The BMW X3 is a mid-sized SUV that competes with the likes of the popular Audi Q5, Mercedes GLC and Lexus NX. As the name suggests, the X3 sits between the smaller BMW X1 and larger X5 in the range. Despite four-wheel drive being available across the range, the X3 is much better suited to driving on the road and is, in fact, one of the best to drive in its class.
One the outside, the X3 is clearly a BMW with the double kidney grilles and trademark running lights at the front. If you want something a bit more rakish, the BMW X4 coupe-SUV is based on the X3 but sacrifices a bit of practicality for a more coupe-like roofline.
Inside, the interior is solid and well screwed together, if a little dated compared to both newer cars in the BMW range and some of its rivals. However, it makes up for these shortfalls when you get behind the wheel as it boasts a comfortable ride and sharp steering. It can’t quite match the Porsche Macan, but that costs a lot more to buy.
There's a choice of powerful and efficient diesel engines in the X3. The most popular engine is the xDrive20d, a 2.0-litre diesel engine with 187bhp and it provides plenty of power and is reasonably cheap to run. It's also quiet on the move and is our pick of the range.
If you want a bit more power, the xDrive30d and 35d models provide similar performance to that of the Porsche Macan, but for much less money. The eight-speed automatic transmission in all models is very slick and smooth. There are paddles on the steering wheel if you want to be a bit more involved and change gear yourself, too.
The X3 is available in three trim levels – SE, xLine and M Sport. The range kicks off with SE that comes with air-con, 17-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, Bluetooth and heated seats. If you choose the great automatic gearbox and adaptive suspension, you’ll want for very little, which means you can avoid paying over the odds ticking other things on the extensive (and expensive) options list.
The BMW X3 makes a great family car – practicality is up there with the best thanks to a good amount of space for both front and rear passengers, plus the boot is around 70 litres larger than the 3 Series saloon. Standard four-wheel drive makes it a good tow car, too.