The new 2018 BMW X3 gets a remodel but it’s not a radical departure from the outgoing model. Why didn’t BMW make more aggressive changes to the X3? Like the adage goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. BMW has a good thing going with the X3 and they didn’t need to give it a massive overhaul. One of the best luxury crossover SUVs just got better.
What’s new for 2018?
The BMW X3 gets a full redesign for 2018. The new X3 didn’t get radical changes and look a lot like the previous model. The X3 is longer and wider, and the size boost produces tangible increases in head and legroom for all passengers. Inside, the central display is now a touchscreen that sticks up from the dash, and it's loaded with the latest iDrive infotainment software and wireless Apple CarPlay functionality.
Features & Options
The 2018 BMW X3 xDrive30i ($42,450) comes standard with 18-inch wheels, LED headlights and fog lights, automatic wipers, roof rails, a power tailgate, a rearview camera, and power-folding, auto-dimming and heated mirrors.
Inside, you'll find a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with wheel-mounted shift paddles, keyless ignition, adjustable driving modes, tri-zone automatic climate control, power-adjustable front sport seats, a 40/20/40-split rear seat with individual seat recline, simulated leather upholstery, driver-seat memory settings, a 6.5-inch central display, BMW's iDrive infotainment interface, a USB port and a 12-speaker audio system.
The optional Dynamic Handling package ($1,400), includes adaptive suspension dampers, upgraded brakes, and variable-ratio steering. The Driving Assistance Package ($900) features forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. The Parking Assistance Package ($1,300) comes with front and rear parking sensors, an automated parking system, and a 360-degree parking camera) packages.
Additional luxury features are included in the Premium Package ($3,300) with 19-inch wheels, heated front seats, navigation, a 10.3-inch touchscreen, a head-up display and BMW Remote Services. Total MSRP including destination: $57,620).
Sliding inside the cabin of the new X3 reveals the look and feel you'd expect from a luxury vehicle. Fit and finish are tight and uniform, and the switchgear feels solid. Leather, plastic, wood and other trim are a bit behind the competition. Overall, the X3’s interior is spacious, smartly arranged and controls are immediately understandable. BMW's shifter is confusing at first but worked well once we got used to it.
The view from the driver’s seat offers good visibility out the back and sides, but we think the side mirrors are a bit on the smallish side. The 3.0i’s standard 10-way power seats are supportive and didn’t leave us tired after a long commute.
The X3's elevated cabin gives a strong sense of space. There's tons of headroom for all passengers, while foot-and legroom is adequate for even taller passengers. The rear seat is roomy enough for two adults, though three can fit in a pinch. Fold the second-row seats flat and there's plenty of cargo space for camping gear for weekend getaways.
The available head-up display sports multiple configurations and not only projects the current speed onto the lower part of the windshield in front of the driver but also shows audio and phone information when steering-wheel buttons are used. The one downside, the display disappears when you wear polarized sunglasses.
Engine & Fuel Mileage Specs
The BMW X3 is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine producing 248 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. It comes mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with Sport and manual shift modes with steering wheel paddle shifters powering all four wheels on this xDrive tester.
EPA fuel mileage estimates come in at 22/29 city/highway mpg and 25 combined mpg.
The X3’s turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine packs a strong punch that didn't leave us feeling like we needed more power. It responds quickly and smoothly, even at the higher altitudes where we tested this luxury crossover. In city traffic, the eight-speed transmission delivers smooth drivability and respectable acceleration. The X3 also offers up superior handling in the tight mountains curves west of Denver, and the steering is responsive, typical of BMW.
When slipped into Sport mode, where we spent most our time, there’s an additional quickness giving it a sportier and more predictable driving dynamics. We pushed the X3 hard up I-70 into the mountains west of Denver, and the 2.0-liter turbo never lacked for power.
The automatic transmission is matched perfectly to the X3’s engine, serving up appropriate gear changes and nearly seamless shifts between them. The Stop-start function can be a bit annoying, adding a vibration when the engine turns off. Overall, we thought the X3 is an enjoyable, composed compact luxury SUV.
The redesigned 2018 BMW X3 xDrive30i isn't a radical departure from the popular previous generation model. BMW has done a good remodel with the X3 without giving it a massive overhaul. One of the best luxury crossover SUVs just got better.
Photo credit: BMW USA