2022 BMW X3 xDrive30i M Sport Review : Mild Groove
Singapore - The X3 is one of BMW’s best selling vehicles, and with the popularity of SUVs on the rise, it would not be a surprise if the X3 would one day surpass the 3 Series; the latter which is the heart of the Bavarian brand.
The current X3 which was launched in 2017, gets a due LCI (Life Cycle Impulse), or a fancy term for a facelift. The beefy body shape, penned by a young Calvin Luk (also responsible for the sprucing up of the previous 1 Series, designing the current X1, and the Z4), still looks fresh, with purposeful lines, squared wheel arches, and hood bulges.
The facelift adds to the mix a flatter headlight design, a re-worked kidney grille, an aggressively styled intake area in-front, and a set of bold 3-dimensional pincer contoured tail lamps.
The xDrive30i is available here with two trims, the more costly ‘Individual’ with more fancy kit, which includes roof rails; and the variant which we are driving here, the ‘M Sport’.
Interestingly, the lower-powered 20i cars are now all equipped with AWD, meaning that only the all-electric iX3 is RWD. With the ‘M Sport’ badging, you get a set of fancy 20-inch rims, and an adaptive M Sport suspension for improved road conquering capability.
2022 BMW X3 xDrive30i M Sport - inside
The X3’s interior features a new air-conditioning vents and centre console assembly, a design which is carried over from newer cars within the BMW lineup. So it now looks closer on the inside to the M440i Gran Coupe, which we recently took for a spin on the mountain roads, along the outskirts of Munich.
The infotainment touchscreen has also grown from 10.25-inches to 12.3-inches, and is powered by BMW’s Operating System 7, which is arguably the best you can get among same body style class-equivalent cars. The system can be operated by voice, with the activation phrase “Hey BMW”, or anything you would like to customise it. In my case, it was “Hey New Hotness!”.
Both Apple and Android mobile devices are supported here, sadly though, BMW has omitted the wireless phone charging pad… i cannot stress how important this is.
For the driver, there is a new and equally large 12.3-inch digital instrument panel, offers greater levels of customisation, for improved integration of drive-related data.
The rest of the interior remains largely the same, which means a car with more than ample room for five, and a generous 550 litre boot, which can be expanded to 1660 litres with the rear seats folded.
2022 BMW X3 xDrive30i M Sport - the drive
With the facelift, all X3 cars are now electrified in one form or another. The xDrive30i, is powered by a turbocharged 2.0 litre, which produces 245hp and 350Nm. Mild-hybridisation architecture adds a 48-volt-starter generator which gives the car an additional 11hp boost.
Paired with a ZF-sourced 8-speed, the xDrive30i manages 100km/h in just 6.6 seconds, which is almost 2 seconds between the entry 20i and the 6-cylinder 3.0 xDrive40i. Unfortunately, I feel that the new setup is less smooth, since driving at low speeds is now a slightly notchier affair.
The X3’s M Sport adaptive sports suspension delivers very good daily ride comfort, and I’d dare say that among the German “Big” 3 SUVs, the X3 also feels the most engaging. It feels accurate (and more fun) around the bends, and the variable sports steering delivers sufficient feedback for an engaging drive. BMW has definitely done a fine job here, tweaking the suspension, and achieving a fine balance between comfort and road holding.
BMW says that the xDrive30i car is capable of doing 8.7L/100km combined. However, I managed 9.3L/100km, but this is due to heavier traffic… and also a heavier right foot.
While the X3 is not a very large car to begin with, drivability is still made easier, thanks to its driving assistance features, like Parking Assistant Plus, which automatically helps to park the car for you. interestingly in vertical parking lots, the system even positions the X3 with a 60% to 40% gap difference between the cars it parks between, with priority given to the driver. There is also BMW’s famed reversing assistant, which helps you out of tight spaces, having the ability to trace recent paths driven, up to a distance of 50m.
The X3 has plenty of good to offer, but it definitely comes at a price, with the M Sport car beginning at $342,888. The fancier Individual model retails for $353,888 (prices accurate at time of publication).
PHOTOS Clifford Chow
BMW X3 xDrive30i M Sport
Engine 1998cc, TwinPower Turbo
Torque/rpm 350 Nm/1,560-4,800rpm
0-100 km/h 6.6 seconds
Top Speed 235 km/h.
Fuel Consumption 8.7L/100 km