The 2020 BMW X3 comes with an additional 27 horsepower storming out of the six-cylinder M40i, bringing total hp to 382. A revamped 12.3-inch fully-digital gauge cluster is now available as well. Known as Live Cockpit Professional, this setup features redesigned gauges, greater functionality, and more options for customization compared to last year's display.
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2020 BMW X3 Overview
Choosing Your BMW X3
The BMW X3 is offered in two distinct trims: 30i and M40i. Pricing starts at $42,945 for the sDrive30i and climbs to $56,895 for the performance-focused M40i. The rear-wheel-drive sDrive30i is $2,000 cheaper than the all-wheel-drive xDrive30i, while the M40i is available exclusively with AWD.
Like any good modern crossover, the BMW X3 comes standard with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. The more muscular M40i uses a 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder. Both are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
|Engine Type||Horsepower||Torque||0-60 MPH Time||Fuel Economy (Combined)|
|2.0L Turbo 4-Cylinder||248 hp||258 lb-ft||6.0 seconds||27 mpg|
|3.0L Turbo 6-Cylinder||382 hp||365 lb-ft||4.4 seconds||23 mpg|
The fuel economy noted above for the four-cylinder engine is reflective of sDrive30i models; the xDrive30i returns one less mile per gallon combined, according to the EPA.
Passenger and Cargo Capacity
The X3 is a five-passenger crossover. Unlike its X4 sibling, the X3 uses a sensibly upright roof that allows for ample head room in both rows. As a result, the rear seat feels plenty spacious, even when compared to the rest of the contenders in this competitive segment.
The X3 boasts 28.7 cubic feet of cargo space; this expands to 62.7 cubes with the rear seat down. Whether the back seat is folded or no, this is far more available space than what's offered by the X3's closest competitors, the Audi Q5 and Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class.
Standard active-safety features on the X3 are limited to automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, front and rear parking sensors, and automatic collision notification.
If you're looking for a more complete helping of modern assistance systems, you'll need one of the two available safety packages. The $500 Driving Assistance Package includes blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane departure warning, while the $1,700 Driving Assistance Plus Package adds those features plus adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, and evasion assist.
The 2019 BMW X3 earned a Top Safety Pick Plus designation from the IIHS, and we expect the 2020 to do the same. The NHTSA has given the 2020 model a five-star overall safety rating.
A familiar sight in BMWs these days is iDrive, the brand's infotainment software that can be found in anything from an i3 to a 7-Series. In the X3, buyers interact with this system through an 8.8-inch touchscreen with navigation and Apple CarPlay (for one year, then it costs $80 per year).
More screen can be had by opting for the Premium or Executive Packages, both of which include a 10.25-inch touchscreen, a fully-digital 12.3-inch digital display cluster, and a head-up display. The smaller screen uses iDrive version 6.0, while the upgraded screen boasts version 7.0.
Other notable available technology includes gesture control and voice command. For that last one, simply say aloud "Hey, BMW" and speak your request. The system will respond appropriately without any distracted poking and prodding of the touchscreen or physical controls.
The sDrive30i and xDrive30i is where most shoppers will focus their search. BMW knows this, and offers a breadth of options, packages, and trims for buyers to consider before seeing any sort of dotted line.
The first step is to choose one of three Designs, which are essentially exterior trimmings. xLine is standard and does up the car in glossy black trim; Luxury replaces this with chrome; M Sport reverts to black. Further differentiating the M Sport are unique bumpers, 19-inch wheels, and adaptive LED lights.
Base equipment for all three Designs includes niceties such as 10-way power front seats, a 12-speaker audio system, tri-zone climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and rain-sensing windshield wipers.
As with most BMWs, buyers can spec out their X3 in one of three major option packages: Convenience, Premium, and Executive. The Convenience costs $2,250 and includes a panoramic moonroof, SiriusXM radio, lumbar support, and keyless entry. This package is standard on 30i models equipped with the M Sport Design.
The $5,000 Premium Package includes heated seats, BMW cloud services, the digital gauge cluster, larger touchscreen, head-up display, and a heated steering wheel.
For those who want it all, only the $7,750 Executive Package will do. It includes everything found in the Premium as well as gesture control, autonomous parking assist, a surround-view camera system, and automatic high beams.
The calling card of the M40i is the 382-hp six-cylinder engine, but the steep jump in price over a 30i model also buys the contents of the Convenience Package as well as LED headlights and automatic high beams. There's also exclusive sport brakes, suspension, and steering, all of which are finessed by the brand's M division.
With the Convenience Package having been made standard, the Premium and Executive Packages are left as the primary optional upgrades. The Premium is now priced at $2,450, while the Executive costs $4,800.
We'd spec our 2020 BMW X3 as an xDrive30i and would make sure to nab the Premium Package. The resulting vehicle would be plenty of luxury without the usual German-car sticker shock.
2020 BMW X3 Review
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.
- Captivating design
- Strong engines
- Roomy interior
- Pricey high-end models
- Weighty steering
- Waiting for electrification
Little size, big safety. The 2020 BMW X3 achieves one of the highest safety ratings among small luxury crossovers. It boasts an IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus designation, the highest possible. Moreover, the X3 carries a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA. Not many models can claim top scores from both testing entities.
Beyond the scores, the X3 delivers some very useful equipment, including automatic emergency braking. However, most other active safety equipment is wrapped within various add-on packages.
As for its size, the X3 is larger than you might expect. Or at least it tops the range of what’s considered a small crossover – it's very roomy inside.
Ample performance. There's no weak engine found in any X3 model. To begin, you’ll find a peppy 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with an output of 248 horsepower.
Choose the M40i, and the performance quotient increases considerably. Driving this model is a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 engine with 382 hp and a 4.4-second 0-60 mph time. Up to 100% of the torque travels to the rear wheels, while steering and handling equal what you’d find in a BMW 3-Series sedan.
Even more power flows from the two M models, delivering an outstanding 473 and 503 hp, respectively. The same engine is utilized, but with enhanced tuning to squeeze out far more power.
Another benefit is towing capacity, as this vehicle can pull up to 4,400 pounds.
Fuel efficient, but without electrification. Lots of power on tap means fuel efficiency takes a hit, but the impact is minimal. The standard model earns an EPA-estimated 27 miles per gallon combined. The standard X3 compares favorably to the Audi Q3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class.
The performance X3 M models take a big hit, with fuel efficiency falling to just 16 mpg combined. That’s not unusual, but at least no gas guzzler penalty is assessed.
BMW hybrid technology would be a welcome option here, but it isn’t yet available. Instead, shoppers must consider a pair of sedans: the BMW 5-Series or BMW 7-Series. Another option is the two “i” models, the BMW i3 and BMW i8, which bring full electrification or range-extending hybrid tech.
Prices range from mild to wild. It isn’t uncustomary for luxury brands to roll out a vehicle with a competitive base price and then tout several upgrades that ultimately doubles the price. The X3 begins around $43,000, but most models easily top $50,000 when various package upgrades are taken.
Some of the additional charges are annoying, including an $80 per year Apple CarPlay subscription after the first year (sorry, you still won’t find Android Auto). You’ll also pay extra for certain driver-assist features and exterior and interior upgrades.
At the top end of the scale is the X3 M Competition, which brings every performance enhancement possible to the table. It's $77,895 starting price is the trade-off.
Final thoughts. The 2020 BMW X3 does everything it must do to attract luxury shoppers with its handsome looks, stellar safety ratings, cutting-edge technology, and roomy interior. It adds a robust performance quotient with any of its M models.
We think most buyers will find the standard four-cylinder engine sufficient and xDrive all-wheel drive their preferred choice.
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