BMW has a variety of popular models, but even for this sports car-focused brand, SUVs are increasingly stealing the spotlight.
Case in point: The BMW X3 – a compact luxury SUV offering – is now the brand’s best-selling model in the US with more than 75,000 vehicles sold in 2021.
That’s a huge success given the fierce competition in this sector from brands like Genesis, Benz, Audi, Cadillac, Lincoln and more.
I recently spent some time driving the 2022 BMW X3, which includes design upgrades as well as technical improvements, and I’ll be back with a full report.
for your information
Vehicle: 2022 BMW X3
Price as tested: $64,990 (starts around $43K)
Best feature: Sporty and powerful handling, innovative infotainment system
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Who wants this vehicle?: Luxury SUV buyers looking for a thrilling ride and a tech-savvy vehicle
The updated styling on the 2022 BMW X3 includes redesigns of the front and rear, including grille and lighting designs that are eye-catching and attractive.
A muscular silhouette is offered and I had a sharp Carbon Black Metallic livery on my test vehicle. Other exterior highlights include the M-brakes that stand out in bright red.
One drawback is that the side mirrors on the X3 are too small.
Moving around in the vehicle, an X3 with the Premium package will have a panoramic sunroof, heated front and rear seats, a Head-Up Display and gesture controls (more on that later).
The X3 offers a stylish and comfortable interior, although it is not as luxurious in appearance as some rivals. The seats were Mokka Vernasca leather and felt very comfortable even on longer rides. There’s also ample legroom in both the front and rear seats, and cargo space is competitive at 28.7 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 62.7 cubic feet with the rear seats down.
There are many well-designed controls on the steering wheel, in the center console and on the touchscreen.
Further interior highlights include a heated leather-trimmed 3-spoke M sports steering wheel, multi-zone climate control, carbon fiber upholstery and ambient lighting.
HOW’S THE RIDE?
Several engine options are available on the X3 and all available engines are powerful and economical.
My test vehicle (an M40i model) had a 3.0-liter turbo inline 6-cylinder engine that offered a solid 382 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. The M40i features a mild hybrid system with an upgraded starter-generator system that makes the engine more efficient in heavy traffic.
Other options include the base engine, a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 248 horsepower and 258 pound-feet. Last but not least, the high-end M performance model will blow you away with its 473 horsepower and 457 pound-feet.
All X3 models are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. AWD is standard on all but one X3 model.
The V6 powerplant in the vehicle I tested provided a great driving experience, as you would expect from a brand like BMW.
The power is really great, with a 0 to 60 time of just over 4 seconds. The X3 offers impressive handling on twisty roads, and you get paddle shifters to improve handling if you prefer more control than shifting. Braking is also instantly responsive.
Overall, you feel very connected to the car and trust it will do what you want it to, making the X3 a legitimate contender for the best overall driving experience in the segment. Depending on your driving conditions, you can choose between Sport (the fun option), Comfort (daily driving/in traffic) and Eco Pro (maximization of fuel consumption) driving modes.
An adaptive M suspension on the M40i model lowers the chassis by about half an inch.
The X3 also features variable sports steering, Dynamic Stability Control, Dynamic Traction Control, ventilated four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, Dynamic Brake Control, M Sport Brakes and Cornering Brake Control.
The 2022 BMW X3 features a very cool and easy-to-use iDrive 7.0 infotainment system, without a doubt one of the best in the industry. It features easy-to-use touch controls, a convenient rotary knob in the center console and highly effective voice commands.
There are also some unique features such as gesture control that allows you to perform some commands via air gestures without actually touching the screen.
The X3 is compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and the Connected Package Pro offers Real-Time Traffic, On-Street Parking Info (in select cities) and BMW Remote Services.
The X3 is also one of the safest SUVs available – rated 5 stars overall and in almost every category.
A lot of great safety systems are included, although I found some to be overly sensitive at times.
These systems include:
- Park Distance Control front and rear and reversing camera
- Active Driving Assistant with Frontal Collision Warning, Active Blind Spot Detection and Lane Departure Warning
- Head-up display
- Active Blind Spot Detection
- Front Collision Warning with City Collision Mitigation
- Lane departure warning
Fuel mileage is respectable in the 2022 BMW X3, which officially enters 21 city/26 highway/23 combined.
In my real-world testing of the X3, I averaged slightly lower, at just over 19 mpg.
The 2022 BMW X3 M40i I tested cost just under $65,000; base price starts at about $43K for the base version, $58K for the M40i trim level, and $70K for the high-performance M model.
These prices are in the higher range of the luxury SUV range available, but BMW has the performance and design products to back those prices up.
Warranties are strong, including:
- 4 Year/50,000 Mile New Vehicle Limited Warranty
- 12 year limited warranty on rust perforation without mileage
- 4-Year Roadside Assistance Program with Unlimited Mileage
- BMW Ultimate Care Maintenance Program For the first 3 years or 36,000 miles
There are many good reasons why the X3 is BMW’s bestseller. With its sharp looks, spacious and well-designed interior, strong technical features and that traditional BMW ride quality – the 2022 BMW X3 is once again a capable contender in the luxury compact SUV segment.
Other brands such as Genesis are certainly making an impression in the segment and are on their way, but BMW continues to defend its position as a premium luxury brand quite well with vehicles such as the refreshed X3 crossover that will suit a wide range of families and individuals and anyone who simply loves likes to drive.
Matt Myftiu can be reached by email at [email protected] His past reviews can all be seen online at autotechreviews.com. Follow AutoTechReviews on Instagram at @Autotechreviews.