The BMW X3 is a mid-sized SUV that's more at home on the tarmac than it is off-road, despite most models having four-wheel drive.
It offers a nice interior, smooth engines, and thanks to sharp steering and a well-judged suspension setup, it is more fun than most of its rivals. That said, it can’t compete with the Porsche Macan for out-and-out driving thrills, but the BMW is far cheaper.
The 30d and 35d offer similar performance to the Macan, but with impressively low running costs. Lower down the range, the 20d's 2.0-litre diesel has been made quieter and more powerful – making it the best all-rounder in the range.
If you don’t plan to take the X3 off-road and are willing to sacrifice some performance, then the sDrive 18d is also perfectly good. We drove it in the wet, and despite not having four-wheel drive, the rear tyres had plenty of grip, and it felt just as sure-footed and grippy in the corners as the more expensive and less efficient xDrive models – while being capable of more than 60mpg.
The BMW X3 can now be specified in xLine trim, which joins the existing line-up of SE and M Sport models.
As an upmarket (and expensive) mid-sized SUV, even the basic BMW X3 SE comes with plenty of standard equipment. The kit list includes 17-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning, cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, heated front seats and a Bluetooth hands-free phone system. Add the excellent eight-speed automatic gearbox and adaptive dampers and you’ll want for nothing.