Base Camp: 2020 BMW X3 xDrive30i
This series examines the entry-level trims of popular vehicles on sale in Canada. If we find its cupboard bereft of essential features, we'll recommend a better option.
BMW was early to the luxury compact crossover game with the original X3. Now in its third generation, the trucklet has grown out of its awkward phase and wears an attractive set of clothes and comes with standard all-wheel drive in Canada.
Its entry-level trim, the xDrive30i, is powered by a 2.0L four-cylinder engine making 248 horsepower and 258lb.-ft of torque, the latter of which is fully online by a just-off-idle 1450rpm. All non-M X3 models have an 8-speed automatic transmission with zooty paddle shifters.
A brace of paint colours are available on the X3 at no charge – Alpine White and Jet Black. Nineteen-inch alloy wheels are standard kit and, surprisingly, three different styles are available for $0 shod with 245/50 tires. This is an identical size to the stock rubber found on the much more expensive M40i trim. Snazzy LED headlights and fog lamps are included.
Inside the base X3, seats are upholstered in leatherette, also known as I Can’t Believe It’s Not Leather by various wise guys in the office. Despite being the least expensive model, this BMW permits buyers to freely choose between two interior colours, black or beige, and a quartet of dashboard trims including an attractive Poplar Grey Wood. Not bad for $50,250.
The steering wheel and front seats are heated, as they should be for fifty large. Note the chairs are marketed as Sport Seats thanks to a backrest width that can be electrically adjusted.
Automatic air conditioning with three-zone control allows the driver and front passenger, as well as the rear passengers, to separately regulate the temperature. Distance Control sensors help with tight parking duties while Lane Departure and auto emergency braking tools prevent unfortunate mishaps. A 12-speaker sound system incorporates Apple CarPlay and BMW TeleServices.
What We’d Pick
This would be an easy win for the Bimmer if only the $3900 Premium Package were included as part of the deal. That option adds a panoramic sunroof and ‘comfort access’ kit which permits drivers the luxury of not having to dig for their keys. For $50,000 we were kind of hoping that accessing comfort would be an unavoidable part of the deal.
If you do pop for that option, we recommend splurging an additional $3500 on the M Sport Package – which requires the aforementioned Premium Package – since it endows the X3 with all-wheel drive programming that distributes driving and braking forces in a different manner to provide more grins during spirited driving. It also brings some styling cues unique to the M Sport.