In-depth reviews

BMW X3 SUV - Interior & comfort

Beautifully finished BMW X3 interior is comfortable and generously equipped

Carbuyer Rating

4.0 out of 5

Owners Rating

4.0 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Interior & comfort Rating

4.5 out of 5

BMW's latest interior design language is in full effect inside the X3, with a neat, angular style very reminiscent of the current 5 Series. Like the exterior, it's very BMW and resists many concessions to fashion, with its infotainment screen mounted high and contrasting with the present vogue for portrait-orientated screens that extend down into the dash. In this respect, it's starting to feel its age slightly compared with the likes of the Mercedes GLC.

Previous X3s were plagued by an over-firm ride, but the latest model is very well composed on rough surfaces. We haven't tried an example without BMW's optional Adaptive M Sport suspension system, but its ability to soak up bumps – even with big 20-inch alloy wheels fitted – make it well worth considering.

Just as impressive is the X3's internal quality. The dashboard is beautifully constructed and free of creaks and groans along bumpy roads. The materials used are top-notch throughout the passenger compartment, being both attractive and soft to touch. Leather is standard across the range, for a heightened impression of luxury, while gloss-black or aluminium touches pepper the interior and provide visual contrast.

BMW X3 dashboard

Rather than simply serving up a mass of hi-tech kit, everything about the X3 dashboard seems thoughtfully considered to be practical rather than maddeningly confusing to use every day.

The instrument cluster, with its digital displays, is clear and informative without resorting to information overload. Thankfully, the central display is close to hand and can be glanced at without your eyes straying from the road for longer than is wise.

Equipment

Buyers can choose between SE, xLine and M Sport specifications, with the M40d and M40i standing at the top of the range as performance versions. No matter which model you choose, you won't be disappointed by the list of standard equipment on board.

'Vernasca' leather upholstery is provided, as is three-zone climate control and ambient lighting. Sat nav is also present, operated by the iDrive rotary controller, and comes with real-time traffic information. Standard parking assistance and a reversing camera make low-speed manoeuvring easier, meanwhile. BMW's 'remote services' are also standard, enabling owners to check on their vehicle, lock or unlock its doors, set its climate control and even flash the headlights from a smartphone app.

The xLine adds sports seats to the above, together with eye-catching changes to the bumpers and metallic silver side sills, all of which are designed to emphasise the X3's off-road credentials. A special set of 19-inch wheels completes the transformation.

Upgrading to M Sport brings an aerodynamic body kit, a different design of 19-inch wheels and a broader range of paint colours, while the interior is enlivened with a special leather steering wheel, M-specific sports seats and a dark headliner. The 'Professional' Live Cockpit system is standard, too, which adds a 10.25-inch touchscreen, a 12.3-inch instrument display, BMW's latest iDrive 7.0 software and the option of gesture control.

M40i and M40d models get further styling upgrades like 20-inch wheels and a pair of rectangular exhaust pipes finished in dark chrome, plus electric memory seats and upgraded LED headlights with high-beam assist.

Options

X3 optional extras include a panoramic sunroof, a Harman Kardon stereo, a full colour head-up display and a wireless charging pad. Apple CarPlay connectivity is included but Android Auto doesn't even appear on the options list. Heated and cooled perforated leather 'climate' front seats are available, as are multi-adjustable comfort seats for passengers in the rear.

Next Steps

Which Is Best?

Cheapest

  • Name
    xDrive20i SE 5dr Step Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £40,340

Most Economical

  • Name
    xDrive 30e SE 5dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £48,345

Fastest

  • Name
    xDrive X3 M Competition 5dr Step Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £77,145

Have You Considered

Peugeot 3008 SUV review
Peugeot 3008 SUV front cornering
Peugeot 3008
16 Apr 2021

Peugeot 3008 SUV review

Toyota Highlander SUV review
Toyota Highlander SUV
Toyota Highlander
30 Mar 2021

Toyota Highlander SUV review

Most Popular

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
13 Apr 2021

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

What are Audi TFSI petrol engines?
Yellow Audi Q2
Audi
16 Apr 2021

What are Audi TFSI petrol engines?

Best new car deals 2021
Skoda Fabia
Deals
16 Apr 2021

Best new car deals 2021

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
13 Apr 2021

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Tips and advice
10 Nov 2020

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – what's the difference?
Tips and Advice
23 Mar 2020

PCP vs HP – what's the difference?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
24 Feb 2021

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Best car interiors
Best cars
10 Mar 2020

Best car interiors

Best electric cars
Best cars
24 Dec 2020

Best electric cars

Best cheap-to-run cars
Toyota Prius front 3/4 cornering
Best cars
1 Feb 2021

Best cheap-to-run cars

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks
Hot hatches
9 Apr 2020

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks