Review

BMW X3 SUV

Price  £33,795 - £45,895

BMW X3 SUV

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Fun to drive
  • Smooth 2.0-litre diesel engine
  • Spacious and well made interior
Cons
  • Options are expensive
  • Dashboard is a bit dated
  • Transmission tunnel eats into legroom

At a glance

The greenest
xDrive20d M Sport 5dr £36,795
The cheapest
xDrive20d SE 5dr £33,795
The fastest
xDrive35d M Sport 5dr £45,895
Top of the range
xDrive35d M Sport 5dr £45,895

"The BMW X3 brings the quality and luxury of a more upmarket SUV to the compact class."

The BMW X3 is the German brand's answer to the Audi Q5, Mercedes GLC and Lexus NX. As you’d expect, it sits between the smaller BMW X1 and the full-size BMW X5 SUV. Like many of its image-conscious rivals, the X3 is better suited to driving on the road, as opposed to through any rough terrain, even if all versions have four-wheel-drive.

The X3 benefits from a solid and well-built interior, even if the design is ageing. It's also more fun to drive than most of its competitors, thanks to a comfortable ride and sharp steering. Dynamically, the X3 can’t keep up with the Porsche Macan, but the BMW is a lot less expensive.

 

The 30d and 35d options provide similar performance to the Macan and they’re cheaper to run too. The smaller xDrive20d is the best all-rounder in the range and our pick, thanks to a decent amount of power available and a quiet driving experience. Claimed fuel economy figures reach up to 57mpg. The eight-speed automatic gearbox is very slick and BMW lets you decide if you want paddle shifters to change the gears yourself.

The X3 is available in SE, xLine and M Sport trims. Even though the X3 is an upmarket (and rather expensive) SUV, all models come with air conditioning, 17-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, Bluetooth and heated front seats. If you choose the automatic gearbox and the adaptive suspension you’ll want for very little, which means you can avoid paying over the odds when it comes to ticking other boxes on the options list.

The X3 is pretty practical – there's a good amount of space in the back for rear passengers and the boot is around 70 litres more than a BMW 3 Series saloon. The X3 also makes a good tow car, thanks to its four-wheel-drive traction.

MPG, running costs & CO2

3.5 / 5

The BMW X3 has low running costs for a car of its type

Engines, drive & performance

3.8 / 5

The BMW X3 is almost as much fun to drive as a Porsche Macan

Interior & comfort

3.8 / 5

The new diesel engine fitted to the BMW X3 20d is quieter than the old version

Practicality & boot space

3.5 / 5

The BMW X3 has more interior space and a bigger boot than the 3 Series saloon, while four-wheel drive makes it a strong tow car

Reliability & safety

4 / 5

The BMW X3 has performed exceptionally well in our customer satisfaction survey and we expect the revised model to do the same

What the others say

4.2 / 5
based on 3 reviews
4 / 5
"A stylish but less controversial design language is taking shape at BMW and the X3 is cut from the same cloth. Sharp edges and acute angles have been replaced by sculpted contours in the bonnet and doors. While the last car's proportions looked awkward, the new X3 is more elegant."
3.5 / 5
"The X3 betters its closest rivals – the Audi Q5, Land Rover Freelander and Volvo XC60 – on a couple of levels, namely dynamics and running costs. 50.4mpg and 149g/km (£125 a year tax) compare to class averages of 45mph and 160g/km+ (£155+). If you don’t need off-road ability, though, a BMW 520d Touring is better looking, just as practical and cleaner, too."
5 / 5
"The X3 is an excellent compact 4x4 because it's classy, practical and good to drive. The engine is very efficient, too, and standard kit pretty generous."
What owners say 
4.3755813953488
4.4 /5 based on 86 reviews
80%
 of people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
26 Aug 2015
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