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BMW X3 xDrive30e (2021 - )

The BMW X3 xDrive30e is a five-door SUV that cleverly combines a powerful combustion engine with BMW eDrive electric drive technology.

Starting price:
£57,465 (before options)

Why we love it:
  • Beautifully refined, yet dynamic handling
  • High-end cabin and packed with tech
  • Great value for private and business owners alike
Where it could be better:
  • Low EV-only range
  • Boot space is not that impressive
  • Some wind noise from the mirrors at speed

Introduction

BMW X3 xDrive30e

The BMW X3 xDrive30e is a five-door SUV that cleverly combines a powerful combustion engine with BMW eDrive electric drive technology. The result is a car with an EV-only range of 27 to 30 miles, which is enough to cope with the average daily commute in full electric mode but has the reassurance of a petrol engine for longer journeys.

Customers can choose pure petrol driven versions of the X3 or opt for the plug-in hybrid technology which is available in two trim levels called xLine and M Sport. We opted for the high-end M Sport model for our test drive.

BMW X3 xDrive30e

The BMW X3 PHEV is a beautifully styled five-door SUV with a sporty edge to it. From the outside, it looks like every other X3 version with its large black kidney grille, slim headlights, vertical air inlets, privacy glass, full LED rear lights with smoked covers, twin tail pipes and 20-inch alloy wheels with blue brake calipers.

And that dynamism is just as prevalent inside where the cabin is BMW through and through. It oozes charm with top quality fixtures and fittings throughout and skilled craftsmanship at every turn.

The leather sports seats are power-adjustable and offer plenty of support. And these, along with the steering wheel, can be heated to fend off the winter chill. The black seat belts with blue and red stripes offer a not-so-subtle hint that this M Sport car has a dynamic edge.

The all-round driver visibility is excellent thanks to the slightly elevated seating position and all dials, controls and readouts are perfectly positioned for ease of use on the move.

A simple-to-operate dial is used to access the many on-board functions, or alternatively you can use the 12-inch colour touchscreen with sharp graphics or voice activated personal assistant.

And the level of technology is first class with a pitch perfect Harman Kardon sound system, full smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus a 12-inch driver display offering all the vital driving data. The climate control settings are located in a separate panel to avoid any distraction.

On The Road

BMW X3 xDrive30e

Handling & Performance

The BMW X3 xDrive30e sees a 184hp 2.0-litre petrol engine working with a 109hp electric motor delivering 265Nm of torque. This results in a combined output of 288hp and 420Nm of torque which, in turn, results in some impressive performance stats. The car can complete the 0-62mph sprint in 6.1 seconds and has a top speed of 130mph.

The acceleration through the eight-speed Steptronic transmission is both smooth and responsive and there are paddles to take control of the gear shifts manually for added fun.

This BMW is exceptionally comfortable and we covered about 500 miles during our week behind the wheel. It’s an accomplished motorway cruiser, dynamic and well-grounded when pushed through twisting country lanes and is agile and easy to manoeuvre in the city too. The Parking Assistant Plus set-up, along with sensors, parking aids and cameras make squeezing into a tight parking bay that much easier.

Drive modes called Sport, Hybrid and Electric alter the driving characteristics of the car and also the efficiency. When you access the Sport mode there are additional ways to personalise the set-up of the car with Standard, XtraBoost, Individual and Configure Individual settings which offers varying settings for the steering, damping, engine and transmission. The Hybrid mode offers a choice between Standard or EcoPro settings - or you can simply let the car choose for you.

BMW X3 xDrive30e

Space & Practicality

When viewed from any angle, the BMW X3 looks impressive and boasts a strong road presence thanks to its SUV-like design. It stretches 4,708mm in length, is 1,891mm wide and 1,676mm tall with a wheelbase of 2,864mm. Those dimensions result in a decent-sized cabin with room in the back for a couple of adults or a trio of children to sit comfortably. That said, the person relegated to the middle seat will need to straddle a large central hump.

Up front, powered seats and a manually-adjustable steering wheel make finding the perfect driving position a simple task and there are memory settings to store your favourite positions – this is handy if more than one person uses the car. 

The boot is accessed via a powered tailgate and can swallow 450 litres of luggage, increasing to 1,500 litres with the 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat.

And throughout the cabin, there are numerous practical storage compartments, including a lockable glovebox, door bins, a deep central cubby, front and rear cup holders, seat back nets, a wireless charging pad and a secret closed compartment next to the driver’s door.

Charging the 12kWh battery from 0-100 per cent takes 3.75 hours from a domestic wallbox.

Ownership

BMW X3 xDrive30e

Running Costs

The BMW X3 plug-in hybrid line-up is priced at £55,665 for the X3 XDrive30e xLine model and rises to £57,465 for the xDrive30e M Sport version as tested. But these are the starting prices and, as is the premium carmakers way, there are all manner of packs and optional extras to fully personalise the vehicle … at a cost.

For example, our test model featured a number of add-ons that saw the final price creep up to £64,280. These included a Technology Plus Pack (£2,400) that introduced Parking assistant plus, a head-up display, the upgraded Harman Kardon sound system, a Drive Recorder, enhanced Bluetooth with wireless charging, gesture control and a wi-fi hotspot. 

A Comfort Plus Pack (£1,950) added the heated seats and steering wheel plus electric memory seats, along with comfort access, extended storage and a few other features. There was also an M Sport Pro Pack costing £2,200 extra and this featured a range of sportier styling cues such as 20-inch M Double spoke alloys, M Sport Brakes with blue calipers, M Sport seat belts, adaptive suspension and much more besides.

When it comes to the day-to-day running costs, the X3 xDrive30e can deliver a combined 117.7-141.2mpg under WLTP testing with carbon emissions of 48g/km. Clearly this official fuel efficiency figure would only be realistically achieved if the car’s battery was charged constantly and the vehicle driven most of the time in EV-only mode.

The carbon emissions figure would result in a Vehicle Excise Duty (road tax) charge of £10 for the first year and that would be increased to £170 after the first 12 months.

But, as the vehicle costs in excess of £40k there is a premium car levy to pay too, which costs an extra £390 for five years from years two to six.

For anyone lucky enough to be offered this X3 as a business car, the Benefit in Kind tax rating is set at 14 per cent and the vehicle, as tested, sits in insurance group 38.

Verdict

The BMW X3 is an impressive vehicle that covers all the bases for any active family. It’s practical with a decent-sized boot (not as big as some rivals) and also boasts the reassurance of all-wheel drive.

But it still possesses all the Bavarian carmaker’s appeal when it comes to handling with dynamic performance and powerful acceleration.

In addition it is appealing to business owners who can reap financial savings thanks to its low carbon emissions. And with more ultra-low emission zones creeping in, these plug-in hybrid cars are proving invaluable for city dwellers.

By Maxine Ashford
Aug 31, 2023

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