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In-depth reviews

BMW X3 hybrid performance, top speed & engine

The plug-in X3 is good to drive and has plenty of power, but the petrol engine can feel thrashy

Overall rating

3.0 out of 5

Performance, engine & drive rating

3.5 out of 5

Price
£46,940 - £54,105
Fuel Type:
Hybrid Petrol
0-62mphTop speedDriven wheelsPower
6.1s131mphFour288bhp

Like all BMW hybrids, the X3 xDrive30e defaults to electric power on start-up. Left to its own devices, it'll run in 'Auto eDrive' mode, with the car deciding on the best combination of electric and petrol power to deliver the most efficient progress.

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If you'd prefer to retain electric power for use later in your journey, 'Battery Control' mode lets you maintain a certain level of battery charge, for example when pottering around a city after a long motorway drive. There's also 'Max eDrive', which keeps the car in electric mode (as long as there's charge in the battery) unless you accelerate particularly hard.

You may use that mode a lot because it allows you to appreciate how refined the X3 truly is. The absence of engine noise doesn't mean you're suddenly subjected to rattles, clatters, wind, or tyre roar you couldn't hear before.

The suspension is extremely good at ironing out harsh bumps, too. When you have to call on the petrol engine, you'll be disappointed – the two-litre unit is a little rough under acceleration.

BMW X3 hybrid 0-62mph, top speed and acceleration

Performance is strong thanks to those combined power sources: 0-62mph is over and done within 6.1 seconds, and the engine, motor and gearbox work together to deliver a seamless surge of power when called upon. While there's 249bhp on tap in everyday driving, Sport mode activates 'XtraBoost', allowing a little more electrical assistance to boost power to 288bhp, as long as the batteries have enough charge.

It’s best not to thrash the X3 because the petrol engine sounds rough at higher revs. The equivalent three-litre six-cylinder diesel in the xDrive30d is much smoother.

Handling

The X3 xDrive30e impresses on a twisty road despite its already-hefty weight having been added to by the hybrid system and its batteries. It feels solid, grippy and planted unless you push your luck, so all but the most demanding drivers will be satisfied.

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Richard is editor of DrivingElectric, as well as sister site Carbuyer.co.uk, and a regular contributor to Auto Express. An electric and hybrid car advocate, he spent more than five years working on the news and reviews desk at Auto Express and has driven almost every new car currently on sale.

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