2018 BMW X3 30i - A very well rounded SUV
We recently purchased a BMW 30i (including, M package, Comfort package and the panoramic roof).
I spent a bit of time researching the options and felt that the familiar BMW dynamic was right for us. Certainly a very crowded segment and the BMW fully equipped was a bit of a stretch. I really felt that while the BMW wasn’t necessarily the best in all categories it was excellent when looking at each of my criteria. If there was a weakness it was that I was sitting taller in this vehicle than I was accustomed, but that was more a reflection of the move from a small sedan to an SUV. Certainly some of the vehicles I considered were better in some of the criteria but were let down in other aspects.
The BMW was, I thought, the most rounded choice. This was to some extent subjective. I have owned BMWs before and the cabin and driving dynamic is familiar. I was also looking for something which felt substantial and well planted for both urban and country longer distance driving. Some of the direct competitors were other BMWs. The X1 or X2 options were appealing as they was cheaper and more car like, but I didn’t find their cabins as comfortable or as well equipped. I also considered the X3 30d which was really excellent, but I couldn’t justify stumping up the extra money and diesel was a bit of an unknown quantity. Similarly the extra for the X3 M40 was hard to justify as an everyday driver.
So I opted for a very well equipped 30i. This is a petrol option. I like a car that has a little bit of a sporty edge - something which is nimble, solid and has a bit of grunt when I need it. I haven’t been disappointed. The 30i is more than adequate in a performance sense. I like that I can change the personality of the car via BMWs profiles I can jump from comfort (which is great for most driving needs) to sport (which tightens up suspension and changes the steering and automatic gear box). Part of the M package brings crucial improvements such as sports brakes and adaptive dampers - well worth having. I also like the changes that the M package brings to the external styling - especially in Alpine White.
There seemed to be different impressions of the ride quality by various reviewers. My own impression has been of a very quiet, comfortable ride and I found this was the case even in X3s not equipped with adaptive dampers. The ride quality was in my view a real strength of the driving experience. Interior space is also excellent especially for the front seats, but really the rear seats and cargo space are very substantial too. Fuel consumption has also been good running at about 8.3 per 100km combined.
As you will undoubtedly read the BMW infotainment system is the best on the market and that has certainly been our experience. The larger touch screen combined with the idrive knob, and steering wheel controls provides easy access for the driver and the interface is very intuitive. The driver assistance technologies are also outstanding - park assist, active cruise control, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring and autonomous driving. From a purely subjective point of view I think the external and internal appearance / styling and quality are excellent.
Competitors I considered were Mercedes, Porsche, Audi, VW, Volvo and Mazda. I also had a look at Hyundai - was impressed with their SUV offerings and warranties.
Two Months Into Ownership
Always good to provide a progressive report on my impressions after having had the car for a bit longer.
I have really enjoyed driving the X3 30i. I have been doing more city driving than country driving on balance, but did about 1000km on an interstate trip too.
This is a wonderfully versatile vehicle. I really found the long distance travel to be very comfortable, quiet and the performance for cruising and overtaking etc was excellent. Fuel consumption in the country was mid 7 litres per 100km - pretty good. The driving aids are also handy especially the active cruise control and the heads up display which both help to manage the driving experience.
Around the city I am getting fuel consumption in the high 10 litre per 100km range, but this depends on the sort of city driving I am doing and how I drive. I can get down around 10 if I try. Combined my computer shows 9.6 litres per 100km.
As a city vehicle this car has been excellent. I have great visibility and the dimensions aren’t too big so parking hasn’t been a problem. Also the camera view provides really good visibility around the vehicle. I haven’t really used the parking assist but will try this and see how it goes.
Certainly drives well in the city easy to manoeuvre and punchy when needed. Great for carrying people - plenty of space and comfortable. Recommend the heated seats on cold winter mornings.
A great car - hasn’t missed a beat.
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