This isn't the kind of Plug-in hybrid model you'll buy if you want to make an eco-statement. Unless you really know your BMWs, there's almost nothing to visually differentiate an xDrive30e from any other X3. This updated version of the third generation model gains a smarter look, courtesy of a larger front kidney grille with a single-piece frame. It's flanked by now-flatter headlights that now have standard LED beams and there's a revised front bumper with vertical air intakes; and a re-styled lower apron. The rear tail lamps are revised too, now of the full-LED sort, sitting above flush-fitting tailpipe trims. With a drag coefficient of 0.29Cd, the X3 boasts the slipperiest silhouette in its segment. And a 'Digital Key' system's now optionally available so that if you wish, you can unlock or lock the car with your smartphone.
Inside, the twin-screened 'BMW Live Cockpit Professional' set-up is now standard. That brings a 12.3-inch instrument binnacle display and the 'BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant', a voice control system responding to the command 'Hey BMW'. 'Apple CarPlay'/'Android Auto' smartphone-mirroring is now (at last) standard. And the infotainment set-up now updates itself with 'over-the-air' upgrades, so you'll get into your X3 one morning and find it able to do something it couldn't do the day before.
As before, there's just about room for three on the back seat, which features a reclining backrest. Finally, load capacity; thanks to the location of the PHEV battery pack beneath the rear seat, that's down with this plug-in variant - from 550 to 450-litres.