Despite being an SUV, the BMW X3 will surprise you with its fun-to-drive attitude, which has long been a hallmark of the brand’s sports sedans. The inside of the X3 is premium, with accommodation for five passengers and a wide cargo compartment. It’s comfy and relaxing to drive on a daily basis, but it’s also agile and fun to carve along twisty back roads with. Engine options range from a turbocharged four-cylinder to a plug-in hybrid and a twin-turbo six-cylinder, all of which confidently propel the X3.
A user-friendly infotainment system and various standard safety features are also highlights of the X3. This results in an SUV that is as delightful to drive as it is functional.
Major Changes Over The Years
The following are the most significant changes to the BMW X3 in recent years:
- 2018: complete redesign (start of the third generation) with the new exterior styling, upgraded infotainment system, and stronger basic engine; release of performance-oriented X3 M40i model; discontinuation of turbodiesel engine.
- 2019: rear-wheel-drive model introduced; previously optional front collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and parking sensors now standard.
- 2020: It marks the introduction of plug-in hybrid and high-performance M vehicles.
- 2021: Android Auto support has been added; blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning are now standard.
The BMW X3 30i has a 248-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine, an eight-speed automatic transmission, and rear-wheel drive as standard. All-wheel-drive is an option. This engine propels the X3 around town and is quickly up to speed. It takes only six seconds to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph. At motorway speeds, there is plenty of passing power, and the transmission gives smooth yet quick gear changes.
This 30i model will satisfy the majority of drivers. If not, there are three more options: a 288-horsepower plug-in hybrid four-cylinder (xDrive30e), a 382-horsepower turbocharged straight-six (M40i), and a 473-horsepower twin-turbocharged straight-six (M40i) (X3 M).
The xDrive30e plug-in hybrid provides the benefit of silent all-electric driving and feels somewhat faster in stop-and-go city driving than the 30i model. The X3 M40i is a blast to drive, with a 4.4-second zero-to-60-mph time and an inline-six engine that revs smoothly and eagerly. The X3 M feels incredibly speedy. It can reach 60 mph in four seconds, has an immediate throttle response, and the engine continues to deliver power long beyond legal speed limits.
Read More: Used BMW X4 Is A Top Pick
The BMW X3 achieves an excellent combination of on-road agility and ride comfort, two characteristics that rarely coexist. When negotiating tight curves, the X3 feels quite steady and composed, the steering is responsive and well-weighted, and the brakes slow the SUV down aggressively. The basic suspension gently absorbs road bumps and dips, giving it a smooth and soothing ride. The M Sport suspension, which is available on the M40i and other M models, produces even sharper driving characteristics. However, the ride quality gets twitchy on bad surfaces. Maintain the usual configuration.
The X3 has the kind of controlled and pleasurable handling that BMW is known for. Unfortunately, the steering is also typical of a recent BMW. The wheel is too simple to spin on the Comfort setting, making it a touch imprecise. The Sport option adds more heaviness and velocity, but there’s still not much feel coming through the wheel.
Read More: Used BMW M8 Is A Good Car
Before you even tick a single option box, the X3’s attractive interior is well-equipped; 10-way power-adjustable front seats with adjustable side bolsters make it easy to reach a comfortable position. Rear-seat passengers enjoy reclining seatbacks, and the padding on all seats is comfortable enough for extended excursions. The rest of the X3’s cabin is attractive and neatly put together, with well-chosen materials and tight panel gaps. The glossy wood grain trim on our test vehicle looked and felt real despite being plastic; the stitched faux-leather dash and door coverings, as well as the nickel-finish metal trim, provide an extra sense of luxury. In our carry-on suitcase test, the X3 performed around average for the segment.
Seven carry-ons fit behind the second row—enough for each occupant to have one, with a capacity for two more—and 20 carry-ons fit with the rear seats folded. The Cadillac XT5 is the cargo-hauling champ in this sector, and heavy transporters should put it on their shortlist.
