Is the BMW X3 xDrive30e a Plug-In Hybrid That Pencils Out?

Is the BMW X3 xDrive30e a Plug-In Hybrid That Pencils Out?

Usually when you have the choice between an SUV or a gasoline-powered or plug-in hybrid car, the PHEV struggles to save enough fuel to make up for the cost of the battery, motor, and all that extra copper. For some drivers, the BMW X3 xDrive30e may well emerge. But will it kill your soul doing this?

How the BMW X3 xDrive30e plug-in hybrid SUV can pay for itself

Changing the “i” at the end of this model designation to an “e” costs $ 4,600. For that, you get a 107 hp / 77 lb-ft electric motor sandwiched between your engine and your transmission, which increases the output of the 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 engine to 288 hp and 310 lb-ft. . (In the xDrive30i, it produces 248 hp and 258 lb-ft.) You also get a heavy 12 kWh battery capable of propelling the X3 on battery alone for a distance of 17 miles rated by the EPA. When you drive in this mode, the EPA rates it at an impressive 59/61/60 mpg-e on its city / highway / combined cycles, but the extra weight of all that gear (782 pounds on our scales) means that when that battery runs out, it gets the same fuel economy as the six cylinder X3 M40i (21/27/24 mpg).

Here’s how you can make the X3 xDrive30e a pencil in terms of fuel costs alone, using the five-year, 15,000 miles per year (41 per day) ownership model developed by our partners at IntelliChoice. First off, you need to plug in every night and drive at least 17 electric miles a day. To do this, using the national average costs for electricity and premium fuel of 13.19 cents / kWh and $ 3.08 / gallon, the 17 daily miles add up to $ 2,292 over five years, and the remaining 24 miles / day will cost $ 5,808, for a total of $ 8,100 – $ 783 less than IntelliChoice’s fuel cost of $ 8,883 for the X3 xDrive30i, and nowhere near our goal of $ 4,600. But suppose you drove 17 miles each way to a generous, planet-conscious employer offering free EV charging *? Now, 34 miles per weekday (plus 17 daily miles on weekends) costs your household the same $ 2,292, while the remaining 4,392 miles are gas-only, for $ 2,900, for one. total of $ 5,192, a fuel savings of $ 3,691 compared to the xDrive30i. This represents 80% of the cost difference. Drive it another year or two and you are there – less, if IntelliChoice finds the depreciation is less for the PHEV model (the total cost of ownership data is incomplete for this model).

How fast is the 5.018 pound X3?

This electrified SUV is “massive,” but it’s low mass, form-fitting, rear-facing (43/57 percent front / rear). The additional electrification almost maintains the power-to-weight ratio of the xDrive30i (17.4 lb / hp vs. 17.1 of the gasser), but due to the strong low-end torque of the electric motor (its peak lasts from 0 to 3170 rpm). min), it accelerates considerably faster. . The 60 mph dashboard takes just 5.4 seconds underway for a 14.5 second, 98.1 mph quarter mile. That roughly places the xDrive30e neatly between the non-electrified four- and six-cylinder X3s. The stats of the xDrive30i are 6.3 seconds and from 14.8 to 92.6; the M40i are 4.8 and 13.4 to 103.7. This result is especially noteworthy given that the hybrid’s GA8P75HZ transmission features a single gear that ends slightly higher (more efficient) than the split gear on gasoline models.

As with most BMWs, playing with the drive modes dramatically alters the mood of the vehicle. Naturally, there is a fully electric mode which allows fuel-free driving up to 84 mph; a hybrid mode can remain fully electric at 68 mph, while EcoPro, Adaptive and Sport modes increase driving pleasure like in the X3 sisterships.

Is the X3 xDrive30e fun to drive?

Our test sample was equipped for maximum driving pleasure with the M Sport 2 and Dynamic Handling packages and fitted with 20 inch Pirelli P Zero summer runflat tires. As such, it smokes the braking and sideways performance of our latest X3 xDrive30i (on 19-inch Bridgestone Dueler H / P Sport all-season tires). It brakes our long-term M40i, doing 60-0 mph in 110 versus 112 feet, and even handles a little more max-lateral grip (0.89-0.84 g), and this one was wearing heavy duty tires. 21 inch Bridgestone Alenza summer. If we had been able to complete our eight test in Michigan, he surely would have recorded a 26 second lap. So yes, there is typical car enthusiast fun at the helm. There’s also geeky fun to browse through the many performance and economy-focused screens and displays available in the cluster, center display, and heads-up display.

