The BMW X3 is the German brand's mid-size SUV that's better suited to road driving than the rough stuff, even if most models have four-wheel-drive.
The X3 has a well-built interior, slick engines and it's more fun to drive than most of its rivals, thanks to a well-balanced suspension system and crisp steering. That said, it can’t quite keep up with the likes of the Porsche Macan for driving enjoyment, but the BMW is significantly less expensive. It's a closer rival to the Land Rover Discovery Sport, along with the Audi Q5, Lexus NX and Range Rover Evoque.
The 30d and 35d offer similar performance to the Macan, but feature cheaper running costs overall. The smaller 2.0-litre diesel seen in the 20d has recently been revised, so it's more powerful and much quieter – so we think that it's the best all-rounder in the current line-up.
If you’re planning to drive the X3 exclusively on-road and are happy to compromise on less performance, the sDrive 18d will do the job just fine. We drove it in the wet, and even though it didn’t have four-wheel-drive, the rear tyres had plenty of grip and it felt just as sure-footed in the bends as the pricier xDrive models – while producing a fuel economy figure of more than 60mpg.
The BMW X3 can now be had in xLine trim, which joins the existing SE and M Sport trim levels.
Despite being an upmarket (and expensive) mid-sized SUV, even the basic SE trim has plenty of kit as standard. Air-conditioning, 17-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, all-round parking sensors, Bluetooth connectivity and heated front seats are all thrown in. Spec the brilliant eight-speed automatic gearbox and adaptive dampers and you’ll need very little else.