The X3’s cabin is roomy and well-designed. The majority of controls are immediately understandable. The huge doors translate to large openings, and the sills are low enough that there is no need to step up into the cabin. All instrumentation is easily visible thanks to various driver seat and steering wheel modifications. All passengers have ample headroom, and even tall individuals have enough foot and legroom.
Read More: Used BMW X1 Is A Thrilling SUV
The BMW X3 features a large 10.2-inch touchscreen. This screen responds quickly to inputs and has vibrant visuals. The menu layout is simple, and the location of the display at the top of the dashboard makes it easy to see and use while driving. You don’t have to tap or swipe on the screen to operate every function because there are multiple buttons on the dashboard and steering wheel, as well as a knob and touchpad on the center console.
Wireless Users can combine their smartphone interfaces on the touch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which are available. Overall, this is one of the easiest-to-use infotainment systems in the luxury compact SUV class.
- Standard infotainment features: a 10.2-inch touch screen, navigation, Apple CarPlay, a Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth, two USB ports, HD Radio, satellite radio, and a 12-speaker stereo
- Available infotainment features: Android Auto, a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, a 16-speaker Harman Kardon stereo, a gesture control system, and wireless device charging
- Additional standard features: tri-zone automatic climate control, remote keyless entry, push-button start, and a power liftgate
- Other available features: proximity keyless entry, a hands-free power liftgate, rear sunshades, and a panoramic moonroof
Also Read: Used BMW M5 Is Great
The EPA-rated city/highway fuel economy for the BMW X3 sDrive30i and xDrive30i models is 25/29 mpg and 23/29 mpg, respectively, which is excellent for a luxury small SUV. The M40i model achieves 21 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the interstate. The X3 M model has a 14/19 mpg rating.
The X3 xDrive30e plug-in hybrid achieves a combined city/highway fuel economy of 24 mpg and can go up to 17 miles on battery power alone. It takes roughly 11.5 hours to recharge its 12-kWh lithium-ion battery pack using a 120-volt domestic power source. A 240-volt household outlet or a Level 2 public charger can fully recharge the pack in around 3.5 hours.
Also Read: Used BMW M4 Is Reliable
Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking with forward-collision warning
- Standard lane-departure warning
- Available adaptive cruise control
Despite being a small SUV, the steering, handling, and engine sound of the X3 convey driving exhilaration. These characteristics make it more fun to snake up a mountain road or barrel through a motorway on-ramp than other vehicles in the segment. The X3 has an instantly recognizable form that resembles a smaller X5, which is a good thing. However, we are less impressed with the interior, which lacks the richness found in competitors. The infotainment system is very simple to use. There are less expensive choices in this class, but the X3’s overall elegance makes it worthwhile to pay the extra money.
Also Read: Used BMW M3 Is A Fantastic Sports Sedan
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the BMW X3 reliable?
The expected reliability score for the 2021 X3 is 81 out of 100. A J.D. Power predicted reliability score of 91-100 is considered the best, 81-90 is considered great, 70-80 is considered acceptable, and 0-69 is considered fair and below average.
Is the BMW X3 a good used SUV?
The BMW X3 is an excellent second hand SUV. With powerful engines, nimble handling, and a pleasant ride, it’s more athletic than many other luxury compact SUVs. It also achieves better-than-average gas mileage and comes in three high-performance versions. The cabin lacks the oomph of other competitors’ interiors, but it has a lot of space, a lot of cargo capacity, and a lot of features.
Is the BMW X3 being phased out?
No, BMW has not revealed any intentions to phase out the X3 by 2022.
Is the BMW X3 expensive to maintain?
During the first ten years of ownership, a BMW X3 will cost approximately $17,711 in maintenance and repairs. This is $1,997 higher than the industry average for luxury SUV models. During that time, there is also a 54.61% possibility that an X3 will require extensive repairs. This is 15.05% worse than comparable vehicles in this segment. The graph below depicts how these costs and repair chances will rise over time.
What problems does the BMW X3 have?
The common problems with the BMW X3 include engine oil leaks, broken timing chain guides, and sunroof leaks and rattles.