The 2021 BMW X3 is one of BMW’s most affordable SUVs. Drivers applaud the X3 for its outstanding interior quality and excellent performance. Although this SUV isn’t built to be a serious off-road vehicle, BMW’s available AWD system does promote good traction in the snow. Let’s find out if the new X3 will prove to be a great investment.
What’s New for 2021?
For the first time, BMW has updated its iDrive infotainment system with Android Auto smartphone support. An Active Driving Assistant, which combines blind-spot warning and lane departure warning, also comes standard throughout the lineup.
What Styles Does It Come In?
The 2021 BMW X3 is a small crossover with room for five people. While a rear-wheel-drive setup is standard, a smart AWD system is optional.
What Trims Are Available?
BMW offers the new X3 in five different trims. The base sDrive30i is popular. It packs all of the necessary features to ensure a rewarding driving experience, including an 8.8-inch touchscreen with navigation. BMW’s Sensatec upholstery and 10-way power seats also come standard. While the X3 xDrive30i is similarly equipped, it adds all-wheel drive.
The X3 xDrive30e is a plug-in hybrid, which promotes additional fuel savings. It also receives an upgraded infotainment system with a larger 10.25-inch touchscreen, Furthermore, BMW swaps up the traditional analog gauges with a 12.3-inch digital cluster.
Drivers seeking more performance will enjoy the X3 M40i. Aside from packing more muscle under the hood, it also benefits from an adaptive sport suspension for enhanced cornering. A panoramic sunroof is another upgrade found on the X3 M40i.
Drivers seeking an SUV that truly handles and accelerates like a sports car will want the X3 M. It comes equipped with an even stronger engine and an active exhaust system. BMW also outfits the X3 M with a racy body kit. On the inside, this model receives leather-trimmed sports seats.
The X3’s Exterior Styling
The new 2021 BMW X3 shares many of the same signature styling cues seen on other BMW models. BMW’s famed twin-kidney grille helps the front fascia to stand out. Drivers who desire a more aggressive look can opt for BMW’s M Sport appearance package. It brings a subtle body kit and exclusive M wheels. Available 21-wheels give this crossover an especially athletic stance.
Drivers will enjoy using BMW’s iDrive infotainment system, which can be operated using an iDrive controller knob. With a little practice, most drivers will quickly get the hang of using the system. High-resolution graphics make this interface more appealing.
The big news for 2021 is that all trim levels finally receive Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, thus making the process of connecting a smartphone much simpler. A nice-sounding, 12-speaker audio system also comes standard. While a Wi-Fi hotspot isn’t standard, it can be added for an extra cost.
A total of four powertrain options are found in the X3’s lineup. The entry-level models receive a turbo four-cylinder engine, which has received multiple awards over the years. In the X3, it pushes out a solid 248 horsepower. While the X3 xDrive30e’s hybrid powertrain uses the same engine, an electric motor raises production to 288 horsepower. Drivers seeking pure performance can choose between the 355-horsepower M40i model and the 473-horsepower M model.
Great handling adds to the X3’s fun factor. Because the X3 feels so composed, many people forget they’re behind the wheel of an SUV. This is especially true for models equipped with a sport suspension. Good ground clearance also helps make the X3 a good performer on snowy roads.
Expect fuel economy to vary from one trim to the next. Estimates for models equipped with the base engine stand at an impressive 25 mpg town/29 mpg freeway. Even the powerful M40i model can deliver up to 27 mpg. Meanwhile, an all-electric driving range of 18 miles helps the hybrid model to conserve fuel.
Quality and Comfort
When designing the new X3, BMW did a fine job of space management. Although the 2021 BMW X3 is a compact model, it offers just as much legroom as some midsize SUVs. There’s also a rewarding 28.7 cubic feet of space in the X3’s rear cargo hold.
Quality is above average for the new X3. It has a premium feel that rivals that of a more expensive model. BMW’s standard Sensatec upholstery is luxurious.
Some thoughtful safety technologies come standard on the 2021 BMW X3. When traveling in the city traffic, drivers will appreciate the SUV’s low-speed automatic braking system. BMW’s previously mentioned Active Driving Assist is also now standard. High-speed adaptive cruise control and active lane control are optional.
The 2021 BMW X3 is a great entry-level luxury crossover. It’s plush and entertaining to drive. To see if the new X3 is right for you, visit your local dealer for a test drive.
Formula for Calculating Dealer Cost:
Total Dealer Cost - Rebate and Incentive + Taxes / Licensing Fees = True Dealer Cost. (You can get rebates and incentives here.)
Note: All BMW X3 MSRP, invoice and dealer cost dollar figures above are approximate amounts. Prices are subject to change without notice.
A note about rebates: Most rebates are subtracted from the "on the road" figure. In most cases, you can have the rebate if you are arranging your own financing or you are paying cash. If you decide to use the manufacturer’s low interest financing, you do not usually get the rebate. Ask your dealer for details.