The X3 is a favorite crossover SUV among BMW fans, as designers managed to take the brand’s renowned sports sedan and turn it into a larger, roomier SUV. But in order to keep up with the future of vehicles (and how they are fueled), the X3 SUV must evolve alongside them. BMW has answered that call with the newest plug-in hybrid version of the X3, the 2020 BMW X3 xDrive30e. But did the BMW get its first X3 hybrid right?
The BMW X3 finally gets electrified
For the first time, buyers can take advantage of a plug-in hybrid version (PHEV) of the X3 SUV, with BMW cashing in the on the indefinite future of EVs. The 2020 BMW X3 xDrive30e is the new PHEV variant of the X3 xDrive30i, offering the same all-wheel drivetrain and impressive-for-its-class towing capacity. But the X3 xDrive30e integrates a109-hp electric motor and 12kWh battery alongside its standard 248-hp four-cylinder engine for a combined 288 hp. According to the EPA, the 2020 BMW X3 xDrive30e earns a combined 60 MPGe in EV mode. The range in which the xDrive30e can go before switching over to gas/hybrid is 17 miles, for a total fuel range of 340 miles.
Although its base price is higher than the gas-only X3, at more than $48,000, the xDrive30e actually winds up being the cheapest in the X3 lineup. After applying the federal income tax credit and factoring in savings in fuel annually, cost of ownership is substantially lowered. In fact, the EPA estimates owners of the BMW X3 xDrive30e will spend roughly$500 less on gas per year than gas-only X3 owners.
According to CarBuzz, while the 2020 BMW xDrive30e may not be as powerful as competitors, it has a spacious interior, pleasant ride, and a fun-to-drive nature. Standard features with the xDrive30e include LED headlights, 10-way adjustable front seats, reclining rear seats, 40/20/40 folding rear seats, 12.3-inch display, a rearview camera, and a 10.25-inch touchscreen.
Real-life numbers: Does the BMW X3 xDrive30e deliver?
It’s easy to get caught up in the allure of a hybrid vehicle, especially when something as impressive as the X3 falls into the EV game. But as some experts point out, the xDrive30e hybrid may not be all it’s cracked up to be. According to InsideEVs, the BMW X3 xDrive30e’s all-electric range of 17 miles is less than impressive among the world of PHEVs. In addition, the hybrid X3 may actually be less efficient than its gas-only counterpart. Once the xDrive30e moves out of its all-electric range, its combined fuel economy in hybrid mode is actually worse than the gas-only xDrive30i’s. The hybrid X3 earns a combined 24 MPG, where the gas-only X3 earns a combined 26 MPG. What’s worse is that the hybrid X3’s total range of 340 miles is actually lower than its sibling’s range of 447 miles.
The xDrive30e may also have you spending less on fuel than with the xDrive30i, but these numbers can be misleading as well. While the EPA’s estimation saves hybrid owners $500 over gas-only owners, its less-than-average combined MPG means you’ll spend an estimated $1,500 more than the average vehicle for the same time. And when broken down annually, standard X3 owners will really only spend an average of $100 more in fuel than hybrid xDrive30e owners.
Everything you need to know about the 2020 BMW X3 family
According to Edmunds, there four total trim levels available in the 2020 BMW X3 family. Aside from the hybrid xDrive30e, the base sDrive30i and xDrive30i models are the X3’s gas-only variants. There is also the X3 M40i, a specialty variant designed by BMW’s high-performance division. All three Drive models use the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, while the M variant of the X3 gets a 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine that makes 382 hp.