How does the BMW X3 xDrive30e compare to its rivals?

Unfortunately, we have no official experience with this X3’s obvious plug-in competitors – the similarly sized Audi Q5 55 TFSI e and the Mercedes-Benz GLC 350e – so we’re ill-equipped to compare them. The Audi and BMW are rated to tow 4,400 pounds, and the Mercedes can only handle 3,600 if that helps with the removal process. Otherwise, on paper, these two competitors cost more initially – $ 52,995 for the Audi and $ 52,895 for the Benz compared to $ 49,545 for this X3 – but their additional cost allows for more power and economy. . Their electrified 2.0-liter transmissions produce more power and torque – 362 hp / 369 lb-ft for the Audi and 320 hp and 413 lb-ft for the Mercedes – so there’s a good chance they will be faster. They also get higher EPA ratings: 64/66/65 mpg-e (25/29/27 mpg on gasoline only) for the Audi and 67/70/68 mpg-e (23/28/25 mpg , petrol) for the Mercedes. These cars also offer an additional 2 to 4 miles of electric range. Of course, the premium you pay for PHEV hardware is also higher, so making the fuel costs saved to pay off may require an unreasonable amount of shoddy electricity.

* EV charge in the workplace

The Department of Energy implemented an electric vehicle charging challenge anywhere in the workplace, and in 2015, 83% of participating companies offered this benefit for free. Numerous national and local incentive and rebate programs have been put in place to help offset the infrastructure costs associated with implementing workplace pricing. The free charging offering has been proven to increase employee satisfaction and loyalty, and smart chargers can be programmed to only charge cars left on a charger for more than four hours or after being fully charged.

2020 BMW X3 xDrive30e2018 BMW X3 xDrive30i2018 BMW X3 M40i
STARTING PRICE$ 49,545$ 43,645 *$ 55,295 *
PRICE TESTED$ 65,020$ 57,470$ 68,670
VEHICLE LAYOUTFront-engine 4-door SUV, all-wheel drive, 5 passengers
ENGINE2.0L / 181 hp / 258 lb-ft turbo engine DOHC 16-valve I-4 plus 107 hp / 77 lb-ft electric, 288 hp / 310 lb-ft comb2 L / 248 hp / 258 lb-ft turbo DOHC 16-valve in-line3.0L / 355 hp / 369 lb-ft DOHC 24-valve in-line turbo engine
TRANSMISSION8 speed automatic
WEIGHT ON BOARD (F / R DIST)5018 pounds (43/57%)4236 lbs (49/51%)4,282 lbs (50/50%)
WHEELBASE112.8 in
Length x Width x Height185.9 x 74.4 x 66.0 inches186.1 x 74.7 x 66.0 inches
0 to 60 mph5.4 seconds6.3 seconds4.8 seconds
QUARTER MILE14.5 s at 160 km / h14.8 s at 149 km / h13.4 seconds at 103.7 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH110 ft123 ft112 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION0.89 g (average)0.82g (average)0.85 g (average)
MT FIGURE EIGHTN / A26.9 s at 0.64 g (average)25.9 s at 0.72 g (average)
EPA CITY / HWY / COMB FUEL ECON21/27/24 mpg (gasoline); 59/61/60 mpg-e * (gasoline + elec)24/29/26 mpg21/27/23 mpg
ENERGY CONSUMPTION, CITY / ROAD160/198 kW-h / 100 mi (gas); 57/55 kW-h / 100 mi (gas + elec)140/116 kW-h / 100 miles160/125 kW-h / 100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB1.02 lbs / mile (gasoline); 0.32 lb / mile (gasoline + elec)0.75 lbs / mile0.83 lbs / mile
* Prices have changed so it’s not possible to configure a 2020 X3 exactly as these 2018 models were, but for comparison the 2020 base price for the xDrive30i is $ 44,945 and for the M40i it is $ 56,895.

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