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2022 BMW X3 xDrive30i: What's It Like to Live With?

Did the 2022 X3, the best-selling BMW, impress us as much as its larger X5 sibling? We spent a year to find out.

BMW X3 2022
Miles DrivenAverage MPG
20,68124.8

Latest Highlights (updated 12/02/22)

  • Capable for all SUV needs, a comfortable ride and well rounded overall
  • The four-cylinder engine surprised us with excellent everyday driving manners
  • We averaged almost 25 mpg, higher than EPA combined mpg
  • There were technology issues, especially with CarPlay, but software updates fixed them
  • After one year and over 20,000 miles, we understand why this is BMW's top-selling SUV


What We Bought and Why

by Jake Sundstrom, Editorial Assistant

Our test vehicle: 2022 BMW X3 xDrive30i
Base MSRP: $45,700
MSRP as tested: $51,390

Apparently Goldlöckchen is German for Goldilocks, but you could do worse than "new 2022 BMW X3." It's roomier than the small, sporty X1 but not as large or expensive as the X5. There's a reason X3s are the best-selling BMW. In some years they're not just the best-selling SUV but these bad boys have also been known to outsell the ever-popular 3 Series sedans. We spent a year in the X5 and were suitably impressed by its 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder and technology offerings. The X3 has the smaller engine and most of the tech. Can it deliver similar results?

What Did We Get?

We got a 2022 BMW X3 xDrive30i five-seater SUV with a starting MSRP of $45,700. In BMW speak, xDrive means all-wheel drive (AWD), which bumps up the overall cost from the base sDrive30i model. The 30i references the entry-level engine. In this case, that engine is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (248 horsepower, 258 lb-ft of torque). The EPA says it's good for 24 mpg combined (21 city/28 highway). Between us, I started daydreaming after typing "AWD." I've wanted to learn to snowboard ever since fracturing multiple bones last time I hit the slopes in high school, and I can't wait to drive this X3 to the mountains.

Standard equipment highlights include an eight-speed automatic transmission, stability and traction control, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, iDrive 7.0 with voice controls, a power tailgate, a rearview camera and LED headlights. It also has a long list of driver assistance features such as forward collision, lane departure and blind-spot warning systems. Adding the Premium package cost $3,450 and gave us a heated steering wheel, lumbar support, heated front seats, a head-up display, a panoramic sunroof and the ever-popular gesture control. We'll be flicking our fingers at the stereo in no time. I'm told Tanzanite Blue II Metallic is named for the gem stone found only in Tanzania; choosing this radiant color tacked on another $1,500.

The microchip shortage led BMW to delete both the BMW Digital Key and passenger lumbar support — those features, though dearly missed, saved us $80 and $175, respectively. The destination charge, however, tacked on $995, bringing our total to $51,390.

Why Did We Get It?

The X5 really impressed the Edmunds staff. Getting a chance to drive its more popular and more economical (yes, yes, it's still a BMW — you don't have to tell me) sibling is an intriguing proposition. This is the best-selling vehicle BMW produces, better than both the X5 and 3 Series sedan. If we need another reason, well, we haven't had one in our long-term test fleet since the 2012 model year. We're talking Heat-Thunder NBA Finals, which I hate to mention was a literal decade ago now.

So follow us on our 12-month test drive of BMW's latest offering in the small luxury SUV segment. We'll see how the X3 xDrive30i stacks up against other trim levels like the rear-wheel-drive X3 sDrive30i or high-performance X3 M40i. We also look forward to comparing it to its top rivals: Audi Q5, Acura RDX, Genesis GV70, Mercedes-Benz GLC and Porsche Macan. Of course, there will also be plenty of feedback from our daily routines.

What Did We Learn?

That the BMW X3 is a capable all-around vehicle. It's comfortable, convincingly sporty and solid on road trips. This is BMW's best-selling vehicle, and after spending a year behind the wheel, that makes a lot of sense.

