Reviews

2018 BMW X3 Introduction

The BMW X3 compact crossover has been redesigned for the 2018 model year. First launched as a 2004 model and now in its third generation, the X3 is one of six xLine crossover models BMW calls Sports Activity Vehicles, numbered X1 through X6.

The new X3 M40i, the first M Performance model in the X3 line, is capable of reaching 60 mph in 6 seconds. For the first time on any X model, a three-dimensional Active Kidney grille is installed, flanked by hexagonal foglamps. Additional aerodynamic improvements include underbody cladding, a roof spoiler with aero blades, and air curtains. Otherwise, body modifications are evolutionary rather than dramatic, led by taller glass areas.

BMW’s head-up display is 75 percent bigger than in the previous X3, complemented by a 10.25-inch touchscreen and Gesture Control technology. A pre-crash accident detection system is installed, along with three-zone automatic climate control, and reclining rear seatbacks.

A 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine powers the X3 30i model. Developing 248 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, the base engine mates with an 8-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive has been standard, but a rear-drive version will also be offered.

In the M40i edition, a sublime turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine boasts 355 horsepower and 369 pound-feet, also driving an 8-speed automatic. Like BMW’s other M models, the M40i is fitted with M-grade handling components. All-wheel drive is standard.

BMW no longer offers an X3 turbodiesel, but plug-in hybrid and battery-powered models are being developed.

The 2018 model earned Good scores in crash-testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. With specific safety options installed, the X3 has been rated Superior for frontal crash protection and Good for headlights, warranting a Top Safety Pick+ award. Ease of child-seat use was rated Marginal.

A rearview camera is standard, and the X3 promises excellent outward views. An option group includes lane-departure warning and blind-spot monitoring, as well as forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking. Another option package adds adaptive cruise control with stop/go functionality, active lane control, and traffic-jam assist. Semi-autonomous driving is possible for brief periods.

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