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2019 BMW X3 Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 8.4

The 2019 BMW X3 delivers just about everything you could want from a crossover SUV. Both engines feel energetic, and it handles well. Despite this athleticism, the X3 rides smoothly and gets good gas mileage for the class.

  • "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 (2018)
  • "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 (2018)
  • "EPA-estimated gas mileage … is competitive with the class. Over some 360 miles of mostly highway driving, I hit the highway rating on the dot." -- Cars.com (2018)

Acceleration and Power

The BMW X3 features a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 248 horsepower. It's mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. This engine provides more than enough juice to move this small crossover in any driving situation.

The performance-oriented X3 M40i trim comes with a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine that produces 355 horsepower. You really feel all that extra power when you hit the gas, and according to BMW, the M40i will go from zero to 60 mph in just 4.6 seconds.

The X3 earns an EPA-estimated 23 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. Those ratings make the X3 one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles in the class.

  • "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 (2018)
  • "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 (2018)
  • "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 (2018)

Handling and Braking

The X3's sharp steering and nimble handling combine to make this SUV more fun to drive than many other luxury compact SUVs. But there's more to this BMW than just handling prowess; it rides comfortably over most road surfaces, and its high ground clearance makes it moderately capable for light off-roading. There are four selectable modes that alter driving dynamics to your liking. Rear-wheel drive comes standard, and all-wheel drive is available.

  • "The BMW X3 is among the top performers in its class for agile handling, too, thanks to the rear-biased all-wheel-drive system (AWD). New for 2019 is the return of a rear-wheel-drive (RWD) variant." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "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 (2018)
  • "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 (2018)
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