Car review – BMW X3 xDrive 30e

The hunt for every gram of CO2

If you manage to keep it below 50g/km CO2 this X3 is not only a pleasing, comfortable and beautiful SUV but also a tax champion.


Out of necessity and conviction

In their effort to meet European CO2 emission targets, plug-in hybrids are essential for carmakers. As BMW is also firmly convinced of their added value, it is now offering a PHEV model of the X3 for the first time, with the engines and battery carried over from the 330e. This makes it a two-litre four-cylinder (184hp) with an electric motor (113hp) powered by a 12.0-kWh battery integrated in the eight-speed automatic transmission. With its combined power of 292hp and a total of 420Nm of torque, it can sprint to 100 kph in 6.1 seconds.


Range and fuel consumption

The four-cylinder only intervenes when you floor the accelerator. You really have to look at the gauges to see if it is running on petrol or electricity at steady speeds. According to BMW you should be able to drive emission-free for 51 kilometres (NEDC), but in practice you can count on about 40 kilometres. The battery can be charged at a maximum of 3.7kW, requiring three to four hours to fully charge at a wallbox or a public charger. During our test, we consumed an average of 3.7L/100km of petrol and 20.3kWh/100km of electricity. Very respectable values that can, however, turn out lower or higher as they depend entirely on your charging and driving behaviour.


Watch out for the CO2 emissions

The official NEDC CO2 emission figures report 47g/km but they can exceed 50g/km with added options. On our test car, the NEDC value was 49g and the WLTP rating 53, balancing this X3 on the edge of the “fake hybrid” status as cars automatically lose their tax benefits above 50g/km. As long as the NEDC value can be used for tax purposes – which is certainly the case until the end of 2022 – there is nothing to worry about for the X3 30e, but when WLTP becomes the norm (and provided today's tax rules remain unchanged), the professional buyer of this X3 does risk a lower deduction rate. So make sure this car is the right fit before you sign the order as rules are apt to change.


As this plug-in hybrid is heavier than a regular X3, it induces a more relaxed driving style which lets you wallow in the good soundproofing, the comfortable seats, the spacious interior and the comfortable adaptive suspension (optional). The X3 plug-in hybrid is always a four-wheel drive, which ensures reliable handling and flawless traction. Although the presence of the battery does not go unnoticed, the boot is still sufficiently large with a capacity of 450 litres.

As it is right on the edge of the 50g/km limit, you have to be careful with the (numerous) options on this X3 30e xDrive if you want to safeguard its tax benefits. It is an appealing addition to the existing range.

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    + Driving comfort and interior space

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    + Very low consumption is possible

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    + Very appealing from a tax point of view...

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    - … if you stay below 50g/km - Higher boot floor