2021 BMW X3 SUV gets a sharp new look and mild-hybrid tech

BMW’s best-selling SUV has been given a facelift for 2021 and gains 48-volt mild-hybrid technology

  • Priced from £43,370 
  • Available in xLine, M Sport and Pro Edition trims 
  • All engines feature mild-hybrid technology 

The BMW X3 has been given a makeover for 2021, now featuring a sportier new look, more standard equipment and mild-hybrid tech across the entire engine range. 

Available in showrooms this summer, the X3 starts at £43,370 and will sit alongside the similarly updated X4 coupe-SUV. The range-topping X3 M and X4 M Competition have also been refreshed.

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The standard X3 is available in two trim levels, xLine and M Sport, while the sportier M40i and M40d versions of the car are offered in Pro Edition trim.

2021 BMW X3 SUV: design 

The X3 gets a new front bumper with sharper and more angular detailing. The larger and reshaped kidney grille sits at the centre of slimmer LED headlamps, while new vertical air intakes frame the front bumper. The rear is bolder too, featuring a refreshed bumper and new signature LED tail lights with black surrounds. 

In M Sport trim, the X3 gets larger front air inlets and inserts finished in high-gloss black, as well as a muscular body kit. The sportier rear bumper includes a more striking diffuser along with two additional side air-curtain-panels in high-gloss black. 

The X3 is offered in a total of eight paint finishes, including the one non-metallic finish in Alpine White. A Tanzanite Blue is available on xDrive30e, M40i and M40d models only. The standard trim levels include 19-inch light alloy wheels, with 20-inch and 21-inch versions  available as an option. M Sport brakes with blue or red brake callipers are also an optional extra. 

Interior and specs

Inside, the new, fully digitalised centre console is very similar to that found in the latest 4 Series. BMW Live Cockpit Professional with a free-standing 12.3-inch central touchscreen display comes with all versions of the X3, with automatic air conditioning and three-zone climate control. 

All entry-level xLine versions are fitted with sports seats lined in perforated Sensatec faux leather, while M Sport cars get Vernasca leather as standard. The X3 has a 550-litre boot, which can be increased to 1,600 litres with the rear seats folded. 

All X3s in M Sport trim upwards are also fitted with variable sports steering as standard, in addition to M Sport suspension with optional adaptive dampers. The electronically controlled dampers adapt to both road conditions and driving style. 

Engines and performance 

The new X3 features modern hybrid technology. In addition to the plug-in hybrid BMW X3 xDrive30e, all four-cylinder and six-cylinder petrol engines now have a 48-volt mild-hybrid system. 

Energy is recuperated while braking and can be used to support the 12-volt electric system for some of the car’s key functions. The stored energy can also provide a power boost of 11bhp during hard acceleration. All versions feature BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive and an eight-speed Steptronic automatic gearbox.

The entry-level X3 xDrive20i is powered by a four-cylinder petrol engine, which produces 181bhp. It can do 0-62mph in 8.4 seconds and claims fuel economy of 37.7mpg with CO2 emissions of 197g/km. 

The plug-in hybrid xDrive30e model, which is priced from £50,600, is powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine which is linked to a battery and electric motor. It’s capable of returning up to 141mpg and has a power output of 249bhp with 420Nm torque. It can get from 0-62mph in 6.1 seconds while offering 31 miles of pure-electric range and emitting just 43g/km of CO2, making it a popular choice for company-car drivers

The range-topping model is the 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged six-cylinder M40i, which is priced from £59,010. It produces 355bhp and 500Nm of torque. It can sprint from 0-62mph in 4.9 seconds and go on to reach a limited top speed of 155mph.

The diesel range, meanwhile, opens with the xDrive20d model, costing £44,210. It has a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine producing 187bhp, getting it from 0-62mph in 7.9 seconds. It will still return respectable fuel economy of 48.7mpg. 

Both the xDrive30d and high-performance M40d variants are powered by six-cylinder engines. The 30d, which is priced from £51,510, is powered by a 3.0-litre diesel that produces 282bhp and 650Nm. It has a claimed 0-62mph time of 5.7 seconds but fuel economy isn’t sacrificed, as it officially returns 45.6mpg.  

The M40d is priced from £58,560 and has more power: 335bhp and 700Nm. It takes 4.9 seconds to go from 0-62mph and is limited to a top speed of 155mph. As you might expect, fuel economy falls slightly to 42.8mpg. 

Considering switching to hybrid power? Check out our guide to the best hybrid cars

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