2022 BMW X3 First Drive: New Design Details Make this Sporty SUV Even Better

2022 Bmw X3 Featured Image

The changes are subtle but very good.

When it comes to luxury compact SUVs, it’s hard to go wrong with the BMW X3, the brand’s best seller and a favorite SUV for performance and luxury car drivers. BMW puts all its performance smarts into this car, giving this small-ish 248 horsepower 4 cylinder turbo SUV a fun drive experience; it doesn’t feel like a normal-sized engine. Then, features like active damping, sport suspension and run flat tires give the X3 a precision feel that buyers flock to: You can have all the fun of a BMW in a capable all wheel drive SUV. Pretty nice, right?

And, for 2022 the X3 just got better, and get this– without a price increase over the 2021 model; base price is $47,500 for the X Drive all wheel drive model. That’s because BMW brought some of the better features from the M series into this car. Say “Hello BMW” to voice assist. Enjoy Active Drive Assist suite of driver assist and safety features standard. Hot buttons to instantly access your favorite features. And the screens: the 12.3” digital driver’s information screen and the 12.3” media screen are both updated and standard, and it’s all a good thing. 

Related: Looking at the last model year BMW X3? This is what it’s all about

Bmw X3 Front End

The front end of the 2022 BMW X3 looks familiar; the changes are subtle but elegant. Photo: Scotty Reiss

A Slightly New Look Inside and Out

The 2022 X3 has a familiar look and feel, so you’d be forgiven for not immediately noticing what’s new. And that’s the point; why mess with success? Overall the shape and size are the same. The front grille is the same—the familiar kidney grill that does not have the angular, toothy look to some of BMW’s other grilles. Seating is familiar and so is the command center that features the same gear selector and iDrive dial media controller. 

However, look closely and you’ll see new tail lights, new front headlights and lower level air vents. The X3 has new wheels with run-flat tires for 2022. And on the rear you’ll see chrome exhaust pipes that are actual exhaust pipes, not simply tips that imply exhaust but don’t channel fumes to the outside. 

Related: Need 3 rows? Take a look at the BMW X7

The Rear Seat Bmw X3 Are Comfortable And Amply Sized But The Space Is Not Huge

The rear seats in the BMW X3 are comfortable and amply sized but the space is not huge. Photo: Scotty Reiss

A Refined Interior with 5 Series Details 

Inside you’ll see a more refined interior. It comes with standard leatherette—now perforated and vented for a sporty look and welcome feel in hot weather—and in our test model, Oyster leather upholstery, a long time fan favorite. 

New to the interior are the 12.3” multimedia display with some great new graphics and the ability to customize the screen and a new climate control panel first seen in the 5 series. Under the climate control buttons is a panel of buttons, 8 in all, that allow you to set up a selection of favorite functions— from climate settings and radio stations to navigation destinations and vehicle settings— that can be accessed quickly with the tap of the button.

Our test model had a panoramic sunroof, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and what is probably my favorite new feature: Voice Assist. This feature can be turned off, and for now its features are a bit limited, but that promises to expand as the system advances.  

Related: Is the BMW X3 the most popular luxury car in your zip code?

The Interior In The Bmw X3 M40I Features Some Of The Same Elegant Details As The 5 Series

The interior in the BMW X3 M40i features some of the same elegant details as the 5 Series. Photo: Scotty Reiss

All Things M For X3 Drivers

Sometimes it feels like BMW might be the ultimate customization machine. It can be difficult to keep track of all the iterations of engines, designs, models and more. But of course, having things the way you want them is the nature of luxury. Why drive the same car as everyone else if you don’t have to?

And the X3 is no different. There are lots of additions and packages that allow buyers to customize this SUV. From the base model X3 30i buyers can add M Sport packaging and details, or upgrade to the X3 M40i, which has a 6 cylinder turbo engine with 382 horsepower and 369 torque, all wheel drive and a mild hybrid system to enhance performance without dinging fuel economy. The X3 M40i, with standard M sport features and performance, adds about $7,000 the price of the car.

The Rear Tail Light Is Dintinct On The 2022 Mbw X3

The rear tail light has distinct 3D look on the 2022 BMW X3. Photo: Scotty Reiss

What This Car Costs

  • Our X3 30i test model, in the newest color, Brooklyn Gray, featured: 
    • 30i engine with X drive all wheel drive, a 4 cylinder turbo engine, multiple drive modes, adaptive cruise control, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, smart key, digital drivers screen, sport seats, power tail gate, Connected Package with real time traffic, on street parking info and BMW remote services and Active Driving Assistant with lane departure warning, speed limit information blind spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, rear collision preparation, has a base price of $47,500
    • Brooklyn Grey paint, $550
    • M Sport package adds unique bumpers with larger air intake vents, M sport brakes in blue or red, 19″ wheels and gloss black details, $4,100
    • Premium Package adds heated steering wheel, head up display, gesture control, $1,850
    • M Sport package adds roof rails, M Steering wheel and aluminum trim $1,550
    • Front and rear heated seats, $350 
    • Add Oyster leather, $1,450
    • Price of our test model with $995 destination charge, $57,590
See Who Is Not Buckled In The 2022 Bmw X3!

I loved this feature: a safety light on the dashboard tells you who is not buckled!. Photo: Scotty Reiss

  • Our X3 M40i test model featured: 
    • A 48V mild hybrid system, adaptive suspension, sport seats, sport steering, M Sport brakes, suspension and steering wheel and a starting price of $57,800
    • Premium package with heated steering wheel, head up display, and gesture control, $1,600
    • M Sport differential, $1,300
    • Carbon fiber trim, $300
    • Heated front and rear seats, $350
    • Price of this model with $995 destination charge, $64,990
Graphics On The Media Screen Enhance Your Understanding Of What Various Systems Do

Graphics on the media screen enhance your understanding of what various systems do. Photo: Scotty Reiss

The Drive Feel: All BMW, Thankfully

Even at the X3 30i level, this car feels powerful and capable. And it is. I got to take a spin in both the X3 30i and the X3 M40i, which has a louder, throatier engine sound. Both offer multiple drive modes and paddle shifters, so you can get your sport driving fix when you need to, or you can relax and enjoy the crisp, elegant cabin and driver assist features. Buyers with the budget who prefer the true BMW DNA would be happier with the M40i for it’s faster acceleration, louder engine and track-worthy capability; but if simply getting around town in an elegant and sporty SUV is the goal, the X3 30i is competent and capable. And now, just a bit fancier.

Disclosure: I was BMW’s guest for this test drive; travel and accommodations were provided but all opinions are my own.

Gesture Control, An Option In The Premium Package, Lets You Point To Control Media Functions

Gesture control, an option in the Premium Package, lets you point to control media functions (and shows you a graphic to teach you to use it when you tap the button instead). Photo: Scotty Reiss

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Journalist, entrepreneur and mom. Expertise includes new cars, family cars, 3-row SUVs, child passenger car seats and automotive careers... More about Scotty Reiss