2022 BMW X3 Review Update

Beverly Braga, Independent Expert | Nov 11, 2021

Introduction - Find the best BMW deals!

The X3 is BMW’s best-selling model in the United States and a top seller worldwide. Since 2010, the luxury compact crossover SUV has been built in South Carolina at BMW Spartanburg—the brand’s first assembly plant outside of Germany and now its largest production facility globally.

 Last redesigned for the 2018 model year, the BMW X3 and its coupe-like twin, the X4, receive a mid-cycle refresh for 2022. The updates are important, particularly in the design department, to bring the X3 more visually aligned with other recently updated BMW models.

Changes for the 2022 BMW X3 include:

  • New 48-volt mild-hybrid powertrain (6-cylinder only)
  • New exterior colors and wheel options
  • Refreshed exterior styling
  • Updated interior design
  • New standard 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen
  • New cloud-based navigation
  • Expanded suite of advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS)

Another significant change to the 2022 X3 lineup is the discontinuation of the xDrive30e plug-in hybrid model (PHEV). The remaining trims are the X3 sDrive30i, xDrive30i, M40i, and high-performance X3 M, which is really in a separate class.

The sDrive30i and xDrive30i are powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, while the M40i receives a new mild-hybrid powertrain. The lone rear-wheel-drive model is the base sDrive30i. The rest of the 2022 X3 lineup is all-wheel-drive (AWD) only.

Previously, J.D. Power reviewed the 2018 BMW X3. This review focuses on the X3’s updates for 2022 and how they potentially impact its overall appeal to consumers.

What Owners Say About the BMW X3 - Find the best BMW deals!

2022 BMW X3 M40i Blue Front Quarter View

Photo: Beverly Braga

The BMW X3 competes in the Compact Premium SUV market segment. According to data collected from verified new-vehicle buyers for the J.D. Power 2021 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study, 60 percent of new BMW X3 buyers are male (vs. 53 percent for the segment), and the median age of an X3 buyer is 59 years (vs. 60).

As part of the APEAL Study, owners rated the X3 in 10 primary categories. Listed below in descending order, you’ll find their preferences from their most favorite thing about the vehicle to their least favorite:

  • Exterior styling
  • Driving feel
  • Powertrain
  • Feeling of safety
  • Interior design
  • Getting in and out
  • Driving comfort
  • Setting up and starting
  • Infotainment system
  • Fuel economy

In the 2021 APEAL Study, the X3 ranks third out of 12 Compact Premium SUV models.

What Our Independent Expert Says About the BMW X3 - Find the best BMW deals!

In the sections that follow, our independent expert provides an analysis of a 2022 X3 M40i equipped with the following options:

  • Metallic paint finish
  • Genuine leather upholstery
  • Front and rear heated seats
  • M Sport differential
  • 20-inch M design wheels
  • Premium package

The price of the test vehicle came to $64,290, including the $995 destination charge.

Addition of Mild-Hybrid Powertrain

2022 BMW X3 M40i Infotainment Screen

Photo: Beverly Braga

Although the X3 xDrive30e PHEV is no longer available, now standard for M40i models is a new mild-hybrid system. Pairing a 48-volt starter-generator with a battery, the system recoups energy when the vehicle decelerates, even shutting down the engine during coasting. The benefits are improved fuel efficiency, smoother start-stop operation, and an extra 11 horsepower. The power boost is only available from a standing stop or during situations that intermediate sprints, such as passing.

Year-over-year fuel economy numbers, however, do not jive with the mild-hybrid system’s touted perks. Based on J.D. Power research, this is a point of contention with X3 buyers who list fuel efficiency as the vehicle’s worst attribute. The 2021 X3 has an EPA fuel-economy rating of 21 mpg city, 27 mpg highway, and 23 mpg combined. Outfitted with the same 3.0-liter turbocharged 6-cylinder plus the mild-hybrid system, the 2022 X3 sees no fuel economy improvement. Instead, it drops one mpg on the highway.

To be fair, updates to the 2022 X3 do add some weight. Also, keep in mind that the X3 is a global product that must meet emissions standards in other markets, and mild-hybrid systems could help meet those requirements. Yet, one can’t help but be disappointed that the updated X3 isn’t more efficient from a fuel consumption standpoint.

Updated Exterior Styling

The 2022 BMW X3 features revised exterior and interior styling. According to verified buyers, its overall design is what gravitated them to the X3. Exterior style tops the list of what owners like most about their vehicle, while interior design places fifth. BMWs aren’t known for wearing flashy ensembles but instead lean more toward a polished, clean-cut look. For 2022, the X3 features exterior enhancements that continue on that “professional” persona.

In the front, the signature kidney grille is larger than the previous model but not entirely on the all-grille-or-nothing level occurring with stablemates the 3 Series and 4 Series. Fans of the X3 will appreciate the updated model’s evolutionary growth in the grin department.

The newly standard adaptive front headlights are full-LED and minimized by 0.4 inches. This slight squint paired with new vertical air intakes and a new bumper creates a slimming effect throughout the front fascia. The rear LED taillights also have been redone to follow through with the slenderizing horizontal treatment of the headlights. Finishing touches include new exhaust tips and a rear bumper.

