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

BMW X3 hybrid
Overall rating

4.0 out of 5

Price
£51,230 - £56,280
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 hybrid29-30 miles134-141mpg45-54g/km

The BMW X3 xDrive30e is the plug-in hybrid version of BMW’s compact luxury SUV. It’s not to be confused with BMW’s first attempt at a fully electric SUV, the iX3. Instead, the X3 xDrive30e bridges the gap between conventional petrol versions and electric models, in a similar vein to its rivals the Mercedes GLC 300 e, Audi Q5 TFSI e, Jaguar F-Pace P400e and Volvo XC60 Recharge.

Its plug-in powertrain offers many advantages over conventional petrol and diesel options. Firstly, the plug-in X3 is capable of returning fuel economy of around 140mpg, and it produces just 45g/km of CO2 emissions. This makes it a good company-car choice, given its Benefit-in-Kind tax rate of just 12% until at least April 2025. It’s also capable of around 30 miles of pure-electric driving.

The X3 plug-in hybrid boasts an impressive power figure of 288bhp thanks to the combination of its 181bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine and 108bhp electric motor. Unlike other models in the X3 line-up, the XDrive30e plug-in hybrid comes with four-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard.

While the BMW X3 xDrive30e plug-in hybrid is best suited to company-car drivers thanks to its lower emissions keeping BiK costs down, it makes sense for private buyers, too. It doesn’t differ greatly in price compared with the diesel-powered X3 xDrive30, so there are genuine savings to be made by going for the plug-in option. This is especially true if you make regular short trips or need to do the school run, as you can do so on electricity alone.

The claimed 30-odd 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 stick to 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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