2018 BMW X3 Is Supposed to Become the Segment Sales Leader, but It’s Priced Higher Than Key Competitors

2018 BMW X3 M40i - Image: BMWMunich HQ has huge expectations for the third-generation BMW X3. The X3, after all, was the vehicle that ignited the compact luxury SUV craze, the vehicle that spawned competitors such as the Audi Q5, Acura RDX, Mercedes-Benz GLK/GLC, Volvo XC60, Lexus NX, and Porsche Macan. Surely the X3 has the power, the might, the capacity for sales domination, right?

“We created that segment,” BMW CEO Harald Krueger said in July. “The No. 1 approach and target I clearly have is, there shouldn’t be anyone besides us who is No. 1.”

“If somebody on my team is not performing to that, well, he has a problem,” Krueger says, making clear to BMW USA’s Bernhard Kuhnt that greater global production of the X3 will mean greater allocation, which had better mean greater U.S. sales.

BMW will not, however, seek to achieve the lofty sales goals by introducing the 2018 X3 with a price that undercuts its key rivals.

2018 BMW X3 X Line interior - Image: BMWAccording to CarsDirect, the 2018 BMW X3 xDrive30i utilizes a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder producing 248 horsepower. Price? $43,445.

That’s… fair. But while you might expect BMW to marry its sales expectations with the kind of price point that grabs the attention of Mercedes-Benz GLC, Audi Q5, and Jaguar F-Pace competitors, the base X3 is $400 more than the GLC300 4Matic, $970 more than the Q5, and $385 more than the base F-Pace.

The 2018 X3 is also $400 more than the outgoing X3, though the new model is more handsomely equipped: standard tri-zone climate control, forward collision warning, and a 10-inch touchscreen.

Increase the price by $11,850 and the 2018 X3 becomes an M40i, powered by a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six with 355 horsepower. At this $55,295 price point, the performance-oriented X3 manages to undercut vehicles like the $57,245 Mercedes-AMG GLC43, $60,770 Jaguar F-Pace S, and $56,450 Porsche Macan S and sits $20 higher than the Audi SQ5.

Through the first nine months of 2017, BMW X3 sales are up 4 percent to 32,127 units, which places the X3 on track for a second consecutive year of record U.S. sales. But that’s fewer sales than the Lexus NX, Acura RDX, Audi Q5, and Mercedes-Benz GLC have managed.

Ranking fifth? BMW’s Harald Krueger says that’s a problem.

[Images: BMW]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars and Instagram.