BMW X3 SUV
Price £33,795 - £45,895
- Fun to drive
- Smooth 2.0-litre diesel engine
- Spacious and well made interior
- Options are expensive
- Dashboard is a bit dated
- Transmission tunnel eats into legroom
At a glance
"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.
The BMW X3 has low running costs for a car of its type
The BMW X3 is almost as much fun to drive as a Porsche Macan
The new diesel engine fitted to the BMW X3 20d is quieter than the old version
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
The BMW X3 has performed exceptionally well in our customer satisfaction survey and we expect the revised model to do the same