BMW is giving the popular X3 a fuel-sipping hybrid option.
If you’re in the market for a crossover (or “Sport Activity Vehicle” in BMW-speak) but want a little more power with a little less fuel usage, the Bavarian automaker will have a new option in the lineup early next year.
ALSO SEE: 2018 BMW X3 Review
This week BMW announced the BMW X3 xDrive30e. That particular alphanumeric mix denotes a four-wheel drive model with an electric motor assisting the combustion engine. BMW’s familiar four-cylinder turbo engine sits under the hood, whereas the 12 kWh battery hides under the rear seats. The combined output is 292 hp, with 310 lb-ft backing it up. That’s a solid 44 more horsepower than the plain Jane xDrive30i, with most of the power coming in nice and low in the rev range.
BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system splits power between the front and rear wheels. It does so with both combustion and electric power, including only the latter. BMW is expecting a North American all-electric range of roughly 20 miles, although it quotes slightly over 30 miles equivalent on the European WLTP cycle.
In its standard Auto eDrive mode, the plug-in hybrid is capable of a 68 mph top speed on nothing but electrons. The combustion engine will kick in above that, or if the driver’s right foot calls for more power. Drivers can also control the charge state of the battery themselves, with the option to save emissions-free driving for later on the trip.
The X3 xDrive30e will have a maximum towing capacity of 4,400 lb. That rear-mounted battery does eat into storage space slightly, dropping seat-up space by 3.5 cubic feet.
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Production of the 2020 X3 xDrive30e will kick off next month at BMW’s Spartanburg production facility in South Carolina. BMW will announce American pricing closer to its Spring 2020 on-sale date.
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