Can A BMW X3 Tow A Boat?

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When you think of a luxury car like the BMW X3, you probably don’t expect it to have much to offer in terms of towing. Despite popular belief, there is a lot more to the X3 than meets the eye, and some of its capabilities might surprise you. However, you should first get to know the X3’s limits, one of them being its towing capacity.

The BMW X3 has a towing capacity of roughly 4,400 pounds, allowing it to tow small boats. A lot of boats on the smaller end of the scale weigh anywhere between 1,000 to 2,000 pounds and can be towed easily by the BMW X3. Any boat heavier than 4,400 pounds will be too much for the BMW X3.

If you’re a first-time BMW X3 owner, then you’re probably wondering what exactly the X3’s limits are and how much it can tow. Below you will find some details on the towing capabilities of the X3.

The BMW X3 Towing Capacity

Don’t let the X3’s seemingly low towing capacity of 4,400 pounds fool you. For a luxury vehicle, that’s quite impressive. With a towing capacity of 4,400 pounds, the BMW X3 can tow a variety of small, lightweight boats, trailers, or campers. For instance, dinghy boats, Jon boats, jet boats, ski boats, some pontoons, and other small watercraft can easily be towed by the X3.

If the X3 can tow a pontoon, it’s a safe bet that it could handle small trailers. However, in this area, you must proceed with caution. There are a lot of smaller boats out there than there are small trailers. Of course, some small trailers will likely be light enough for the X3 to handle.

When purchasing a brand new BMW X3 for towing, you’ll need to opt for the trailer hitch add-on. This trailer hitch installation costs $550 for 2022 BMW X3s. This add-on is only available for the sDrive30i, the xDrive30i, and the M40i trim packages. The BMW X3 M does not offer towing capabilities.

For a luxury compact SUV, it’s surprising that the vehicle can tow anything. So, what allows it to tow and what features does the BMW X3 have that assist with towing?

The 2022 BMW X3’s Specifications

While the X3s are relatively small cars, they pack powerful engines under their hoods. However, the engine used does vary by trim package.

The BMW X3 sDrive30i is one of this vehicle’s “Core Models.” In other words, it is more of a basic X3. The sDrive30i has 19-inch wheels; however, you can pay extra for 20-inch ($4,445) or 21-inch wheels ($1,550). With the Dynamic Handling Package, you can enjoy improved suspension and steering to help keep your boat moving down the road safely.

The sDrive30i is a rear-wheel-drive vehicle. For this reason, it may have a lower towing capacity.

Another “Core Model” is the xDrive30i, an all-wheel-drive vehicle. With all-wheel drive, you can expect better towing capabilities and increased handling while driving in rough road conditions. This model offers the same wheel and driving upgrades as the sDrive30i.

Both the sDrive30i and the xDrive30i use the same type of engine, a 2.0-liter BMW TwinPower, Turbo incline, 4-cylinder engine. Both models also feature an 8-speed Sport Automatic transmission with Sport and Manual shift modes. For easy access while you are towing your boat, there are steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters and Launch Control. At 5200 RPMs, the sDrive30i and the xDrive30i are capable of putting out 248 horsepower.

The BMW X3 M40i is also an all-wheel-drive vehicle; however, it is not considered a Core Model. The BMW X3 M40i is part of the BMW M racing division. Drivers can choose to keep this model’s standard 19-inch wheels or they can upgrade to either 20-inch ($600) or 21-inch wheels ($1,550).

Unlike the Core Models, the X3 M40i offers add-ons such as driving assistance and partially automated steering.

The X3 M40i uses an engine more powerful than the Core Models. This model is fitted with a 3.0-liter BMW M TwinPower Turbo inline 6-cylinder engine. The M40i also uses the same transmission as the core models; however, with a more powerful engine the M40i can put out 382 horsepower.

With this much power under the hood, it is understandable how these smaller SUVs are capable of towing small to medium boats.

BMW X3: The Pros and Cons

Now that you know what to expect as far as capabilities are concerned, it might not be a bad idea to know some pros and cons. Every car has its quirks and strengths both, and the X3 is no exception. Here are a few that might help you to decide whether or not this is the car for you and your boat.


One of the coolest things about the BMW X3 is its new and improved technology. The infotainment center has been upgraded and now has a newer and much larger screen. This makes the use of the infotainment center much easier and more convenient to use. Plus, the controls are all confined to a neutral area, making them easy to use as well.

All X3 models get fairly good gas mileage. While this will decrease when towing your boat, you can still enjoy decent fuel efficiency from this vehicle.

The 2022 BMW X3 sDrive30i gets 23 miles per gallon in the city and 29 miles per gallon on the highway. This is the most fuel-efficient model.

Meanwhile, the 2022 BMW X3 xDrive30i gets 21 miles per gallon in the city and 28 miles per gallon on the highway. Lastly, the 2022 BMW X3 M40i gets 21 miles per gallon in the city and 26 miles per gallon on the highway.


Unfortunately, there are still some weaknesses to the X3 that might not always be apparent. First of all, it’s not as rugged of an off-roader or strong tower as some other cars. Of course, it’s impressive that the X3 can tow and off-road as much as it can, for it is a luxury SUV after all. However, if you’re looking for a heavy-duty towing machine, you’ll be somewhat disappointed.

Additionally, the driver’s aids are finicky and can be somewhat annoying. The collision alerts and blind-spot monitors are often far too loud and go off without warning or need. This can be fixed with a quick trip to a car repair shop.