But the X3 isn't without flaws. Our xDrive30i wasn't equipped with adaptive cruise control, a casualty of the microchip shortage. That hurt its standing as a road-trip star, but not enough to keep us from loading up its cargo area for multiple long drives. We were impressed by its fuel economy when we hit the open road. The X3 averaged 25 miles per gallon, beating the EPA estimate by 1 full mpg during our yearlong test.

Most shoppers are likely picking the X3 for its comfortable driving dynamics. On day one, we didn't expect much from its base engine. But we ended up liking it, as Director of Content Strategy Josh Sadlier voiced:

"Typically I'm firmly in the 'moar motor!' camp, and there's no doubt that the X3's optional turbocharged six-cylinder engine — specified in the M40i variant and boasting 382 horsepower — is a peach. But even though our four-cylinder X3 xDrive30i makes a seemingly wimpy 248 horsepower, I never find myself thinking that its sauce is weak. There's plenty of punch for anything the commute might throw at you, and the numbers bear that out: At our test track, the X3 sprinted to 60 mph in a satisfyingly swift 6.2 seconds. What's more, the refinement of this powertrain is top-notch. I'd love to have an M40i, but the xDrive30i is no slouch.

"Oh, I forgot to add: Sport mode. Always Sport mode. It's the first thing I press after the start button. In Sport mode, the X3 is alive and engaged. Until you press that button, though, it's not ready to rock."

We initially encountered problems with the wireless functionality of Apple CarPlay. A few months into our test, an update to iDrive, the software that makes the BMW's main screen work, seems to have solved that issue. That's terrific because it's a great implementation of technology when it works.

What's the Bottom Line?

The BMW X3 faces stiff competition in the luxury SUV category and risks getting lost in the shuffle because it isn't a standout in any one category. Instead, the small SUV is a capable, well-rounded vehicle that delivers a comfortable ride, engaging driving dynamics and enough utility to justify its size.

The manufacturer provided this vehicle for the purpose of evaluation.


2022 BMW X3 xDrive30i: Real-World Fuel Economy

The X3 can run a little hot and cold depending on where it's driving (city: not great, highway: great) but it's just about hitting its EPA estimate so far.

Average lifetime mpg: 24.8
EPA mpg rating: 24 combined (21 city/28 highway)
Best fill mpg: 31.7
Best range (miles): 539.8
Current odometer: 20,681

We smashed our previous fuel economy records thanks to a long road trip

"File under "EPA, schmee-PA": that's 31.7 mpg at the pump from DuPont, WA (92 octane, I will note for science) to Redding, CA, average speed 70.5 mph. EPA says 28 highway for X3 2.0 AWD. Check out that range (539.8 miles) — diesel who??" — Josh Sadlier, director, content

"Another note from my LA-to-Seattle odyssey in the X3: Cranking up the average speed to 75.8 mph thanks to higher speed limits on I-5, I still saw 29.2 mpg at the pump over the course of 452 miles. Again, the EPA says 28 mpg highway for this thing. It's quite remarkable that I did better than that at 76 mph. BMW's still got that special sauce in the engine room." — Josh Sadlier, director, content

How's the fuel economy 10,000 miles in?

Overall, not bad; we're right at the EPA-estimated number. Here's what one of our contributors had to say.

"I had a trip from LA to Santa Barbara to Paso Robles and snagged the X3. Upon returning, I logged 438.9 miles and needed 16.327 gallons to top off the tank. That figures out to 26.9 mpg. The EPA estimates highway mileage at 28 mpg which would seem plausible if traffic were flowing at 65 mph and there were no steep grades to climb.

"Overall, it's a solid SUV for road trips but it'd be a lot better if it had adaptive cruise control. I'm surprised that our test vehicle didn't have it, since it seems to be standard equipment on cars that cost a lot less than the X3." — Mark Takahashi, senior reviews editor


2022 BMW X3 xDrive30i: Maintenance

We'll keep you posted on our X3's maintenace, from the routine to the not-so-routine.

