2022 BMW X3: Excellent refreshFriday, October 29, 2021
BY RORY DALEY
WITH age comes growth in every aspect. And, the current generation of the BMW X3 is now the physical dimensions of the first generation X5, its larger sibling up the model range. For 2022, the growth is elsewhere, maturing the X3 into a more refined and luxurious sport utility vehicle (SUV).
Externally, the 2022 X3 gains a bit of its own to differentiate it from the X5 with which it shares a similar visual profile. The new X3 gets a new take on the iconic BMW kidney grille. It's now larger and a single frame. On either side of the grille, the headlights get slimmer by 10mm and are now LED as standard. The front and rear bumpers both received a touch up. The X3 gets its own unique LED rear lights. Like the headlights, they're narrower with a deep three-dimensional appearance to them. No longer do the lower trimmed models suffer the embarrassment of having a single exhaust tip. All X3s get flush-fitting dual tailpipes.
Premium starts from the beginning with the X3. It gives new meaning to keyless entry. Approach the vehicle and owners are greeted by an entrance programme that makes one feel like a king. Without the need for physical touch, the front doors unlock, all four door handles light up and an elaborate set of lights guide entrance into the X3 at night, all while the side mirrors fold open to confirm the vehicle is unlocked.
Once inside, the royal treatment continues. The interior is familiar BMW, tight sharp design lines with a mix of quality materials led by comfortable power adjustable sports seats that attract nothing but compliments when covered in Taco Red leather. The cabin is spacious and is accented by the large panoramic sunroof during the day and the customisable ambient lighting at night. The ambient lighting plays another role, pulsing red on the door sections when they're open to advise any close traffic.
Controls are ergonomically located as the X3 adapts the centre console from the 4 Series sedan. They operate intuitively, with other controls set from the new 10.25-inch touchscreen for iDrive. Supplemented by a large all-digital instrument cluster, drivers can touch, use steering mounted buttons or the rotary controller, speak using BMW Personal Assistant, and even write to interact with the vehicle. If that's not enough the razor sharp display prove the perfect companion to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
As a SUV, there's plenty of space and convenient storage to handle humans and their associated cargo. Elements like the kick-to-open powered rear tailgate further assist in practical matters. Luxury and technology meet to make all major functions either powered or automated to be set and forgotten, like wipers, headlights, all three climate zones. Then there are higher level abilities, such as Parking and Reverse Assistants that handle those two functions with a tap of the screen.
On the road, the X3 is set on the sporty side. Set to COMFORT and ECO PRO, the BMW is a quiet partner, shuffling through traffic saving fuel via Auto start/stop and reducing driver frustration with Auto Brake Hold. There, however, is a sense that the X3 is meant for more as the suspension continually imparts that taut feeling no matter the surface type. Given free rein, the BMW can be driven with vigour. When called upon the two-litre turbo motor spools up to pull the X3 along at blood pumping velocities, urged on by throttle position and the eight-speed automatic transmission. No slouch at shifting, especially in SPORT mode, the included steering paddle shifters bring significant driver engagement over rival SUVs. Even in front-wheel sDrive format, the chassis of the 2022 BMW X3 manages to generate confidence inspiring grip on twisty roads.
MODEL: 2022 BMW X3 sDrive 20i M sport
ENGINE: 2-litre, turbocharged four-cylinder — 184bhp/221lb/ft
DRIVETRAIN: Eight-speed automatic/front-wheel drive
SUMMARY: The X5 better watch its back.