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In-depth reviews

BMW X3 review – MPG, running costs & CO2

Fuel economy competes with rivals, but the BMW X3 won’t be particularly cheap to run

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MPG, running costs & CO2 Rating

3.5 out of 5

The BMW X3 uses modern mild-hybrid petrol and diesel engines shared with other models in the BMW line-up, while the xDrive30e is a plug-in hybrid. Fuel economy figures are broadly comparable to premium rivals. An all-electric BMW iX3 is also available, boasting an official range of up to 282 miles on a charge.

BMW X3 MPG & CO2

The facelifted third-generation X3 models are powered by electrified petrol and diesel engines with mild-hybrid technology, or a mixture of petrol and electric motors in the plug-in hybrid xDrive30e. The smallest diesel is the 187bhp 2.0-litre 20d that returns up to 47.9mpg, measured using WLTP test methods that are said to more accurately reflect real-world driving. Claimed CO2 emissions are 154g/km, placing it towards the top of the Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) bandings for business-car users, depending on trim level and specification.

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A bigger 3.0-litre 30d diesel is also offered, upping power to 282bhp but reducing economy to a best of 44.8mpg and increasing CO2 emissions to 165g/km. This puts it in the top BiK bracket, which is the same banding as the 3.0-litre diesel Jaguar F-Pace occupies. The most potent diesel, the M40d, has 335bhp and returns around 40mpg with CO2 emissions of up to 181g/km.

The entry-level petrol model is the 20i xLine and it’ll return up to 37.2mpg with CO2 emissions of 173g/km, which makes it expensive for company-car drivers. The mainstream performance flagship – ignoring the £90k X3 M – is the M40i, whose 355bhp 3.0-litre petrol returns just 31mpg; far lower than the diesels, but perhaps unsurprising for an SUV that can do 0-62mph in less than five seconds. CO2 emissions of 207g/km make the M40i an intimidating prospect for business car users, though.

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Those company car drivers should look at the BMW X3 xDrive30e plug-in hybrid. Thanks to its battery pack (that can be charged at home or using a public charger), it can travel for up to 30 miles on electric power alone. This helps it achieve official efficiency figures of up to 134.5mpg and 45g/km of CO2 – though trim choice and wheel size can affect those numbers slightly. Of course, the biggest swing will be down to how often you charge the battery and your driving style. 

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Charging the battery takes around 2.5 hours using a 3.7kW home wallbox. It's also possible to charge from a three-pin socket but this will take a while longer, so it’s most convenient to top it up overnight. Crucially, the CO2 figure is low enough to slash BiK liability. Those keen to make the switch to an electric vehicle are covered too; the BMW iX3 is a thoroughly decent car to drive and should easily return more than 250 miles on a charge.

An entry-level X3 xDrive20i xLine costs just over £46,000, so on top of the standard annual VED (road tax) it will also attract a further luxury car surcharge the first five times that road tax is renewed.

Insurance

Insurance classifications follow the pattern set by the previous model. The X3 starts in group 28 for the petrol xDrive20i and 33 for the 2.0-litre diesel xDrive20d, rising to 41 for the 3.0-litre diesel. Despite its extra performance, the M40i sits in group 40, but the diesel M40d is three groups higher. In comparison, the similarly powerful Audi SQ5 is listed in insurance group 42.

Servicing

On-board indicators are used to determine BMW service schedules, so maintenance is only suggested when necessary. However, this doesn't necessarily mean low running costs, and BMW servicing does tend to be on the steep side. To reduce the risk of unexpected bills, BMW offers service plan packages – starting at around £400 for three-years or 36,000 miles – that help you to spread the cost of maintenance over a number of service appointments.

Warranty

All BMW cars sold in the UK are supplied with an unremarkable three-year/unlimited-mileage warranty that matches that offered by Mercedes but trumps Audi's warranty, which is limited to 60,000 miles in the third year.

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Charlie writes and edits news, review and advice articles for Carbuyer, as well as publishing content to its social media platforms. He has also been a regular contributor to its sister titles Auto Express, DrivingElectric and evo. As well as being consumed by everything automotive, Charlie is a speaker of five languages and once lived in Chile, Siberia and the Czech Republic, returning to the UK to write about his life-long passion: cars.

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