Maintenance Summary

Total routine maintenance costs  
Additional maintenance costs  
Warranty repairs  
Non-warranty repairs  
Scheduled dealer visits 1
Unscheduled dealer visits  
Days out of service 0
Breakdowns stranding driver  
Total body repair costs  

The X3 asked for its first oil change just shy of 11,000 miles, which felt like a long time to wait for a first service; but you'll never hear me complain about a low-maintenance vehicle. A quick trip to Valley BMW in the Central Valley of California took care of the job, which included the oil change, an inspection and a "standard scope service" (which is just a fancy way to say "diagnostic check" — which, uh, also kinda sounds like an inspection to me.

Anyway, that was all covered by the warranty. Oh, and they washed the car, which is great — because this puppy is a bug magnet. Pretty good!


2022 BMW xDrive 30i: Technology

Even the base X3 comes loaded with technology — and we're going to test it.

"I complained about wireless Apple CarPlay when we first got our X3 right here on this website. Not about the product — I love the product; but it was buggy to the point of uselessness. Since my gripes, it appears an over-the-air update has just about fixed the problems (lag, spotty connectivity, you name it, the X3 had it). I love the convenience of getting in the car, tossing my phone in the center console and getting on my way and wireless CarPlay — when it works — is a game changer." — Jake Sundstrom, editorial assistant

"I had heard that some of my coworkers had issues connecting their iPhones to our BMW X3 via wireless Apple CarPlay. I am therefore pleased to report (as of March 2022) that a recent iDrive system update has seemed to have remedied the situation. I drove our X3 for about two weeks straight and didn't experience any connection glitches or reboots. The response time — when you, say, click to skip to the next music track and have that track actually play — is slower compared to when connecting by way of a USB cord, but I've experienced that in other cars with wireless CarPlay too." — Brent Romans, senior editor, written content



2022 BMW xDrive 30i: Performance

Yes, it's an SUV ... but it's still a BMW, right?

How does it drive?

"It isn't a 3 Series, but the X3 certainly feels nimble on curvy roads, and there is a noticeable difference between driving it and its larger sibling, the X5. If you're deeply concerned about tearing up country roads before buying an SUV, perhaps wonder if the class of vehicle is the problem and not the model. But alas, a soapbox for another day." — Jake Sundstrom, editorial assistant

"The BMW gets up to speed with ease and takes to the curves better than most comparable SUVs. Unfortunately, I don't think it does slow very well. I tend to perform limo stops, where you try to come to a complete stop without really feeling it stop completely. It's about finding the lightest touch on the brake pedal, but no matter what I try, the X3 refuses.

"As I roll toward a stop with featherlight brake pedal pressure, the smooth deceleration is inelegantly interrupted by some noticeable downshifts that cause some lurches. Then, just as the car is about to come to a stop, the brake pads grab the rotors, resulting in an even more noticeable lurch. It's not ideal, nor is it a deal-breaker, but I would have expected a luxury car to be able to stop more smoothly even if it is sporty and fun." — Mark Takahashi, senior reviews editor

Any thoughts on the steering?

"The steering in this X3 leaves me with mixed feelings. I really enjoy driving around town thanks to its small dimensions, tight turning radius and overall maneuverability. On the highway it's a different story. The steering wheel is numb off-center. So after a short time on a straight road, with the steering wheel pointed dead-ahead, the car drifts slightly. It requires constant, small adjustments to keep the car in the middle of the lane. It happened often enough that I switched from Comfort to Sport mode, thinking the heavier steering setting might help. No such luck." — Mike Schmidt, senior manager, vehicle testing operations

What's the power situation?

"Don't challenge anyone to a drag race (it could seriously alter your future, Marty!), but you'll likely be satisfied with how the X3 performs chugging up large hills. It never wants for power thanks to the single-turbo assistance its four-cylinder engine receives." — Jake Sundstrom, editorial assistant

"Typically I'm firmly in the 'moar motor!' camp, and there's no doubt that the X3's optional turbocharged six-cylinder engine — specified in the M40i variant and boasting 382 horsepower — is a peach. But even though our four-cylinder X3 xDrive30i makes a seemingly wimpy 248 horsepower, I never find myself thinking that its sauce is weak. There's plenty of punch for anything the commute might throw at you, and the numbers bear that out: At our test track, the X3 sprinted to 60 mph in a satisfyingly swift 6.2 seconds. What's more, the refinement of this powertrain is top-notch. I'd love to have an M40i, but the xDrive30i is no slouch."

