10,000 Miles in Our Long-Term 2022 BMW X3
We've found a lot to like about BMW's most popular vehicle
We added a 2022 BMW X3 to our long-term test fleet wondering how the compact SUV managed to outsell its German siblings year after year. Ten thousand miles later, we have an idea why buyers would flock to the X3 over the Mercedes-Benz GLC and Audi Q5. Beyond merely being BMW's entry in the white-hot small SUV segment, the X3 has impressed us with its balanced blend of performance, comfort and utility.
Just enough power for an SUV
The turbocharged four-cylinder that powers the X3 has gotten mostly positive reviews from our staff, including from director of content strategy Josh Sadlier. "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."
He does recommend you operate the X3 solely in Sport mode, though. "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. Throttle response is leisurely and the car generally feels half-asleep relative to what Sport gives you."
2022 BMW X3
The xDrive30i is plenty of X3
We track-tested both the M40i and M Competition versions of the X3, and while we were blown away by their performance (the M40i took 4.4 seconds to accelerate to 60 mph and the M Competition took just 3.6 seconds), we were happy to get back into our long-term xDrive30i when the comparison was over. Here's what I thought after driving the M40i and M Comp back to back:
"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 100 more 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 the sedans and coupes it's trying to emulate."
2022 BMW X3
We're split on the X3's comfort
Our long-term X5 offered a bit of a stiff ride, and while the X3 isn't quite as firm as its larger sibling, opinions are mixed on its 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?" asks Josh.
Senior editor of written content Brent Romans is more concerned about the front seat: "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."
2022 BMW X3
We're only halfway through our journey with our X3 but so far we've been impressed with BMW's best-seller. We've avoided any major issues so far, but there's still a long way to go.
2022 BMW X3