Since its launch in 2003, close to 600,000 BMW X3s have been sold through 2019 in the United States alone, which proves its incredible popularity in the SUV crossover segment.
Classified as a Small Sport Utility Vehicle 4WD by the EPA, the X3 is the German luxury brand’s best-selling SUV. Believe it or not, it’s BMW’s best-selling vehicle, period! Drivers have fallen in love with this practical 5-seat SUV that offers the sports sedan handling of a 3 Series. One of its biggest attractions: it’s just the right size for singles, couples and small families, which make up a sizable chunk of its customers.
For 2021, the Bavarian automaker has introduced an X3 hybrid version with numerous technology updates, an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery. Called the X3 sDrive 30e, this 3rd Generation X3 becomes one of 5 BMW plug-in hybrids now available for drivers looking to become e-mobile.
Says edmunds.com auto reviewer Mark Takahashi: “The 2021 BMW X3 is a well-rounded small luxury SUV. Whether it's practicality, safety, comfort, technology or performance you're interested in, the X3 delivers. It's a mainstay of BMW's lineup, giving you more room than the X1 and X2 while keeping the price reasonable compared to the larger X5. For 2021, the X3 receives more standard features, including some advanced safety systems, as well as Android Auto smartphone integration.”
Assuming you’ve charged the 12kWh battery, your 2021 X3 PHEV will start in Max eDrive (all-electric mode) and will stay there for an EPA-rated 18 miles of electric range. An Autoblog test driver claims he got 20.9 miles before the gas engine kicked in. The car is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and an 80kW (107hp) e-motor which combines for 288hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. The e-motor is integrated into the car’s 8-speed Steptronic transmission.
Once the battery is depleted, the SAV – Sports Activity Vehicle, as BMW likes to call it – operates as a conventional hybrid, with an MPGe of 60 City/24 Highway, and a total range of 340 miles. With only the gas engine operating, the car gets an EPA-estimated 24mpg and a 14/19/16 city/highway/combined rating. The plug-in’s battery is fully re-powered in 3.5 hours using a Level 2 (240V) charger, and in 6 hours using a regular 120V wall plug. A BMW iWallbox will charge the car in around 3 hours.
BMW claims this PHEV will reach a speed of 60mph in 6 seconds, a 10th of a sec faster than the gas-only X3. The automaker estimates their new plug-in saves up to 778 gas gallons per year and reduces the CO2 footprint by 12,724 pounds per year, giving the eco-minded a reason to cheer.
Says car buzz.com auto reviewer Sebastian Cenizo: “The BMW X3 hybrid is one of the more recent additions to the Munich-based manufacturer's lineup in the USA, but it's already one of our favorites. This is because the regular X3 is one of the best luxury compact SUVs on offer. The X3 hybrid was only recently introduced to the US market as an all-new model in 2020, but those who waited for the 2021 model, get a number of convenient enhancements. The biggest news is that Android Auto is finally provided alongside the preexisting Apple CarPlay system. The 2021 BMW X3 hybrid also gains Live Cockpit Professional as standard, thus benefiting from a 12.3-inch driver display and a 10.25-inch touchscreen display. The Active Driving Assistant with lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, and pedestrian detection is also standard, as is SiriusXM satellite radio with 360L.”
Another X3 PHEV bonus is its generous rear cabin passenger area; the vehicle has 28.8 cubic feet of cargo space with the seats in place and 62.7 cubic feet when they’re folded down. These volumes are at the high end of the car’s segment. Interesting to note: the PHEV loses just 1.5 cubic feet to the gas version to make room for its battery packs under the rear seats; a sign of smart design and engineering. Towing is rated at around 4,400 pounds.
The base trim BMW X3 PHEV has a starting MSRP of $49,600.The car is eligible for estimated state and Federal incentives of up to $5,836.
BMW has continually updated the vehicle to gain marketshare. For 2021, it comes with Android Auto and Smartphone integration and a one-year subscription to SiriusXM satellite radio. Standard as well is Live Cockpit Pro, which bundles together a 12.3” Digital Instrument Cluster and a larger 10.25” Central Information Display touchscreen. Live Cockpit Control provides more control, connectivity and customization than prior versions. The formerly optional Active Driving Assist package is also now standard.
The X3 has earned a 5-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the X3 its highest accolade of Top Safety Pic and it earned max scores in every major category. Standard X3 safety features include: anti-lock brakes which automatically dry the pads in wet weather and BMW Assist eCall emergency services, which include automatic crash notification and an emergency services request button. BMW’s Active Guard system with forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking at city speeds is now standard, as is Active Driving Assistant, which adds lane-departure warning and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. Active cruise control with stop and go and lane-keeping assistance is now optional.
Additional safety features include: ABS and Driveline Traction Control; DSC Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Roll Stability Control (RSC); Side Impact Beams; Dual Stage Driver And Passenger Seat-Mounted Side Airbags; Park Distance Control Front and Rear Parking Sensors; Frontal Collision Warning w/City Collision Mitigation; Tire Specific Low Tire Pressure Warning; Dual Stage Driver and Passenger Front Airbags; Curtain 1st and 2nd Row Airbags; Airbag Occupancy Sensors; Driver and Passenger Knee Airbags; Rear Child Safety Locks; Outboard Front Lap and Shoulder Safety Belts including Rear Center 3 Point Pretensioners; and a Back-Up Camera.
BMW’s warranties for their PHEVs are some of the best in the business. They completely cover a BMW plug-in’s 3-year lease period. These individual warranties include:
• 4 Basic Years / 50,000 Basic Miles
• 4 Drivetrain Years / 50,000 Drivetrain Miles
• 12 Corrosion Years / Unlimited Corrosion Miles
• 8 Hybrid/Electric Components Years / 80,000 Hybrid/Electric Components Miles
• 4 Roadside Assistance Years / Unlimited Roadside Assistance Miles
• 3 Maintenance Years / 36,000 Maintenance Miles
An all-electric iX3 is being built at BMW’s China plant and will debut first in that country before coming to the United States in the next few years.
Bottom line? If you’re looking for a luxury SUV with an ecology-conscious twist of 18 green miles added, and you’re a fan of BMW’s highly venerated styling touches and superb driving dynamics, this is the car for you.
Updated May 2021
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