"Oh, I forgot to add: Sport mode. Always Sport mode. It's the first thing I press after the start button. In Sport mode, the X3 is alive and engaged. Until you press that button, though, it's not ready to rock." — Josh Sadlier, director, content strategy


2022 BMW xDrive 30i: Comfort

The X3 tries to split the gap between sporty and comfortable; how well does it do?

How's it on the highway?

"Impressively comfortable and quiet. It probably helps that we've got the most relaxed X3 spec possible, which is the xDrive30i with the standard (non sport) suspension and the regular 19-inch wheels. (The optional 20- or 21-inch wheels are fancier but have shorter tire sidewalls, so there's less cushion.) This combo easily smooths out ruts and bumps on the road. And there's not much wind noise or tire noise. That combo makes our X3 a pleasing companion on a long drive." — Brent Romans, senior editor, written content

"Spending more than five hours driving to and from San Diego over the past weekend crystallized my disappointment in the X3's lack of adaptive cruise control. You may recall our fully loaded Kia Sorento, despite its flaws, came with ACC, making it a superstar when it came to road trip and high-traffic environments. It's one thing I find lacking on an otherwise very capable SUV." — Jake Sundstrom, editor, CarMax

How about around town?

"The BMW gets up to speed with ease and takes to the curves better than most other comparable SUVs. Unfortunately, I don't think it does slow very well. I tend to perform limo stops, where you try to come to a complete stop without really feeling it stop completely. It's about finding the lightest touch on the brake pedal. But no matter what I try the X3 refuses.

"As I roll towards a stop with featherlight brake pedal pressure, the smooth deceleration is inelegantly interrupted by some noticeable downshifts that cause some lurches. Then, just as the car is about to come to a stop, the brake pads grab the rotors, resulting in an even more noticeable lurch. It's not ideal, nor is it a dealbreaker, but I would have expected a luxury car to be able to stop more smoothly, even if it it sporty and fun." — Mark Takahashi, senior reviews editor

What about the front seats?

"You know, I'm a little underwhelmed. They're fine, but I've found myself fiddling with the seat's adjustments more than I thought I would. The seat isn't lacking for anything (our test X3 has the upgraded four-way lumbar, too) but I just can't seem to dial in a driving position I really love. Ultimately, I feel like I'm just sitting on a chair rather than being fully supported by something great." — Brent Romans, senior editor, written content

OK, but is the X3 too focused on comfort?

"BMW's been accused of turning its back on its traditional enthusiast clientele for many years now, but the X3 is one vehicle whose comfort-biased dynamics seem just right to me. There's a lot of suspension travel in this rig — big dips and speed bumps really get it bouncing around — and no shortage of body roll, either. But honestly, how many people really want flat cornering and a stiff ride in a luxury SUV? You get one of these to cruise around the city without a care, and that's exactly how I felt driving the X3 on LA's patchy pavement: carefree. To be fair, the few times I did probe the X3's cornering potential, I found it to be decently athletic. But most folks will simply enjoy the X3's smooth and supple ride. I bet BMW sells a lot of these for precisely that reason." — Josh Sadlier, director, content strategy

Any neat features we should know about?

"The myBMW app lets you connect your phone to your car, giving you the chance to do things like lock the doors, check the fuel level and, it claims, 'ventilate the vehicle.' You'll note it doesn't say 'pre-condition' the vehicle. Can you feel smug Tesla owners clutching their keyboards a little tighter? That's because all it appears to do is run the fans in the vehicle, which is awesome if you want to feel a bunch of hot air blown around your cabin on a 110 degree day. Alternatively, you could just drive just about anywhere in the continental United States during summer right now to try that feature for free." — Jake Sundstrom, editorial assistant


2022 BMW xDrive 30i: Interior

This is where we spend most of our time. So we added a catch-all section for anything we didn't already cover in the comfort, technology or utility. Think of this as all the pieces we interact with while inside the X3.

