The BMW X3 is a compact luxury crossover SUV that has been around since 2003. Now in its third generation, BMW has launched the x3 xdrive30e version of the car as it ramps up its PHEV offering throughout its current range. How does the xdrive30e plug-in hybrid shape up?
The BMW x3 xdrive30e has an electric motor that is supposed to offer a range of up to 32 miles. This is a bit of an overstatement by BMW even if the SUV delivers this under test conditions. In the real world, expect up to 22 miles at best and even a bit less in electric mode if you need to go up and down hills. 450 miles is the maximum range to expect when the electric motor is combined with the petrol engine. A 12kWh lithium-ion battery is supplied with every BMW x3 xdrive30e.
A full charge for the X3 using a 7kW charging connection will take just a couple of hours so it is practical to charge up in the evening or even during the day while you are at the office. A 3.7 kW wall box would take a little over three hours to fully charge up.
Providing a combined fuel economy of 134.5 MPG on the road, the four-cylinder, four-wheel drive is cheap to run if you don't take it off-roading. This is especially the case if it is used for cross-town journeys that don't exceed the electric range of the BMW x3 xdrive30e very often.
Full charge cost: Expect to pay just 65 pence for the electricity you use to charge the BMW x3 xdrive30e which would equate to just under two pence per mile in electric mode.
The electric power output of the X3 means it sits in insurance groups 38 and 39, cheaper than an xDrive30d, for example.
BMW provides a three-year warranty with unlimited mileage on all its vehicles, including it electric cars. It is good to know that the 30e comes with an additional warranty for its battery which is covered for a six-year period or up to 60,000 miles.
The servicing schedule of the BMW x3 xdrive30e will vary according to the number of miles you drive. One service per year will suit most drivers unless they are in their call all day, every day.
Road tax is included in the price, to begin with, but is set at £10 thanks to the low CO2 emissions of the car. The cost is £145 per year afterwards. For company car drivers, the tax liability of the benefit in kind (BIK) rate is 12 per cent as of 2020-21.
The BMW x3 xdrive30e is capable of achieving a speed of 62 mph from a standing start in just 6.1 seconds. The xdrive has a top speed of 131 mph.
Comparisons and alternatives: The x2 25e model of the xdrive has a top speed of 121 mph. It takes a little longer to get to 62 mph. Alternatively, you could compare the 30e to the diesel models it sits with. For example, the xLine BMW X3 Xdrive30 diesel will top out at 152.2 mph from its 254 BHP engine.
The basic driving modes of the BMW x3 xdrive 30e are Sport, Comfort and Eco Pro. You can adjust each through the car's menu system. To drive all-electric, you need to select eDrive and then Max eDrive. Overall, the various drive modes are complicated. Most owners will settle for auto eDrive since this allows the car to choose the best blend of electric and petrol power. However, if you take the time to review all of the economy and other driving modes, then you can get tailor them to your personal circumstances quite easily.
Economical features: If you want to drive with the economy as your top priority, then select Eco mode and then Max eDrive. Alternatively, you can set the e30 to run in such a way that battery charge is maintained, something you adjust via the battery control option on the menu.
How it performs in different environments: This is a good car for nipping across cities where there will be a lot of stopping and starting in traffic, thanks to the efficiency of the electric motor and the low CO2 emissions. When you are on the open road, the SUV really comes into its own, however, and the weight of the car is barely noticeable when handing it at faster speeds. Even with standard road tyres, the BMW X3 will cope well with modest off-roading thanks to the car's four-wheel-drive system. The eight-speed automatic gearbox also makes transitioning from one environment to the next easy, something you cannot say of all plug-in hybrids, of course.
The BMW x3 xdrive30e looks just like any other BMW X3 of the current generation. The plugin hybrid power port is the only giveaway that the car partially runs on electric power at all.
There is little to say about the external features of the BMW x3 xdrive30e. The M Sport model is supposed to have some more aerodynamic styling but this is not necessarily noticeable at first sight. You do get adaptive headlights with the SE model and xLine models come with Y-spoke alloy wheels as well as an aluminium trim.
The three variants of the 30e on offer from BMW are the M Sport, the SE and the xLine models. Optional packs are available for every BMW x3 xdrive30e and some affect the driving experience, such as Driving Assistant and Parking Assistant Plus. The only one that impacts the look of the plug-in hybrid is BMW's Sun Protection Glazing pack, however.
The dash of the x3 xdrive30e is fairly conventional with no great surprises. There is a handy rotary knob you can reach with ease with your left hand while still keeping control of the wheel. Climate control functions are accessed manually through the dashboard rather than the infotainment console which means they can be used more intuitively while driving.
BMW has a Live Cockpit Plus system that comes as standard with the SE and xLine 30e models which runs through the infotainment console. You get an 8.8-inch central touchscreen with the SUV which runs the entire infotainment system. Bluetooth connectivity, a DAB radio and Apple CarPlay, as well as Android Auto, are all among the features. You will also get a satnav which offers real-time traffic updates, as you should expect from cars of this class. The M Sport version of the car has a larger infotainment screen and a further screen behind the wheel.
A powered tailgate comes as standard with the plug-in hybrid SUV. BMW also gives you heated front seats as well as a climate control system that has three separate zones. A full-colour heads-up display is also available as an option.
There is plenty of room in the BMW X3, something you can not say of all plug-in hybrids. The overhead room provides lots of space and there are storage compartments in all four doors of the car. In the front, the glove box is of a standard size so it is fair to review the storage space in the back and the front as roomy but nothing to write home about.
The boot of the BMW 30e is sizeable enough although its battery necessarily means that it is smaller than a conventional X3. You still get a very practical 450 litres of room in the hybrid car. However, this soon rises to 1,500 litres when you fold the rear seats down. Helpfully, the rear seats drop in a 40:20:40 ratio which means the xdrive is a vehicle that is good for moving people as well as larger loads. Watch out for the slightly awkward lip that BMW has left in the rear of the boot, however, a result of it being a hybrid, because it makes loading a little trickier.
The latest version of the xdrive X3 has not yet been assessed by Euro NCAP. However, the 2017 version of both the BMW X3 and X4 cars received five stars from the European testing authority and it is likely that the car will get a similarly strong result after it is launched in May 2021.
Features like lane-departure warning and the autonomous emergency braking are standard with the hybrid. You also get parking sensors plus a rear-view camera as standard. Adaptive cruise control with a 'stop-go' functionality is an optional extra, however. Further optional extras include a Driving Assistant pack which means you will get steering and lane-changing assistance as well as a crossroad manoeuvring assistant.
Based on the driving experience of the eight-speed automatic gearbox hybrid BMW has produced, the price tag of £48,345 means you get a lot of car for your money. A top of the range BMW M Sport model will set you back £54,595. Bear in mind, however, that this is before you consider any optional extras. Given this sport utility vehicle provides excellent fuel economy and lower than average CO2 output, you might be very tempted by it, especially if you want a company car. However, if you want a hybrid that offers 30 miles or more of pure electric range before you need to switch to traditional fuel, the x3 xdrive30e may not be for you. That said, BMW's commitment to interior design and engine quality means that many reviews will point out just what a strong performer this hybrid is for the price. By comparison, the Mercedes GLC 300e, also an electric hybrid, has an entry-level price of £49,617.