The 2018 model has two powertrains unique to the two trims. Both engines are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and delivers the power to all four wheels. The base xDrive30i trim is powered by 2.0 liter turbocharged inline-4 engine producing 248 horsepower and 258 lb. ft. of torque. The higher end m40i trim is powered by a 3.0 liter turbocharged inline-6 engine producing 355 horsepower and 369 lb. ft. of torque. Even with base four cylinder powerplant, the X3 accelerates without hesitation. Despite the below average time of 6 seconds to reach 60 mph, the engine is responsive enough to pull out of any situation. The delivery of power is smooth with no turbo lag and the gear shifts being spot on. Handling the X3 felt dynamic and with a good amount of finesse. The cornering ability is stable without excessive movement through the apex. Opting for the adjustable dampers give more control along with the sportier drive modes. The steering is accurate, but the perfect amount of heft and feedback is only attainable in the Sport driving mode. The braking performance did not disappoint either, with the bite of the calipers being easy to control. Pedal feel is intuitive and delivers a linear force to stop the wheels. Better tires however can definitely improve the braking distance of 123 feet from 60 mph.
The base xDrive30i trim comes standard with an auto-dimming rearview mirror, paddle shifters, keyless ignition, automatic climate control, power-adjustable front seats, driver seat memory settings, USB port, and infotainment system with a 6.5-inch touchscreen and a 12-speaker sound system. Several packages are available for the xDrive30i. The Convenience package adds LED headlights, keyless entry, satellite radio, and power-adjustable lumbar support for the front seats. The M Sport package adds a sport steering wheel along with its unique exterior touches. The Dynamic Handling package then includes performance parts upgrades. The top-of-the-line m40i trim builds on the previous trim and adds adaptive LED headlights, launch control and several performance parts upgrades. More package options can be added to both of the two trims. The Driver Assistance, Driver Assistance Plus and Parking Assist packages add advanced safety and driver aids. The Premium package adds a heads-up display, a bigger 10.3-inch touchscreen, and BMW Remote Services. The Executive package builds on the Premium and Parking Assistance and adds a digital instrument cluster and hands-free gestures for the infotainment system. Standalone options for all trims include ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, Apple CarPlay, wireless charging pad and a 16-speaker Harman Kardon sound system.
The 2018 model has undergone crash testing by the IIHS and it scores “Good” in all of the tests for crashworthiness and the highest marks for crash avoidance and mitigation. Overall, it receives the 2018 Top Safety Pick+ recommendation from the IIHS. The only standard safety feature included is a rearview camera and advanced safety and driver aids are add-ons for all trims. They include forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and mitigation, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, front cross-traffic alert, automated parking, front and rear parking sensors, and a 360-degree camera. BMW’s proprietary telematics system are also included, enabling access remotely via the smartphone app. The BMW Assist comes with emergency request (SOS button) and enhance automatic collision warning while the BMW Remote Services offer stolen vehicle recovery and remote door access.
The 2018 model has a 185.9-inch length, 74.4-inch width, 66-inch height, and a 112.8-inch wheelbase. For this model year, the X3 has been redesigned and is slightly bigger than last year’s model. The silhouette is only slightly modified but both the front and rear fascia are new. The base X3 trim has two body styles, which are the xLine and M Sport designs. The xLine design is essentially the base styling while the M Sport design is visually identical to the styling of the m40i trim. The m40i trim has a sportier front and rear bumper as well as side skirts that are extended lower to the ground. The base xDrive30i starts with 19-inch wheels and going for the M Sport body style opens up the option for 20-inch wheels. The m40i starts with 19-inch wheels and has the option to go up to 21-inch wheels.
Being one of the smaller SUVs in the BMW lineup, the X3 sits lower to the ground and getting inside didn’t necessitate stepping up. The doors open wide and even the taller passenger can enter without any hindrance. The vast space for people’s heads made the cabin feel a lot bigger. Legroom is good even for those with larger and longer lower limbs. Up to five people can seat on the two rows of seats inside and they all can enjoy comfort all-day. Support on the torso and lower limbs for the front seats can be customized to suit the passenger’s taste. However the rear seats don’t have this capability and feels plain in comparison. Even with its sporty handling traits, the suspension still dampened the sharp bumps from the pavement. Despite the firm ride it didn’t mean it was short on comfort, as the road imperfections weren’t unsettling. Wind noise is subtle on the driver’s side when on the highway and engine noise is a welcome addition when shifting down to pull ahead.
28.7 cu. ft. of space is available behind the second row of seats, and that expands to 62.7 cu. ft. when the second row of seats are folded down.