Here is something you'll want to know about child seats and the X3

Josh Sadlier is Edmunds' director, content strategy but more importantly here, he's the father of a 2-year-old. Deep in that rear-facing child seat phase of parenthood, we feel for him. From his suffering comes enlightenment, though, since he gets to experience things we might otherwise miss.

Josh explains, "Hooking up her rear-facing car seat to the backseat LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) system is a must in every car I take home. In case you're like I was until two years ago and have no clue how this works, here's a summary: The car seat has a couple of buckle straps dangling from it, and you clip the buckles over horizontal anchor-point bars embedded in the base of the rear seatback — the LATCH points — and then tighten the buckle straps and boom, you're ready to haul a tiny human.

"Well, that is unless the LATCH points feel like they're giving way as you tighten the straps. That's what happened to me in our long-term X3. Specifically, only one LATCH point felt that way — the inboard one in the passenger-side rear seat. But that's one too many. As you can see in the photos, it was actually just the plastic frame popping out of its pressure fit, but initially I thought I'd broken the whole assembly. I gotta wonder, was a pressure fit the right call there by BMW? I have no clue how other manufacturers do it because this never happened to me before, but something is clearly suboptimal in BMW's execution. By the way, I tried to press the frame back in a few times, but it popped back out whenever I tightened the strap, so I ended up living with it. As an owner under warranty, I definitely would have wanted to take it to the BMW dealer for resolution, and that's extra time that a lot of people don't really have."

A note against the beige interior

"Sometimes it's a risky proposition to choose a light interior color; unfortunately, our long-term BMW X3 is a prime example of why this is the case. Our tester is fitted with the Canberra Beige Perforated SensaTec interior, and with less than 20,000 miles on the clock it has not stood the test of time.

"I should also mention that the Edmunds team takes care of its vehicles. Even with multiple drivers in and out of the cars, we wash them regularly and treat them like any person would who cares about their vehicle. Even so, there are scuffs and marks aplenty in the X3. The driver's door handle has discolored severely, along with the passenger door's (to a lesser degree). Worse off is the backseat area with multiple scuff marks on the bench, which seem to be permanent.

"This certainly isn't a mark against the X3's overall cabin, just a cautionary tale if you're considering a beige interior instead of black. If our team can muck up seats and handles in 18,000 miles, there's a good chance that your family can do the same." — Clint Simone


2022 BMW xDrive 30i: Utility

Utility is *literally* our X3's middle name, so we'll let you know how it does

"When one of the X3 doors isn't closed all of the way, the interior door light turns red, alerting occupants to the problem. Up until this point in my life, this wouldn't have mattered much to me. But my kids are infamous soft-closers. We spend far more time than I'd like to admit opening and re-closing doors. This light feature has them adjusting their doors without a prompt. It is a small victory, but I'll take it." — Mike Schmidt, senior manager, vehicle testing operations

"Enormous side pockets in the doors that can carry even the widest hydroflask are a favorite X5 feature and one us Carry A Giant Water Bottle Generation (millennials) appreciate. That's still true on the more compact X3. What the slimmer X3 does not feature is anywhere for the passenger to put their phone. The arm rest is strictly for your arm, and that's a bummer." — Jake Sundstrom, editorial assistant

"Remember those weddings we talked about? No? That's fine. Anyway, you need a lot of stuff when your partner is the maid of honor in one of these suckers and the X3 is a very willing participant in the journey.

