Unlike other websites and magazines, our ratings are not based solely on a singular road test, but rather a more encompassing batch of criteria: quality, safety, comfort, performance, fuel economy, reliability history and value. When comparing vehicles using our Rating System, it's important to note that the rating earned by each vehicle correlates only to the models within its class. For example, a compact car cannot be compared to a SUV—They are different vehicles altogether.
You can interpret our ratings in the following way:
5-Star: Outstanding vehicle. Only the most exceptional vehicles achieve this rating.
4-Star: Very Good vehicle. Very good and close to being the best vehicle in its class.
3-Star: Good vehicle. Decent, but not quite the best. Often affordable, but lacking key features found in vehicles of the same class.
2-Star: Below average vehicle. Not recommended, and lacking attributes a car buyer would come to expect for the price.
1-Star: Poor vehicle. Simply does not deserve to be on the road.
2019 BMW X3 OVERVIEW
It's no secret that BMW built its reputation on sport sedans. These days, though, crossovers are filling the coffers of the Munich-based brand. Of the various stilted utility vehicles proffered by the blue-and-white roundel, the 2019 X3 comes off as a sort of Goldilocks, giving up some space compared to the larger X5 but managing to be more spacious than the lilliputian X1 and X2. It is rightly sized and smartly priced - in other words, good ammunition as BMW guns for the title of best-selling luxury marque.
What's New for 2019
The X3 was all-new for the 2018 model year, so there's no significant changes for 2019.
Choosing Your BMW X3
Pack a lunch and grab a water bottle or two: it's an arduous hike through the jungle of BMW Designs, Tiers, powertrains, and trim levels. Luckily, the underbrush of options for the X3 isn't as dense as, say, a 3 Series. Credit that to the fact that all X3s come in just one body style - the four-door, SUV-like two-box shape - and that only two engines are currently on tap.
The proletarian motor is a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder, found in both the rear-drive sDrive30i and the all-wheel-drive xDrive30i. It produces 248 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, and is paired with an eight-speed automatic. With this setup, 60 miles per hour arrives in six seconds flat.
Those with a need for speed will probably be hankering for something a little more visceral than the 248-horse 2.0-liter. BMW shows the full-throttle folks some love with the M40i's turbo six-cylinder. Making 355 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque, it can shove the 4200-pound crossover to sixty in just 4.6 seconds, a figure that BMW claims is the best in this class.
While gas mileage has yet to be released for the 2019 model year, there's little reason to believe it should differ from the 2018 models. Expect 22 miles per gallon city and 29 highway for the 30i, and 20/27 for the M40i.
The two 30i models offer three Designs to choose from – xLine, Luxury, and M Sport. xLine is standard; it includes 18-inch wheels, black SensaTec leatherette seats, and Shadowline exterior trim (otherwise known as black plastic). For an additional $2,050 buyers can get the Luxury Design, which adds more chrome, leather seats with contrasting stitching, and piping, and a SensaTec dashboard. For $5,300 over the base xLine, the M Sport Design can be had, dressing up the X3 with an aerodynamic body kit, Shadowline trim, adaptive LED headlights, panoramic roof, 19-inch wheels, and aluminum trim.
Continuing with the 30i models, once a Design is chosen, the next step is to determine the Tier. The default Simplicity Tier is essentially the base model – standard features include ten-way power front seats, sport steering wheel, 12-speaker sound system, iDrive infotainment system, three-zone climate control, rain-sensing wipers, and auto-dimming mirrors.
The first upgrade is the $2,850 Convenience Tier, which includes Lumbar Support, SiriusXM radio, keyless entry, and a panoramic moonroof. The $6,250 Premium Tier includes all that as well as real-time traffic information, heated seats and steering wheel, navigation, Apple CarPlay, head-up display, and remote services. At $9,750, the Executive Tier includes the aforementioned, as well as active parking assist, gesture control, LED lights, digital gauge cluster, auto high beams, and surround-view camera.
Only once a Design and Tier have been chosen is access granted to colors, packages, and standalone options. For the M40i, there are (thankfully) no Tiers and Designs to choose from, so all that nonsense can be disregarded.
While it's nice to blitz to sixty in just 4.6 seconds, the starting price of $56,000 is a little too dear to make it worthwhile; at that price, you can pick up better-equipped luxury crossovers that won't be that much slower off the line. The real winner here is the weather-ready xDrive30i done up in the Luxury Design and equipped with the Premium Tier. It costs $51,845, but comes with all the important luxury features customers are pining for.
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