$37,236 - $48,035

2018 BMW X3 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2018 BMW X3 was new.


Performance: 8.4

The 2018 BMW X3 handles like a charm, and both of its available engines deliver plenty of power. This athletic SUV doesn’t sacrifice ride comfort, and fuel efficiency is above average among class rivals.

  • "The X3 M40i is the ideal solution if you're stuck choosing between a sport sedan and an SUV. With plentiful power from its 6-cylinder engine, surprisingly good handling, sharp steering, and excellent brakes, you'd think it was a sporty wagon. But it's comfortable off pavement as well, something most sporty sedans can't match." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Power delivery is smooth and nearly immediate, with some slight turbo lag. It's so smooth and strong that you might think it's a six-cylinder at first. There is plenty of power once you're up to speed, making it easy to pass without mashing the accelerator. However, when you do need more power, the 8-speed automatic transmission smoothly and promptly executes multigear downshifts." -- Consumer Reports
  • "EPA-estimated gas mileage for the xDrive30i is 22/29/25 mpg (city/highway/combined), which is competitive with the class. Over some 360 miles of mostly highway driving, I hit the highway rating on the dot." -- Cars.com

Acceleration and Power

The BMW X3 xDrive30i comes with a 248-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that provides more than enough muscle for daily driving. If you're looking for more power, you can upgrade to the X3 M40i trim, which gets rave reviews from critics and produces 355 horsepower from its turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine.

Fuel economy in the base trim is above average for the class. The X3 xDrive30i delivers 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. M40i models aren't too far behind, with estimates of 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. All-wheel drive and a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission are standard in all models.

  • "Most of our time was spent driving the 2018 BMW X3 M40i, the sportier of the two models, boasting a more powerful engine, firmer suspension, bigger brakes, and electronically controlled shocks. The upshot is an SUV that likes to pretend it's a sport sedan. The 355-horsepower turbocharged 6-cylinder engine ensures excellent acceleration, going from a standstill to 60 mph in about 4.6 seconds." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Nevertheless, effortless speed, aided and abetted by a transmission that always knows exactly which gear to be in and at which time to be in it, is yours for the taking. The xDrive AWD system flawlessly apportions the power, the steering is sharp and quick, and the Pirelli P Zero performance tires deliver exceptional grip." -- New York Daily News
  • "Instead of the inline-6, the xDrive30i gets by with just a turbocharged inline-4 making 248 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. That seems like a big downgrade in performance, and in a way, it is. But the thing is, this engine provides more than enough power for keeping up with and dusting off traffic. The fact it makes its torque so low in the rev band makes a big difference, making it feel spritely in normal driving conditions. The engine is quiet, and the power delivery is smooth and undramatic, which means that it picks up speed deceptively quickly." -- Autoblog

Handling and Braking

The all-wheel-drive X3 is adept at handling both smooth highways and twisty back roads. Its steering provides good feedback, and the suspension maintains a comfortable ride over most surfaces. The brakes have good stopping power.

  • "The xDrive30i's brakes provide good pedal feel and are easy to modulate, but stopping distances could be shorter with performance tires." -- New York Daily News
  • "Fire up the engine and put the SUV into drive, and you'll quickly notice the steering is direct and engaging, with an appropriate amount of weight for easy parking and driving confidence at high speeds. This contributes to the sharp, sporty handling, which gives you a feeling of control and precision, and encourages you to search out curvy roads." -- Consumer Reports
  • "The suspension lets the X3 M40i take corners like a pro, and the standard all-wheel drive boasts a rearward bias to take the most advantage of the 50:50 weight distribution. The Driving Dynamics Control's Sport+ mode amps everything up, but it makes the steering too firm in our opinion. Luckily, the Individual mode lets you customize the settings." -- Kelley Blue Book

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