"We were able to load four bags, a cooler, a suit, a dress and bags filled with all sorts of stuff. Not too shabby." — Jake Sundstrom, editorial assistant

"Not unusually for a current small luxury SUV, the X3 has a bit of a hard time schlepping two golf bags and a push cart. Why? Well, the cargo area's walls don't extend to the edges of the vehicle, presumably due to all the ductwork and electronics and whatnot in there, so the width of the cargo bay is significantly less than that of the car itself. I had to angle the bags to accommodate the drivers, as opposed to setting them in sideways like you'd do in an older (or larger) SUV. There's just not enough width for the sideways option here. Bummer." — Josh Sadlier, director, content strategy

I've only recently had a chance to get into our long-term X3, and I took full advantage of the opportunity. I used the X3 three times to pick up some furniture I'd bought online. I was super impressed, at least once I figured out how to remove the cargo cover (there's a button on the passenger side). The seats fold down flat, and the cargo area itself is relatively wide and tall. Liftover is fairly low, so it wasn't difficult to get a dresser inside. One thing that I really liked was the hatch opening height. Taller SUVs will open up straight into my garage door if I don't watch, but the X3 was just about perfect, so I didn't have to duck down to get everything out.


2022 BMW xDrive 30i: Comparison

Which X3 is right for you?

We're testing the other X3 trims, starting with the M40i, to see how they compare with our Long Term xDrive30i.

Our Long Term X3 is darn close to the base model. We treated ourselves to the Premium Package, which gets you a few creature comforts like a heated steering wheel and heated seats to help us survive the frigid 70-degree Santa Monica winters. But otherwise, our out-the-door MSRP of $51,390 didn't stray too far from the $45,700 that BMW quotes as the X3 starting price.

Going up a trim level, to the M40i, raises the price $12,100. We tested a well-equipped M40i to get a sense of what it offers in comparison to its closer-to-stock sibling. The answer predominantly lies under the hood. An M40i comes standard with a 3.0-liter, twin-turbo, inline-six-cylinder engine equipped with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system. The larger answer brings you 382 horsepower (hp), an upgrade from the 248hp standard on the 4-cylinder powerplant. Notably, it does not come at significant cost to the X3's fuel economy according to the EPA. The M40i is rated at 23 miles per gallon (mpg), just 1 mile below the xDrive30i.

BMW X3 xDrive30i BMW X3 M40i

Standard Equipment — $45,700
2.0-liter twin turbo inline four-cylinder, 16-valve engine
8-Speed Transmission
All-Wheel Drive

Options:
Tanzanite Blue II Metallic
Canberra Beige Perforated Sens
Premium Package — $3,450
19” Wheels
Dark Oak Wood Trim
Deletion of BMW Digital Key — -$80
Passenger Lumbar Delete — -$175
Destination Charge — $995

Standard Equipment — $57,800
3.0-liter twin turbo inline six-cylinder, 24-valve engine with 48v mild hybrid system
8-Speed Transmission
All-Wheel Drive
Adaptive Suspension

Options:
Carbon Black Metallic paint — $550
Mocha Vernasca Leather — $1,450
Shadowline Package — $400
M Shadowline Lights
Extended Shadowline Trim
Premium Package — $1600
20” Wheels — $600
M Sport Differential — $1300
Roof Rails in High Gloss
Lumbar Support
M Steering Wheel
M Sport Brakes
Carbon Fiber Trim — $300
Adjustable Seat Width
Passenger With Adjustment Delete — -$100
Deletion of BMW Digital Key — -$80
Passenger Lumbar Delete — -$175
Destination Charge — $995

MSRP: $51,390 MSRP: $64,990

The M40i shines when you fire up the V6 and let at least a few of the 344 horses out of the barn. The standard X3 isn't exactly a slouch for a small SUV (as detailed in the table below) but as you'd expect, it gets bullied by the M40i in every category we test at the track. The M40i is also delightfully noisy, without being a nuisance, particularly when thrown into Sport Plus mode. The standard X3 is still fun to drive but it doesn't hold a candle to the M40i we tested, which, along with the superior engine, runs on softer (aka sportier) tires.

BMW X3 xDrive30i BMW X3 M40i
0-60mph 6.24 seconds 4.38 seconds
1/4 mile 14.78 @ 95.05mph 12.89 @ 108.65

The improved performance isn't reserved for driving straight. The M40i's grabbier brakes are noticeably better, which pays dividends when you get inspired on a canyon road. Here you'll also notice an improvement through corners. It's simply a more fun version of the X3 no matter where, or in what capacity, you're driving it.

