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  • Writer's pictureDavid Chao



The BMW X3 xDrive30e is the third Sports Activity Vehicle in its model range to offer a plug-in hybrid drive and power transmission to all four wheels. While the X3 has been BMW’s top-selling compact SUV for many years, this hybrid version debuted in 2019. It’s luxurious and yet sporty, and offers just the right balance of comfort and performance. While the hybrid X3 does have a few strong competitors such as the Volvo XC60 T8, Mercedes GLC 350e and the Audi Q5 55 TFSI e, it has a strong following and updated and maybe even cutting edge technology make it worth a look.


When it comes to comfort and design, the X3 line up has never been a disappointment. Keep in mind that while the X3 is packed full of excellent standard features, many of the newest tech options are – unfortunately - found on the optional features list. In 2021, BMW added such features as Android Auto compatibility (Apple CarPlay is already included) and Amazon Alexa.

One very interesting add-on for this vehicle is the “Ambient Air Package” ($500). 8 uniquely created fragrances, belonging to four different themes, can be released into the vehicle to provide a pleasant fragrance. Two fragrances can be used alternately in the vehicle at a time, and the intensity can be chosen as well. While the fragrance is being released, air from the exterior is filtered, purified and ionized. The four themes include fresh water fragrances, fresh plant fragrances, warm/rich fragrances and natural fragrances.

The xDrive30e has no major design changes when compared with the base model. The only thing that sets it apart visually would be the charging flap found on the driver side front fender, and the visual dash display that includes hybrid information. As the xDrive30e has a silent pure electric mode, a Pedestrian Warning System was implemented that plays a tone for pedestrians so they are aware of your vehicle. It plays at speeds 30 km/h and under.


The engine in the xDrive30e is a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine that runs simultaneously with a plug-in 80kW hybrid motor. The total engine power amounts to 288 horsepower and 310 lb-ft. of torque. This vehicle is can hit 100 km/h in just about 6 seconds – not bad for supposedly a comfortable cruiser.

The high-voltage lithium-ion battery is infused with the very latest in battery technology and can run the vehicle using purely electric for distances up to 55 km. The power consumption of the battery is between 17.2 and 16.4 kWh per 100 km, a relatively small amount. One drawback is that it will take roughly 11.5-12 hours to fully charge the 12kWh battery using a standard 120 volt outlet. At a proper charging station, you should expect to need 3.5 hours for a full charge. If you somehow use up all of your electric capacity, the X3 will seamlessly switch back to a regular hybrid system with no input from the driver.

BMW’s xDrive system has always been cutting edge as it easily distributes drive torque between the front and rear wheels as required – even while using the electric motor on its own. This ensures that the X3 has superior agility and handling, even in adverse driving conditions or in rougher terrain.

Thanks to the xDrive30e’s hybrid turbo engine, it has absolutely zero turbo lag meaning that acceleration is punchy and fun, although a bit on the quieter side (most people may prefer this).

The 8-speed Steptronic Sports transmission allows for both manual and automatic shifting for a fully dynamic or relaxed driving experience. The variable Servotronic sport steering reduces the effort required to turn the wheel and allows for more fine-tuned dynamic handling. Overall, this BMW is a relaxed cruiser, with a minimal steering feedback from the road.

There are three eDrive driving modes to select from. The default mode is the Auto eDrive, which evaluates your driving style and switches to electric-only when leaving the garage, low-speed city cruising or at normal highway speed. Max eDrive is fully electric and meant for pure EV driving. If you must come to a sudden stop or acceleration, this mode will be overridden by the gas engine. The third option gives you the ability to set your own preference for electric-gasoline ratio usage. Above and beyond this is BMW’s other driving modes such as Comfort or Sport to customize your experience even further.

Using the electric engine alongside the intelligent 4-wheel xDrive system reduces average fuel consumption all the way down to between 2.1 and 2.4 litres/100km. If you are using both gasoline and electric, you are looking at a fuel consumption of 11 litres/100km in the city, and 8.6 litres/100 km on the highway.


There is only one trim level for this hybrid. If you want to soup up this vehicle, there are a number of additional packages you can purchase. If you want advanced safety technology, I would recommend adding on the Driver Assistance Package which includes the Driving Assistant Plus (stop-and-go traffic adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, automatic emergency brakes, forward collision warning) as well as Parking Assistant Plus (self-parking system).

Other add-on packages for the xDrive30e include the M Sport Package, Premium Package Essential or Enhanced, or the Ultimate Package which can be expensive.

With a starting price of $57,889, the BMW X3 xDrive30e is an excellent choice for someone who wants a well-built, luxurious, plug in hybrid SUV. Purchasing the xDrive30e PHEV will cost consumers several thousand dollars more than if they bought the gasoline-only option. However, you may be eligible for a rebate depending on your province. For the latest pricing and specification, please go and visit BMW’s official website at


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