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2018 BMW X3: Our View
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By: Cars.com On: 11-27-2017 Model(s): Redesigned for 2018, the X3 has standard all-wheel drive and comes in four-cylinder (xDrive30i) and six-cylinder (M40i) configurations. 2018 BMW X3
Author Experience: Expert review

Redesigned for 2018, the X3 has standard all-wheel drive and comes in four-cylinder (xDrive30i) and six-cylinder (M40i) configurations. We drove a well-optioned X3 xDrive30i.

The new X3 is decluttered versus the 2017 model, emulating the smaller X1 — a handsome place to start. Three bumper openings replace the prior four, with lighting elements in the outboard units instead of last year's separate foglight dimples. Styling is subjective, of course, but I suspect this will age well — unlike the first- and second-generation X3s, which struck me as too busy-looking.

Exterior dimensions haven't changed, but the wheelbase is 2.2 inches longer. Eighteen-inch alloy wheels, LED low-beam headlights and dual tailpipes are standard. So is dark lower cladding that brings a durable, go-anywhere look; that's a check the X3's 8 inches of ground clearance should be able to cash. The M40i swaps that cladding for body-colored ground effects, though an optional M Sport Package on the xDrive30i emulates much of the look for less cash. You can also get adaptive headlights, LED high beams and wheels up to 21 inches.

A poky eight-speed automatic transmission holds back an otherwise strong driving experience in the X3 xDrive30i, whose 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder makes 248 horsepower and 258 pounds-feet of torque. It's a capable engine with broad power that comes early and stays late. That's much needed, as the transmission resists downshifts in its normal driving mode until you push the gas hard. (A Sport mode helps by holding lower gears longer, but it does so inconsistently.) But even absent a downshift, the xDrive30i has enough low-rpm muscle to maintain highway speed with multiple occupants aboard.

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