Those brakes also do their job at straightline stopping. Our Long Term xDrive30i went from 60mph to 0 in a so-so 129 feet. That was handily bettered by the M40i, which pulled off the same trick in a mere 108 feet.

Fun comes with a couple of drawbacks. The most notable is on-road comfort. If you're a regular driver on highways in desperate need of repaving, or anywhere in the Los Angeles area, you'll feel it in the M40i. The suspension is stiff and the driver seat offers little in the way of additional padding to make up for it. Similar to the base X3, the M40i's steering sometimes succumbs to a heavy-yet-lifeless feel, giving the SUV a wandering sensation that's especially evident while cruising on a highway.

Is any of this reason enough to spend an extra $12,000 to upgrade to a beefier engine and chunkier brakes? For me? No. I'm perfectly happy with the amount of sport and fun I can wring out of the X3 xDrive30i. Others on our team would certainly disagree, wanting the symphony of pounding pistons the M40i delivers while ascending hills or cresting highway onramps.

Ultimately, you're only sacrificing money to get the extra performance. So, it may come down to your wants and budget to decide which X3 is right for you.

The X3 M Competition

If buying an SUV feels like a compromise you can't possibly manage, I have spectacular news. The M Competition, the highest trim level available on the X3, ports the track-day mentality of the M3 to BMW's top-selling vehicle: a passenger- and cargo-toting SUV.

The inline-six engine is twin-turbocharged, features direct fuel injection and delivers 503 horsepower. We managed an unreal 3.6 seconds to 60 mph and 11.96 seconds to the quarter mile at 117.66 mph, which is ludicrous in an SUV and trounces the M40i (which is already plenty quick). The spec sheet below compares the M Comp to the M40i, which is (staggeringly) the happy medium trim level of the X3 family.

BMW X3 M40i BMW X3 M Competition

Standard Equipment — $57,800
3.0-liter twin-turbo inline six-cylinder, 24-valve engine with 48-volt mild hybrid system
8-speed transmission
All-wheel drive
Adaptive suspension

Options:
Carbon Black Metallic paint — $550
Mocha Vernasca leather — $1,450
Shadowline package — $400
M Shadowline lights
Extended Shadowline trim
Premium package — $1,600
20-inch wheels — $600
M Sport differential — $1,300
Roof rails in high gloss
Lumbar support
M steering wheel
M sport brakes
Carbon-fiber trim — $300
Adjustable seat width
Passenger with adjustment delete — -$100
Deletion of BMW digital key — -$80
Passenger lumbar delete — -$175
Destination charge — $995

Standard Equipment — $69,900
3.0-liter twin-turbo inline six-cylinder, 24-valve engine with direct fuel injection
8-speed transmission
All-wheel drive
M Sport differential
Dynamic Stability Control
Adaptive suspension

Options:
Frozen Marina Bay Blue Metallic — $4,500
Competition package — $7,000
Executive package — $2,450
Heated steering wheel
Heated seats
Parking assist
Head-up display
Gesture Control
M Competition package
M Driver's package — $2,500
Live Cockpit Pro
Connected Package Pro
Full LED lights
Carbon-fiber trim
Lumbar support
Active Driving Assistant
Active Guard
Wi-Fi hotspot
Refrigerant
Destination charge — $995

MSRP: $64,990 MSRP: $87,345

The M40i felt like an unnecessary but fun version of a solid SUV whether on road, highway or track. The M Competition seems determined to push the limits of how much power an SUV can carry before the driver says, "No, thank you, maybe I am more of a minivan person after all."

And while the M Competition throws another 100 horses under the hood, it doesn't feel particularly inviting compared to the M40i. It's terrific driving in a straight line, and the noise is spectacular (like other BMW Ms, there is a loud/less loud button in the center console area). Unfortunately, it doesn't lend itself to fun or carefree track driving quite like the M40i or like the sedans or coupes it's trying to emulate.

