The X3 is BMW’s best contender in the compact luxury crossover segment and one its most popular of its X-line SUVs worldwide. The X3 got a design makeover last year with more refinement on the exteriors to give it a more aggressively sporty outlook and BMW retagged it as a Sports Activity Vehicle that sounds rather more appropriate. To complement this the 2019 BMW X3 has a winning combination of engine power, interior comfort, safety and intelligent technology. This prompted us to explore how sporty is the new 2019 BMW X3 at BMW of San Luis Obispo which comes in three different models or trims – the sDrive30i, xDrive30i, and the M40i.

Redefined Sporty Style

The immediate proof if its intent to redefine the X3 as a rugged, outdoor and adventure friendly sports utility vehicle is the amazing 8-inch ground clearance. The accentuated style packages such as the X-Line, Luxury and M Sport give you options to add subtle exterior trim elements, 18-inch y-spoke wheels, and high-gloss chrome which is standard on the M40i. Even without the styling packages you are already all set to go with the sporty 18-inch Y Spoke light alloy wheels on the SDrive30i and xDrive30i and 19-inch Double Spoke Bicolor light alloy wheels on the highest trim, the M40i. the M40i sports Icon Adaptive LED Headlights while the other trims get LED low-beam and Halogen high-beam headlights.

Luxurious Cabin Space

The 2019 BMW X3 is all luxury inside with the interiors featuring plush, upmarket leatherette trims better known as SensaTec upholstery that’s standard across all models. The interiors feature Oak Wood and Black Oakwood trim in the sDrive30i and xDrive30i whereas the M40i features Aluminum Rhombicle interior trim. Focus on the seating and the sporty intent is visible with a highly functional 10-way power front sport seats, driver seat memory. The M40i features a jaw dropping 14-way power adjustable front seating with 4-way power lumbar support. The back row of this 5-seater has 40/20/20 split folding seats.

The cockpit like dash is actually an Expanded Check Vehicle Control system and an Electronic Analog instrument Cluster with a LCD display. Everything is computer controlled and information is relayed to the driver through the dash and audio alerts. The 3-spoke leather wrapped multi-function steering wheel has a sporty appearance and you have all the controls mounted on it.

When you build a vehicle for adventure you are bound to provide ample cargo space and the X3 comes with a spacious 62.7 cubic feet of cargo space thanks to the split folding seats.

Performance & Handling

The X3 we checked out at BMW of SLO came with the 2.0-liter 16-valve 4-cylinder turbocharged engine that provides an amazing 248 horsepower that produces a whopping 258 lb-ft of torque, so you are already whizzing by before you say hello. If that doesn’t set your pulse racing the M40i comes with 3.0-liter TwinPower turbo-inline 6-cylinder engine that zaps you with it 355 hp engine producing 365lb-ft of torque. All the power and speed on this AWD system is smoothly delivered through the sophisticated 8-speed auto transmission that has sport and manual shift modes. The 2019 BMW X3 has Hill Descent Control and loads of safety features to keep you safe and under control.