BMW pioneered the sports car driving SUV class known as “Sports Activity Vehicles”, merging the comfort and performance of a luxury sports sedan with the utility of an SUV. BMW launched the original X5 back in 1999 making way to a whole series of iterations from the X2 through the X7. Today, the X3 stands on top of the lineup being the best overall SUV for price, utility, performance, and comfort.
The BMW X3 is one of the best driving and utility vehicles within this very competitive segment. When it comes to driving you get exactly what you expect from BMW. Fun to drive; Precision steering; Strong acceleration; Road hugging suspension. On the utility side you get an amazing 8″ ground clearance, and plenty of cargo and back seat room to haul your family and gear. The xDrive traction system is certainly one of the best, if not the best traction system in this class – especially as it relates to driving on slippery wet, snowy, or icy roads. This is very much a primary reason why the BMW X3 is ranked so high for “Best Snow SUVs for 2022”
BMW simply offers the best overall driving experience in this category. The X3 feels very balanced on the road, visibility of the road and traffic is great, steering is very responsive and precise, and the cabin is driver focused. Some people prefer all the buttons and gadget candy that you may find in the Porsche Macan, but I really enjoy a streamlined driver control system like BMW. The iDrive cabin system is simply the best in class, and allows you change all settings quickly and easily – making it more incorporated than distracting to the driving experience. In addition, both front and rear seats offer a lot of elbow and leg room for the passengers, making for a comfortable ride on those long trips up to the slopes.
When it comes to performance, like many badges in this class – the sky is the limit. You can stiffen the suspension, increase the horse power, widen the tires, add dampeners, etc. The range goes from their powerful 4 cylinder with 248 HP, up to the 6 cylinder M with 473 HP. We all know that boosting the HP, lowering the suspension, widening the tires all hurt us in the snow… You simply can’t go 0-60 MPH in 3.9 seconds on the snow and ice. You’ll likely go zero- to – crashing in the snowbank in about 2 seconds by jumping on the accelerator with that much torque and HP.
Here at skicritics we’re focused on the best snow SUV’s, so we recommend sticking with the 4 cylinder 248 HP as our best pick for trim. You can add a lot of the styling and performance queues from the M by adding some options to black out and shadow the trim, sportier rims, and adding the M suspension option. The M40i is also a descent option if you want to apply your heavy foot on the pedal with dry road conditions.
Another big consideration in BMW’s focus on durable and reliable construction. While there are others in the category that look great, drive well, and offer utility, the BMW X3 can take the added wear and tear that will weigh more heavily on other badges. Driving up to the mountains for that big powder day can punish an SUV with pot holes, snow berms, poorly plowed roads with rocks and snow scouring the underbody. In addition the interior leather needs to be thicker and more durable to handle the wet jackets, and snow that enters the cabin. BMW shines here and I believe to be the best when it comes to owning a vehicle that can run 130k miles or more.
When it comes to owning the BMW you do get a standard 3 year / 36,000 mile care package and 50,000 mile warranty. Plus, you’ll get better economy on fuel with 28 MPG which is about 30-40% better than most. This means you’ll save $4,500 in maintenance and $5,000 in fuel compared to a Porsche Macan. Finally – you’ll probably get another 20,000 miles of reliable use on the high mileage side, lowering your ownership by 20% or so. This will take your total cost of ownership down by about $30,000 vs. a comparable build on a Macan.
Here are the BMW X3 Trim options:
BMW X3 xDrive 30i – This is the 4 cylinder with 248 HP and 0-60 in 6 seconds. You can get a well equipped version for about $53,000 which is quite good considering all that you get.
BMW X3 xDrive M40i – Here you get an enhanced 6 Cylinder 382 HP with 0-60 in just 4.4 seconds. For those who love that BMW 6 acceleration you will not be disappointed. A well equipped version will jump up in price and you should expect to pay around $67,000 or more to get the important features
BMW M3 – For those who want a race car / SUV and willing to pay the price for both the added cost, but also the very bumpy ride – this is the one. You know who you are if you’re seeking 473 HP and 0-60 in 3.9 seconds. You’re going to spend at least $80,000 for this top of the line version.
Configure your own BMW X3 on the BMW Website
Here is a great video review I found on the web: