First Drive: 2022 BMW X3
BMW’s breadwinner gets a thorough update with appreciated improvements to the interior and technology
The X3 is among the most popular BMW products, but has featured a far less glamorous path to success than the brand’s other products. The 3 Series is part of the BMW lore that started with the old 2002 tii, while the executive sports-sedan 5 Series starred in movies like Ronin , and the 7 Series provided a limo-like ride since the late ’70s. The X3 made its mark by delivering on the boring stuff: practicality, efficiency, and value.
The X3 succeeds by delivering the tastes of those other products into one family-friendly luxury vehicle. For 2022, BMW’s breadwinner has received a hefty refresh with new exterior flourishes, an improved interior, and some powertrain bumps for specific models.
The exterior changes are subtle, but follow the trends set by other BMW products. The headlights have gone on a diet, going thinner but featuring bright LEDs. The thinner lights lead to a larger kidney grille , giving the X3 (and the related X4, which receives many of the same updates as the X3) a front profile that’s similar to the other X5 and X7.
The front bumper gets a new design too, and you can really identify this 2022 model with its triangular slits on the outer edge that serve as air intakes. The rear end is also redesigned with a new bumper and taillights. Those lights are far more evocative with a three-dimensional motif that make the vehicle’s rear profile stand out.
The cabin is where you’ll find the most appreciated updates. The brand’s latest interior design language finds its footing here with a redesigned centre console with a more logical and ergonomic layout for the buttons and switches along with a large infotainment controller. The reorganization of the buttons and switches leaves the dash looking clean and modern. The touch-screen spans 12.3 inches in our tester and feels responsive. I’m also a sucker for the optional BMW Live Cockpit Professional, a digital gauge cluster that feels high-tech and presents plenty of useful information at a glance.
Interior dimensions are identical to the outgoing model, meaning you’ll find a generous amount of headroom and a manageable amount of rear legroom. Cargo capacity measures in at 450 litres behind the rear seats, which expands to 1,500 litres with those rear seats folded. BMW also uses a 40/20/40 split, which is helpful when accommodating items of awkward sizes or shaped, as well as (awkward or not) passengers, at the same time.
Under the hood, things stay familiar. Most shoppers will opt for the 2.0L four-cylinder equipped xDrive30i version of the X3, which puts out 248 horsepower and 255 lb-ft of torque. A plug-in hybrid xDrive30e model is also offered, which pairs that motor with a 12 kWh battery and an electric motor to provide 29 km of emissions-free driving, and a combined output of 288 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque.