open-pore wood trim – $269
Price as tested $105,169 plus on-road costs
Rivals Mercedes-Benz GLC300e | Lexus NX450h+

Inside

It’s taken BMW some time to find its groove with its cabins, but the German marque is back among the best with its latest range of models. Whereas preceding models looked tired and plasticky, the interior of the X3 xDrive30e presents well and stocks an adequate amount of technology.

Materials use is also top-notch, with surfaces covered in Vernasca leather upholstery and other fancy adornments like metal-embellished window switches and woodgrain trim accents. Everything is ergonomically at hand and the driver’s seat can be manipulated into a comfortable, high-perch driving position. Vision out through the wagon-bodied SUV shape is excellent and cabin ambience is heightened by a standard panoramic sunroof.

First-row passengers are treated to a great amount of headroom and space for legs. Those in the back row are also catered to with comfy legroom and good space side to side. Materials used in the back seat are also high-quality.

A downside of opting for the battery-equipped X3 variant is a reduction in boot space. While you do get a power boot release to access the cavity, capacity is reduced by 100L when compared to its petrol-powered counterparts. This means the boot can fit just 450L with the rear seats in use, while it can expand to 1500L if they’re flattened.

2022 BMW X3 xDrive30e
Seats Five
Boot volume 450L seats up / 1500L seats folded
Length 4708mm
Width 1891mm
Height 1676mm
Wheelbase 2864mm

Infotainment and Connectivity

You never want for features, customisation or content with BMW’s top-tier iDrive infotainment system. It’s accessed through a 12.3-inch display atop the dash and can be controlled via touch, rotary controller, or voice control.

Navigating between varying menu systems is very simple and the displays are crisp and look smart. Fans of the Apple CarPlay or Android Auto systems are free to wirelessly connect to one of those alternatives, though I’m content with using BMW’s proprietary system.

It’s joined by a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and head-up display, which show pertinent driving information and PHEV specifics such as battery level or drive mode.


Safety and Technology

The Australian New Car Assessment Program last evaluated a BMW X3 in 2017 where it was awarded a full five-star safety rating. This testing was actually completed on the pre-facelift X3, though this new iteration inherits the predecessor’s top score.  

Much of the X3’s safety kit is controlled using a handy button below the infotainment screen. Push this button and you can configure how you want the active safety systems to alert you to any impending danger or to turn them off altogether.

Active safety kit includes autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot warning, lane-departure warning, and rear cross-traffic alert. It also scores a surround-view 360-degree camera system.

2022 BMW X3 xDrive30e
ANCAP rating Five stars (tested 2017)
Safety report ANCAP report

Value for Money

Frustratingly, BMW still only offers a three-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty on its vehicles. While the hybrid battery is warranted for six years (with 100,000km stipulation), the car itself is only covered for three years. BMW’s competition is doing better when it comes to having its owners’ backs, with brands including Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, Lexus, and Audi all covering their vehicles for five years.

Servicing costs can be covered using the BMW Service Inclusive package, which costs $2010 and covers owners for five years or 80,000km.

At a glance 2022 BMW X3 xDrive30e
Warranty Three years / unlimited km
Servicing costs $2010 (5 years)

BMW claims the X3 xDrive30e uses 3.2L/100km of petrol on a combined consumption cycle, though our testing recorded a 6.5L/100km rating. In fairness, the only way I charged the car was utilising the Battery Control system that charges (or maintains at maximum) the car’s battery.

This is useful for when you want to save the car’s electric drive for a specific point on your journey. The car will charge its battery to a predetermined (by the driver’s selection) percentage before then reverting to normal hybrid power.

Fuel Consumption – brought to you by bp

Fuel Usage Fuel Stats
Fuel cons. (claimed) 3.2L/100km
Fuel cons. (on test) 6.5L/100km
Fuel type 95-octane premium unleaded
Fuel tank size 50L

Driving

Good news for those wary of driving electric vehicles – the changeover to a PHEV is an incremental step-change compared to going full electric. When the car switches over between petrol and electric power, the change is almost imperceptible in terms of noise and feel, befitting of a luxury vehicle.  

The rest of the drive experience is also quiet and refined, with a well-insulated cabin shunning outside road noise and a comfortable ride quality. While it is firm (a BMW trademark), the xDrive30e deals with bumps quickly and without too much intrusion permeating to the interior.

A positive of the firmer-set suspension is it’s a fun thing to pedal dynamically. Turn the drive mode to Sport and the car’s adaptive dampers will firm up and the steering becomes weighty, making for a fun driving experience when the wheels turn towards tight switchback corners.

The X3 xDrive30e is powered by the same 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine as the X3 xDrive20i, though it’s paired with an electric motor to make a combined 215kW/420Nm. This drive is routed through an all-wheel-drive system and an eight-speed torque converter automatic transmission.

BMW says the X3 PHEV can run from zero to 100km/h in 6.1 seconds, and it feels suitably fast by the seat of the pants. The two power plants work in unison to deliver a strong and intentional punch when the throttle is depressed, while the transmission is incredibly smooth in all applications.

Around town it’s fairly easy to manoeuvre the 4.7m-long body, and visibility from the car’s surround-view cameras is top-notch.

Key details 2022 BMW X3 xDrive30e
Engine 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol
Power 135kW @ 6500rpm petrol
80kW electric
215kW combined
Torque 420Nm @ 1350-4000rpm petrol
265Nm electric
420Nm
Drive type All-wheel drive
Transmission Eight-speed torque convertor automatic
Power to weight ratio 109.7kW/t
Weight 1990kg (kerb)
Tow rating 2000kg braked, 750kg unbraked
Turning circle 12.0m

Conclusion

While Australia takes its sweet old time to introduce electric vehicle infrastructure, the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle is the go-to solution for EV intenders keen to not trade away the benefits of petrol’s ‘go anywhere’ ability.

The PHEV powertrain of the X3 xDrive30e is a fantastic demonstration of the technology and will see your fuel bill reduced by a considerable margin, though you will need to be responsible for plugging it in whenever possible.

That said, you do pay a substantial premium in the first place. At over $100K, the variant is one of the most expensive PHEVs in its class, and the add in price over its petrol-only stablemate is eye-watering.

There is no doubt the X3 xDrive30e is a fine product, but whether the purchase is ultimately worth it will come down to how much you value the environment, rather than those keen on saving money at the petrol station.

The post 2022 BMW X3 xDrive30e review appeared first on Drive.

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