The move to electrification at BMW is set to pick up serious steam in the next few weeks and months. The hottest anticipation is for the all-electric X3 SUV, but before that arrives, BMW has confirmed that the plug-in hybrid version of the model will make its debut in the first quarter of 2020.
The full name of the plug-in version will be the BMW X3 xDrive30e PHEV.
Its pending arrival is good news, of course, but there’s a cloud inside the silver lining, and it has to do with the battery range, announced as 20 miles, or 32.2 km. Many will say, correctly, that it’s better than nothing, but the fact is that’s a smaller range than offered by any other PHEV on the market, in any category. The X3 xDrive30e gets a 12 kWh battery to permit that range; once it’s out of charge, the vehicle’s 4-cylinder engine comes into play.
On the brighter side, the new PHEV also gets a net gain in power. While the xDrive30i variant produces 248 hp, the plug-in hybrid version boosts that by 44 for a total of 292 hp. 0-100 km/h acceleration can be done in 6.1 seconds.
The plug-in hybrid X3 will arrive on the market ahead of the all-electric version. Those who can’t wait will be tempted by the PHEV, but from where we sit, the second version is the one that will ultimately be the more successful of the two.