New metallic colors for 2022 are Brooklyn Grey and Tanzanite Blue II, which replace the discontinued Glacier Silver and Sunstone. For X3 sDrive30i and xDrive30i models, a dark-themed M Sport package adds larger front air intakes, a more prominent rear diffuser, a sport rear bumper, and two more side air curtains. Checking the box for the Shadowline package swaps out the standard grille frame, grille inserts, window frames, roof rails, and new-for-2022 headlight inserts for a high-gloss black finish. For the X3 M40i, a new 21-inch wheel package is now available.

A new 19-inch wheel is available, which BMW claims is aerodynamically optimized. Featuring a removable plastic insert, this unique piece is said to increase the surface area of the wheel, which, in turn, smooths the airflow and leads to better aerodynamics. Coupled with 15-percent weight savings versus the standard aluminum wheel, BMW says this special feature will increase fuel economy while minimizing CO2 emissions.

Revamped Interior

2022 BMW X3 M40i Interior Dashboard

Photo: Beverly Braga

Likewise, the interior of the X3 is noticeably more upscale and redesigned to match the rest of the BMW lineup. The center console, which now features a new, standard 10.25-inch touchscreen, is modeled after the 4 Series. The controls for climate and audio have been swapped, with push-button and rocker-style functions for air conditioning and heated seats repositioned directly below the air vents.

The lower console area where the gear shifter and BMW iDrive controller knob are located have been redesigned in a layout similar to that of the 3 Series. Buttons are rearranged, and materials have been updated. A matte finish replaces the easy-to-smudge gloss black, and the knob ring features a new, non-slip design pattern.

The standard Sport seats are upholstered in perforated SensaTec synthetic leather. Premium genuine Vernasca leather is available starting on xDrive30i models and above. The ambient lighting system also has been updated. Featuring 11 combinations, owners can customize the cabin ambiance from the moment you enter the vehicle to when you exit. The ambiance feature includes a night-driving mode for the instrument cluster as well.

New Infotainment and Driver Information Displays

BMW’s in-car technology offerings are robust. While tech types will favor that approach, others will find the ever-customizable screens and connectivity options overwhelming. And many X3 owners fall into the latter category, listing the vehicle’s infotainment system as its second-to-worst characteristic.

BMW is undoubtedly aware of this. As the company continually improves its tech systems, there are also redundancies so consumers can use controls with which they are most comfortable. Owners can manage most, if not all, in-car functions via the steering-wheel-mounted buttons, gesture controls, center console/iDrive controller dial, or voice commands with BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant.

New for 2022 is BMW Live Cockpit Plus with iDrive 7 telematics. A new 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen and full-color 5.1-inch instrument panel display manage the standard systems. The new multimedia system includes navigation, Amazon Alexa integration, two USB ports, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and a seemingly endless list of digital services, including live content, real-time traffic updates, emergency service, and a range of compatible third-party apps. Also featuring Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, drivers can access connected information, such as Google Maps, within the optional head-up display.

When opting for the available BMW Live Cockpit Professional, the infotainment and IP displays are upgraded to high-resolution, fully digital 12.3-inch screens. In addition to expanded customization capabilities, the Live Cockpit Pro adds a 3D vehicle view option within the IP and upgrades the navigation to a new cloud-based system.

Independent Expert Opinion - Find the best BMW deals!

2022 BMW X3 M40i Blue Rear Quarter View

Photo: Beverly Braga

The BMW X3 is a likable character. It looks good, drives well, earns top marks in safety, and has more technology than you’ll ever need. While its high points (e.g., exterior design, driving feel, and powertrains) will again receive praise, the bottom of the barrel (e.g., fuel economy and infotainment) continue to struggle.

Considering that infotainment functionality is largely subjective, the 2022 X3 does disappoint in fuel economy. To its credit, the X3 does sit in the middle of the segment regarding fuel economy, but with the addition of a mild-hybrid system, I expected its mpg numbers to improve, not worsen.

On a positive note, the mild-hybrid operation was not intrusive at all while driving the M40i. The vehicle is already plenty powerful thanks to its turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6. Output is 382 hp and 369 pound-feet of torque, but the extra 11-hp boost off the line makes the X3 M40i feel even quicker than its 4.4-second zero-to-60 mph rating. Even when already at speed, a blip of the gas pedal will quickly propel you around traffic. Compared to the xDrive30i, although both are AWD, the M40i proved the more solid companion when test driving through canyon roads.

Circling back to the infotainment and in-car controls, repositioning of drive functions and telematic buttons within the iDrive controller island did make adjustments and one-touch access more intuitive. The updated grip on the commander dial was another welcome update. It still has a cheap plasticky feel, but managing the touchscreen display without actually touching the screen was pretty easy.

The updated interior is comfortable and on the nice side of spartan. While some competitors focus on flourishes, the X3 gives everything a purpose. You won’t be noticing something three months later and think, “Oh, I wonder what this button does.”

And that’s partly why the BMW X3 remains as popular as it is. The SUV is polished, poised, and practical. There is no need to reinvent itself. And its mid-cycle refresh merely showcases why it’s a safe and intelligent bet for luxury crossover shoppers.

Beverly Braga is a freelance writer and consultant with nearly 20 years of experience as a storyteller and communications professional. In addition to JDPower.com, her work has appeared in numerous print and digital outlets covering the automotive, entertainment, lifestyle, and food & beverage industries.

The opinions expressed in this review are the author’s own, not J.D. Power’s.

No portion of these reviews may be reproduced, distributed, publicly displayed, or used for a derivative work without J.D. Power’s written permission. © 2022 J.D. Power

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