X3

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2019 BMW X3 Overview

BMW’s successful X3 crossover battles against the Audi Q5, Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class, and Volvo XC60. The third-generation X3 came to market in 2018, wearing a new skin and featuring a modernized drivetrain and technology stack. The only notable change for 2019 is a new entry-level trim.

The X3 looks both premium and athletic. To further enhance its appearance, you can choose from three basic themes: xLine, Luxury, and M Sport. The xLine and Luxury trims are similar, but the former gets satin silver exterior enhancements, while the latter comes with chrome exterior details and a leatherette dashboard. The M Sport version gets an exclusive body kit inspired by BMW’s M cars and some unique color options, as well as sportier interior appointments and thick bolstered seats.

Inside, the X3 is surprisingly spacious for a two-row crossover, comfortably seating five adults with plenty of storage space and high-grade materials. If you don’t need all five spots, the rear 40/20/40-split seat folds down to create a maximum 62.7 cubic feet of cargo space.

As before, BMW offers the X3 with two engines. A 2.0-liter turbocharged inline 4-cylinder comes standard, making 248 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. That torque comes in as low as 1,450 RPM, helping the crossover to move swiftly from a stop and reach 60 miles per hour in 6 seconds. There’s also an 8-speed automatic transmission underfoot. Previously, the base engine was offered only in the xDrive30i trim, which came standard with BMW’s intelligent all-wheel drive (AWD). But for 2019, BMW introduced a rear-wheel drive (RWD) sDrive30i that also features the base engine. Fuel economy for the xDrive30 is 22 mpg city, 29 highway, and 25 combined. The sDrive is as high as 23 city, 30 highway, and 26 combined on premium fuel.

For greater levels of performance, you’ll want to choose the higher-spec 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder engine. It puts out 355 hp and 365 lb-ft of torque, enough to cut the X3’s zero-to-sixty time down to 4.6 seconds using an 8-speed automatic transmission. Fuel efficiency doesn’t drop much compared to the smaller engine, at 20, 27, and 23. BMW offers this engine exclusively with the M40i trim, which also includes uprated suspension, brakes, steering, and the M Sport appearance package as standard equipment.

Like most BMW vehicles, the X3 spoils you with a generous list of standard equipment. All models get LED low-beam headlights, LED fog lights, roof rails, 10-way power front seats, memory setting, leatherette upholstery, reclining rear seats, a 12-speaker audio system, 3-zone automatic climate control, a power liftgate, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and keyless start. Options include a panoramic moonroof, full LED headlights, keyless access, genuine leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel, navigation, Apple CarPlay connectivity, real-time traffic updates, gesture recognition for the infotainment system, and a digital instrument cluster.

If you’re concerned about safety, the X3 benefits from BMW’s latest safety technology. While a reversing camera and rain-sensing windshield wipers are the only standard items, you can add a 360-degree camera system with a 3D view, automatic high beams, front and rear parking sensors, adaptive headlights, a parking assistant, blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, frontal-collision warning with low-speed automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, and adaptive cruise control with a traffic-crawling function. It’s no surprise, then, that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) bestowed the X3 with its highest honor in 2018, a Top Safety Pick+ designation.

The X3 is a goldilocks among vehicles. It’s got handsome styling, cutting-edge technology, more than enough practicality, and the heart of a sports car. And if you were on the fence about its price tag, the advent of a new RWD model might be enough to sway you.

Updated

Kyree has always been fascinated with the automotive world, especially when it comes to premium European cars. But regardless of the vehicle—whether it's an efficient hybrid or the latest luxury sled—he's always ready to dispense information and advice. These days, he enjoys doing that here at CarGurus.

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