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What's New for 2018?
Now in its third generation, the BMW X3 is getting a special performance-oriented trim for 2018. The size of all 2018 BMW X3 models has increased, making the vehicle just slightly smaller than the next-step-up BMW X5. A new Luxury package visually updates the SUV's exterior with a chrome-accented grille and distinctive two-tone bumpers. The 2018 BMW X3 also features a touchscreen infotainment system for the first time.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2018 BMW X3 – The Pros
1. Impressive Powertrains
If you want power, the 2018 BMW X3 should be on your luxury SUV list. This year's model comes with two possible engines: a turbo-four that offers 248 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, and the M40i performance engine, a turbo-six providing 355 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. Each engine is combined with an eight-speed automatic transmission and standard all-wheel drive.
The base engine offers a 0 to 60 time of 6 seconds and a top speed of a blistering 130 miles per hour. If you opt for the M40i, get to 60 in just 4.6 seconds and enjoy a top speed of 150 mph. These numbers represent the highest performance currently available among midsize luxury crossovers.
2. Customizable Suspension
Both powertrains of the 2018 BMW X3 allow drivers to adjust the suspension based on their preferences and road conditions. The base trim, the xDrive30i, can be updated with a damper control function that automatically smooths bumps in the road and can be toggled between sport and standard settings. The M40i comes standard with sharp sport suspension that can be upgraded with adaptive functionality.
3. State-of-the-Art Interior Tech
Technology lovers will be impressed by the new high-resolution 10.3-inch touchscreen in the 2018 BMW X3. Drivers can opt to use the touchscreen with gesture recognition by simply waving their hands in front of it to perform key functions. An iDrive dial allows seamless, intuitive menu navigation, while the touchpad is also equipped to read your handwriting. A new information display is 75 percent larger than last year's model and features sharper, brighter graphics.
4. Plenty of Connectivity
The 2018 BMW X3 not only features Apple CarPlay connectivity, but can also be connected with an Apple or other smartwatches to provide fuel information and other key BMW data right on your wrist. Drivers will benefit from the brand's ParkNow app, which helps you find parking spaces and pay for them through the infotainment system.
5. Available Driver Assistance Tech
When it comes to high-end safety features, two expansive packages are available. The first level includes blind spot monitoring, lane departure and rear-cross traffic warnings, and pedestrian detection. Upgrade to the second level for all that plus smart cruise control, lane keep assistance, and both front and rear cross-traffic alert.
6. Premium Cabin
BMW is known for its unprecedented interior luxury, and the 2018 BMW X3 is no exception. This vehicle features soft yet supportive leather seats that remain comfortable even on the longest road trips. The cabin features outstanding attention to detail throughout, from the wrapped and stitched leather accents to the intuitive new dashboard layout.
7. Exceptional Cargo Space
The new longer shape of the 2018 BMW X3 provides class-leading cargo space of 28.7 cubic feet behind the rear seats and an incredible 62.7 cubic feet when the second row is folded flat. A 60-40 split fold allows for added flexibility to accommodate passengers, packages, and gear.
8. Class-Exclusive Towing Features
If you want a luxury SUV with a two-inch trailer hitch, the 2018 BMW X3 is currently the only one on the market. This unique feature affords the SUV a towing capacity of up to 4,400 pounds, making it the high-end crossover of choice for camping enthusiasts and other weekend warriors. What's more, the X3 is equipped for off-roading with sharp ascent and descent angles, hill descent control, and ground clearance of eight inches.
9. Available Turbodiesel Model
Later in 2018, BMW will introduce a turbodiesel trim for this crossover: the X3 xDrive 30d. The 3.0-liter engine on this new model will provide drivers with 261 hp and 457 lb-ft of torque, outstanding performance with expected exceptional fuel efficiency.
10. High Safety Ratings
While the 2018 BMW X3 has not yet undergone crash tests, it's expected to meet or exceed the excellent performance of the 2017 model. Last year's X3 has a five-star overall safety rating from the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration and the highest rating in four out of five categories from the Insurance Institute on Highway Safety.
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Reasons Not to Buy a 2018 BMW X3 – The Cons
1. Technology Oversights
The 2018 X3 is one of the few vehicles in its class to include just two USB ports. While Apple CarPlay is an option, it's not standard as in most competitors. Android Auto is not currently offered in the BMW X3.
How it Stacks up to the Competition
Last year's BMW X3 was named the best luxury SUV for families by U.S. News and World Report, and the 2018 model is expected to offer even more for those who want comfort and convenience in a rugged yet elegant package. While the biggest competitor of the 2018 X3 is the Audi Q5, the BMW offers more cargo space, better fuel economy, and higher predicted reliability. Drivers who prioritize luxury over performance might prefer the Mercedes-Benz GLC, while those who prefer an expansive interior and improved fuel economy should consider the Jaguar F-Pace.
With few drawbacks and outstanding reviews across the board, the BMW X3 is by far one of the best choices for luxury SUV shoppers. The SUV's 2018 redesign pushes the already-excellent vehicle to the front of this very competitive market.
• Why buy a 2017 BMW X3? w/ pros vs cons