For those like us who have been disappointed in the most recent batch of BMWs, which have seemingly forsaken driving verve, we’ve got good news: The verve is back! Surprisingly, it’s back not in the form of a BMW sedan but in the all-new X3 crossover. Poised for success with a dual-purpose nature, it should appeal to luxury-crossover shoppers and enthusiast drivers alike. The standard—we couldn’t possibly call it “base”—xDrive30i model comes with a sweet turbocharged four-cylinder, standard all-wheel drive, and a premium cabin. Power-hungry buyers will want to try the X3 M40i, which utilizes BMW’s brilliant turbocharged inline-six to muscle its way down the road. Technologically speaking, the new X3 is head and shoulders above the model that it replaces, offering both a modernized iDrive infotainment system and a host of available active safety features.
What’s New for 2018?
BMW’s compact crossover is all new from the ground up for 2018, and it’s much improved compared with its previous generation. The X3 is one of the better-driving BMWs currently available and we’re hoping this return to driving enthusiasm carries over to other new mainstream—read “non–M Performance division”—BMWs coming down the pike.
Trims and Options We’d Choose
As much as we’d love to spring for the X3 M40i with its 355-hp turbocharged inline-six, the X3 xDrive30i is the better value and will still appeal to enthusiast drivers with its playful demeanor. We’d start with the midrange Luxury Design trim and add the Premium package, which includes a number of niceties such as:
• Navigation with real-time traffic and weather updates
• Larger 10.3-inch infotainment display
• Head-up display
• Heated front seats and steering wheel
All-wheel drive is standard, so there’s no need to pay extra for its sure-footedness in inclement weather. We would, however, add the optional adaptive suspension—called Dynamic Damper Control—for $1000, which provides three different modes to tailor the X3’s ride to driving conditions. Our X3 rolls off the showroom floor wearing a $52,845 price tag; if you’re interested in a color other than white or black, add $550 to the bottom line.