In-depth reviews

BMW X3 hybrid review

The BMW X3 xDrive30e continues BMW's trend of offering impressive plug-in hybrid versions of some of its most popular models

Overall rating

4.0 out of 5

Price
£48,345 - £55,395
Fuel Type:
Hybrid Petrol

Pros

  • Performance vs efficiency
  • Quiet and relaxing
  • Great interior

Cons

  • Heavy and feels it
  • Compromises on practicality
  • Petrol engine not the most refined
Car typeElectric rangeFuel economyCO2 emissions
Plug-in hybrid29-32 miles123-149mpg44-53g/km

While the iX3 marked BMW’s first attempt at an all-electric SUV, the X3 xDrive30e is one of many plug-in hybrid versions of the German brand’s popular, pre-existing models. The plug-in X3 is a direct rival for the Mercedes GLC 300 e, Audi Q5 TFSI e, Jaguar F-Pace P400e and Volvo XC60 T6 and T8

The ‘xDrive30e’ plug-in hybrid powertrain has several advantages: firstly is fuel economy, with the plug-in hybrid X3 capable of returning nearly 150mpg and putting out just 44g/km of CO2. You also get around 30 miles of pure-electric driving and the X3 xDrive30e attracts a Benefit-in-Kind company-car tax rate of just 11% in the current financial year.

The X3 plug-in hybrid packs an impressive power output of 288bhp, courtesy its 181bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine working in concert with a 108bhp electric motor, fed by a 12kWh battery. Unlike other X3 variants, four-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic gearbox are standard for the plug-in hybrid.

While most plug-in hybrids work best for company-car users whose costs are determined largely by CO2 emissions rather than list price, the X3 xDrive30e manages to appeal to private buyers too – there's not much in price between it and the diesel-powered X3 xDrive30. This means there are genuine savings to be made – especially if you use your SUV for shorter trips or the school run. And it remains a no-brainer for company-car drivers.

The claimed 32 miles is possible exclusively under electric power with a full battery – meaning you won't use a drop of fuel on most shorter trips if you develop good charging habits. Naturally, the electric motor can be used in conjunction with the petrol engine on longer trips, however, once the battery runs out, economy drops significantly – as is the case with the majority of plug-in hybrids.

The good news is that the X3 lives up to BMW's reputation for building great-to-drive cars; it's a bit heavy and the petrol engine can drone when it kicks in, but performance is strong and there's plenty of grip. It's not exactly sporty, but it feels planted and safe.

Inside, the well-appointed cabin is among the best in this class, built solidly, sensibly laid-out and spacious. The addition of batteries means there’s less space available in the boot, however, the 450-litre boot is on par with its plug-in hybrid SUV rivals

All told, the plug-in hybrid X3 is a tantalising alternative to its oil-burning sibling, and indeed its rivals from the likes of Mercedes, Volvo and Audi. Read on to find out more about the X3 xDrive30e in the rest of our in-depth review…

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