BMW X3 xDrive30i BMW X3 M40i
0-60mph 4.38 seconds 3.6 seconds
1/4 mile 12.89 @ 108.65 11.96 @ 117.66

That makes its deficiencies on the road tougher to live with. Our long-term X3 is on the stiff side of comfortable, at least by the standard of modern-day SUVs. The M Competition makes for an even less comfortable ride; if you commute on a road or highway in bad need of repaving, you'll soon know it. The sporty nature of the vehicle comes with a price, and I'm not just talking about the additional $12,000 to upgrade from the M40i.

Of course, much like the M40i, the M Competition has a market — though perhaps this is more a niche. If you want a sports car and an SUV and only have room in your budget/parking space/etc. for one, the BMW X3 M Competition just might be for you.


2022 BMW xDrive30i: Road Trips

How does the best-selling BMW handle itself on long drives? We've got the information you need.

The X3 is a capable road trip companion

We associate the phrase "range anxiety" with electric vehicles, but it could just as easily be applied to cars, trucks and SUVs you don't want to drive (or be a passenger in) for more than three hours at a time. That's not the case in the X3, though not by a wide margin. It boasts most of what you expect in a luxury vehicle in terms of styling, comfort and driving quality — wireless Apple CarPlay that usually works is a factor in its favor, too.

How about fuel economy?

We just crossed 10,000 miles on our X3 and it's beating the combined fuel economy estimated by the EPA (24.4 at the time of this writing). After a drive to and from Las Vegas, San Diego and plenty of driving around Los Angeles in June (it's all highway driving around these parts) it routinely hit the 28 mpg highway estimated by the EPA. For it's class, that's solid (and better than our long-term 2021 Kia Sorento, for what it's worth).

Okay, so give me the bad news

Our test vehicle does not have adaptive cruise control, which is egregious given its price. This is not a trimmed-out version of the X3, but it should not have to be and I become more convinced of that the longer the drive I take our X3 on. If you're looking for a three-row SUV of similar size, you might be able to look past the marginally worse fuel economy delivered by the aforementioned Sorento (it's also less expensive).

"One thing I noticed the first time I got into our X3 was that it didn't have adaptive cruise control (ACC). This by itself wasn't surprising — BMW and other luxury brands often make it an option — but all the same I'd argue it's disappointing considering that just about every new Honda and Toyota comes with ACC as standard equipment. Anyway, I figured that we just didn't order it for our particular test car. Well, that proved to be only partially true. We didn't get ACC on our X3 because you can't get adaptive cruise on the sDrive30i or xDrive30i at all for 2022.

"After doing some research and talking to a BMW rep, I learned that BMW stopped making the X3's optional Driving Assistance Professional package, which bundles ACC with a few other driver aids, available for the 2022 xDrive30i and sDrive30i. It's only offered for the more expensive X3 M40i. BMW's explanation is that global supply chain and chip shortage issues have limited its ability to make this package available for every X3. At the time of my post (March 2022) BMW did not have a date for when this package will again be available." — Brent Romans, senior editor, written content

"I had a trip from LA to Santa Barbara to Paso Robles and snagged the X3. Upon returning, I logged 438.9 miles and needed 16.327 gallons to top off the tank. That figures out to 26.9 mpg. The EPA estimates highway mileage at 28 mpg which would seem plausible if traffic were flowing at 65 mph and there were no steep grades to climb.

"Overall, it's a solid SUV for road trips but it'd be a lot better if it had adaptive cruise control. I'm surprised that our test vehicle didn't have it, since it seems to be standard equipment on cars that cost a lot less than the X3." — Mark Takahashi, senior reviews editor

None of this has stopped us from loading the X3 with miles

SUVs aren't just wildly popular because of their clean lines and American culture's obssession with excess. The X3 delivers a lot of what consumers want in a car (easy storage, comfortable ride, spacious interior) without too many drawbacks (your Civic would get better fuel economy). Adaptive cruise control would be a great boost, but otherwise the X3 leaves us with few complaints on the open road.