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  • Anthony Sophinos
    Automotive Editor - April 18, 2018

    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.

    BMW X6 Front Quarter

    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.

    SDrive30i

    The rear-drive-only sDrive30i starts at $41,995 (including a $995 destination charge). Along with the design and tiers, there are a few options packages. These include the $500 Driver Assistance Package, which includes blind spot detection and lane-departure warning. That can be supplemented by the more expensive and more comprehensive Driver Assistance Package Plus, which costs $1,700 and includes adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation, and pedestrian collision mitigation. For the performance minded, the $1,300 Dynamic Handling Package ratchets up the handling and response with M Sport brakes, variable sport steering, and dynamic damper control. There is also the Parking Assistance Package for $700, which includes parking-lot lifesavers like a surround-view camera, Parking Assistant Plus (which lets the X3 park itself), and the audible Park Distance Control.

    Standalone options include heated front seats ($500), heated steering wheel ($190), wireless charging ($500), panoramic roof ($1,350), navigation ($1,700), and a Harman-Kardon sound system ($875).

    xDrive30i

    The $43,645 xDrive30i matches to a tee the sDrive30i – the only real difference is the xDrive all-wheel-drive system sending power to all four wheels and a slight rejiggering of the package prices. The Driver Assistance Package now costs $900 and the Dynamic Handling Package is $1,400. The la carte options are also an almost mirror image of the sDrive, with the only exception being Apple CarPlay compatibility ($300).

    Notable differences regarding the Tiers include the addition of LED headlights and cornering lights on the Convenience Tier, no Apple CarPlay on the Premium Tier, and the 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster that comes with the Executive Tier.

    M40i

    The fastest and priciest X3 is called M40i and has a sticker price of $55,495. The brunt of that price bump is for the 3.0-liter turbo six-cylinder; the rest of it goes towards the 14-way power front seats, hands-free hatch control, ambient lighting, SiriusXM, hill descent control and a specially tuned suspension. The contents of the Dynamic Handling Package are also standard.

    Like the lower-spec X3s, the Parking Assistance Package, Driver Assistance Package, and Driver Assistance Package Plus are all available. Also on tap are a $2,950 Premium Package and $2,550 Executive Package, the contents of both having been plucked directly from the Premium and Executive Tiers, respectively. Note these packages only come with the Tier-specific doodads, while the Tiers themselves include their specific equipment along with the equipment of lesser Tiers (for instance, the Executive Tier includes the contents of the Premium and Convenience Tier, but the Executive Package doesn't come with all the Premium Package's goodies). Individual options match those of the 30i cars.

    CarsDirect Tip

    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.

    Get your price on a BMW X3 »

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