“BMW X3 xDrive 30i”
Completely Redesuigned for 2018
The popularity of SUVs is growing at a rapid pace with the hotter segment of the market being compact Crossovers. The BMW X3 has enjoyed tremendous sales success in the past, but the Blue and White Rondelle clan obviously decided to capitalize on this growth spurt by focusing on making the 2018 BMW X3 even more appealing than before with a complete redesign and by simplifying the model availability featuring only two versions: the BMW X3 xDrive 30i and the BMW X3 40i xDrive.
Both are prime examples of a compact luxury Sport Activity Vehicle. The 30i version is propelled by a longitudinally front mounted 2.0-liter DOHC, 16-valve BMW Twin-Power Turbo inline 4-cylinder engine with variable valve control (Double VANOS and Valvetronic) and high-precision Direct Injection. It produces 248 horsepower in a range from 5,200-6,500 rpm, while also developing 258 pound feet of torque from 1,450-4,800 rpm. Motive energy is delivered to all four wheels by the xDrive all-wheel drive system via an eight-speed Sport Automatic transmission that features Sport and Manual shift modes and steering wheel mounted paddle shifters. The second version BMW X3 40i comes with two additional cylinders, lots more horsepower and torque and a loftier base price tag – nearly $12,000 more.
There’s also the first M Performance model in the X3 stable that has the best in segment rate of acceleration – 0-60 mph in a mere 4.6 seconds.
This latest iteration BMW X3 M Performance comes with a highly developed chassis with a reduction in unsprung mass, sophisticated kinematics, as well as optimum weight distribution providing an exhilarating sporting character that’s more comfortable over all types of terrain. Aerodynamics have been improved with BMW’s Active Kidney Grille, underbody cladding, a rear mounted roof spoiler with Aero Blades on the sides, and Air Curtains.
The Head Up Display (HUD) is now 75 percent larger; with a full color 10.25-inch Touchscreen featuring BMW Gesture Control technology. Comfort and safety have been enhanced with Active Protection pre-crash accident detection system, standard supportive Sport seats, a triple-zone automatic climate control and rear seatback reclining adjustment. Another first is an available factory-installed trailer hitch in a BMW SAV.
The all-new 2018 BMW X3 will be built alongside the BMW X4, BMW X5, and BMW X6 in the home plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina: the largest of the BMW Group’s production facilities, with nearly 70 percent of the vehicles produced, exported to 140 worldwide markets. The X3 actually pioneered the premium compact SAV segment.
Visually, the exterior of this third generation BMW X3 raises the bar of what was already a boldly athletic design, displaying a muscular “three-dimensional” twin kidney grille and hexagonally shaped fog lights that enhance the presence of the front fascia, expressing a confident and stately manner. Shifting aft, a strong visual impact is showcased by the tail light housings that repeat the Three-dimensional look of the front, with the optional Adaptive LED and Icon Adaptive Full LED headlights. The roof top spoiler slopes downward, which along with the twin E=exhaust tailpipes enhance the X3’s athletic persona.
The cabin provides roomy and comfortabe seating for five featuring Sport seats with power adjustable side bolsters as standard fare along with an Anthracite headliner. Fit and finish are what one would expect from a luxury Sport Activity vehicle.
My test 2018 BMW X3 test vehicle was the 30i four-banger example with the exterior wearing a Dark Olive metallic finish complemented by a Canberra Beige Vermasca leather interior accented by satin chrome and polished dark Oak wood trim elements. The base sticker read $42,450., which was elevated to $57,470. After adding the following costs: the Dark Olive paint, Canberra Beige Vermasca leather, the Convenience Package, Driving Assistance Package, Dynamic Handling Package, Parking Assistance Package, Premium Package, Front and Rear Heated seats and Destination Charge.
Standard fare included: Auto Stop start function, Driving Dynamics control with EcoPro, Comfort and Sport modes, the 8-speed automatic gearbox with Sport and Manual shift modes and steering wheel-mounted paddle shift paddles, xDrive all-wheel drive system, power-assisted four-wheel vented discs with ABS, DSC, CBC, DBC, Dry Braking Function, Fading compensation, Start-Off Assistant, DCS reworked with xDrive AWD system, Hill Descent Control, Performance
Control and Dynamic Damper Control. There’s also a wealth of upscale exterior and interior treatments along with an outstanding audio system, comfort and connectivity features, Intuitive controls and instrumentation, safety and security equipment as well as a sound Warranty.
The rearview camera is the only standard advanced safety feature for the 2018 X3. Optionally available safety features offered include 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.
SUMMARY: 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 is powerful and readily responsive with the best in segment acceleration, and gear changes come smoothly, whether in automatic or manual mode, while the BMW X3 40i xDrive with its 6-cylinder engine is considered to be the model flagship, the 4-cylinder 30i version is no slouch with its added power and efficiency.
Interior appointments and fit and finish provide a premium ambience, and the overall cabin and cargo space is generous with 28.7 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row and 62.7 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down. A 40/20/40 split-folding second row and power rear liftgate are standard issue.
Connectivity through BMW’s ConnectedDrive system is refined and may be optionally operated by BMW’s Gesture Control or Cloud-based Intelligent Voice Control. A BMW Connected app is compatible with either iOS or Android (Android Auto is not available), and through the Open Mobility Cloud platform, digital services connect to the X3 via smartphones or smartwatches seamlessly.
The 2018 model BMW X3 heralds the beginning of a new generation for this SAV. It combines driving fun and enjoyment with practicality and functionality in a more attractive package, benefiting from its total redesign. The exterior refinements are surpassed by the enhancements found in the interior.
In the final analysis, the 2018 BMW X3 xDrive 30i is a quality and engaging SUV (whoops – SAV) that is much is proved over its predecessor. Admittedly there are competitive vehicles that cost less and that may have more standard features, but Bimmerphiles won’t be disappointed with this latest iteration X3.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 BMW X3 xDrive 30i
Base Price: $42,480.
Price as Tested: $57,470.
Engine Type and Size: 2.0-liter DOHC, 16-valve BMW Twin-Power Turbo inline 4-cylinder with variable valve control (Double VANOS and Valvetronic) and high-precision Direct Injection.
Horsepower (bhp): 248 @ 5,200-6,500 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 258 @ 1,450-4,800 rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed Sport Automatic with Sport and Manual shift modes and steering wheel mounted Paddle shifters.
Drive Train: Longitudinally mounted front engine / xDrive AWD system.
Suspension: Front-Aluminum double-joint spring strut axle.
Rear-Five-link axle in lightweight steel construction.
Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel vented discs with ABS, DSC, CBC, DBC, Dry Braking Function, Fading compensation, Start-Off Assistant, DCS reworked with xDrive AWD system, Hill Descent Control, Performance Control and Dynamic Damper Control.
Tires: Bridgestone Dueler H/P Sport all-season 245/30 R19 mounted on 5-“V”-spoke alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 112.8 inches
Length Overall: 185.9 inches
Width: 84.2 inches – with mirrors
Height: 66.0 inches
Curb Weight: 4,156 lbs.
Turning Circle: 39.4 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 17.2 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 22 mpg city / 29-mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: 0.29
0 – 60 mph: 6.0 seconds – Top Speed =130 mph
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.