For luxury vehicles, the compact SUV represents the heart of the market. Just about every luxury brand has one of these right-sized five-seat crossovers or SUVs. Combining an elevated seating position with wagon-like utility, deluxe interiors, and standard or available all-wheel drive, it’s not surprising that compact crossovers (which really aren’t so compact) have become immensely popular. For families that don’t need a third row of seating, the compact category is a great place to start. The sheer number of vehicles in this auto segment is a good indication of just how popular compact luxury SUVs have become.
While none are truly bad, some are obviously better than others. A special few are good enough that we enjoy driving them even when we don’t need the space. These upscale family haulers live at an appealing intersection of affordability, city-friendly sizing, and style in the crossover and SUV realm, and established players such as the BMW X3 run the gamut from sporty and sophisticated to soft and luxurious.
The X3 receives a refresh to its styling for 2022, which includes a revised grille, new headlamps and taillamps, updated front and rear bumpers, new wheel designs, and tweaked exhaust tips. The base X3 is now available with an M Sport appearance package which dresses it up to look similar to the racier M40i model. The M40i gains a 48-volt hybrid system for 2022 but the combined horsepower remains the same 382 as the 2021 model. The plug-in hybrid xDrive30e has been discontinued.
Inside, the center console has been reworked and some secondary controls have been repositioned. While a 10.3-inch infotainment display and a matching digital gauge display are still standard, BMW now offers 12.3-inch upgrades for both.
With the 2022 BMW X3, practicality meets luxury sportiness. This beauty stands above the competition, including the Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class and Volvo XC60, for the driving characteristics included in the BMW. The X3 brings the perfect blend of fun, sportiness, luxury, and versatility into one vehicle. We deep dive into six reasons why this luxury SUV is one that many enjoy driving.
Connectivity Made Simple
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When it comes to a BMW, typically you would hear about the engines and performance aspects of it before anything else, but not with the BMW X3. The infotainment system in this SUV, also known as iDrive, makes it exceptionally user-friendly and perfect for your long drives when you just want to jam to old tunes and have a good time with your friends and family. What’s more? You can control the system with the buttons on the steering wheel and the rotary iDrive controller in the center console. The best part? This system upgrades remotely when new features are released so you can enjoy the latest offerings without even lifting a finger.
Increased Hybrid Energy
The BMW X3 M40i model adds a 48-volt mild-hybrid system to the 2022 version. While this doesn’t add any horsepower to the entire system, it improves the quickness, creating impressive sprint speeds for this SUV. This means you’ll have 382 horsepower at your disposal that sends this SUV to 60 mph in only 4.4 seconds. That’s pretty quick for a compact SUV model.
Not only do you get fantastic engine choices that create superb acceleration, but you also get brakes that are easy to modulate with this SUV. Coming to a panic stop should make the driver feel pretty safe, as the X3 can get from 60 to 0 mph in just a few seconds.
The Best Driver Seat View
The view from the driver’s seat is nothing short of vast. The roof is quite tall, and the pillars are relatively slender, so you can see quite a lot from the front, rear, and even the sides. There are short headrests for the rear seats, which helps to keep them from getting in the way of your view from the rear-view mirror. Adjust the driver’s seat as needed for an even better view – it is quite easy to do with the seat’s wide array of power adjustability.
3-D Printed Cylinder Head
We know the traditional engine layout of the BMW X3 is an inline-6, but what you might not know is how BMW makes the cylinder heads. Part of the heads for the X3 M version is 3D-printed to improve performance for this luxury SUV model. In fact, the performance levels found in the 2022 version of the X3 were not achievable using traditional production methods.
A Luxury Base Model
Even the base model of the BMW X3 SUV brings you plenty of equipment and qualities to enjoy. This includes:
- 10-way power-adjustable front seats
- Reclining rear seats
- A woodgrain trim
- Two-tone interior materials
- Stitched faux leather for the dashboard
In addition to luxe interiors, you’ll also find 28.7 cubic feet of cargo room behind the rear seats of this luxury SUV. This area expands to 62.7 cubic feet with the rear seats down.
Track-ready For A Quick Competition
The Competition model of the BMW X3 M takes the strength of the M-version of this SUV and amplifies it. You’ll have an engine with more power, going from 473 to 503 horsepower, a set of 21-inch alloy wheels, and an active exhaust system. These features bring this SUV to a level that allows it to rip off some fast laps at the track, leaving many sports cars in the dust!
A Relatively Affordable Starting Price
When you think of luxury vehicles, you expect to spend a lot of money, but the 2022 BMW X3 sDrive30i starts at around $43,000 (a steal if you ask us!) This price is competitive with many SUVs in the mainstream market and one of the lowest prices in the luxury compact crossover SUV class. The Audi Q5 begins at $45,000, while the Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class requires $53,000 to get in the door.
So, Is the BMW X3 the Best Compact Luxury SUV?
Do you need room for five people to sit comfortably? Do you want dynamic performance in the SUV you drive? If so, the BMW X3 is an excellent option for you to have the drive you want from BMW.
While delivering luxury and practicality, the 2022 BMW X3 SUV also channels sports sedans from BMW’s past and blends fun into the equation. Its balanced chassis and well-tuned steering make it a surprisingly willing partner on a twisty road, and both of its available turbocharged powertrains—either a four- or six-cylinder—provide plenty of power. The X3’s cabin is comfortable and upscale.
BMW has incorporated plenty of tech into the X3, including two digital dashboard displays as well as a host of driver-assistance features. Overall, the X3 is well-rounded but it’s the agile handling and gutsy turbo engines that make it one of the best compact luxury SUVs in the market today!