- Composed driving manners
- Fun-loving M40i model
- Good cargo capacity
- Questionable reliability
- Some of the interior feels cheap
- Lacks standard tech and driver-assist features
BMW X3 Expert Review
- Front and rear parking sensors added
- Forward collision warning now standard
- Sport steering wheel included on M40i
Introduced for the 2004 model year, the X3 offers upscale trimmings and sporty performance with the practicality of a compact SUV. The current third generation X3 went on sale for 2018 with a choice of turbocharged engines.
For 2019, all models get front and rear parking sensors, plus forward collision warning, as standard equipment. In the M40i model, an M sport steering wheel is now included.
The BMW X3 offers a great combination of luxury, performance, and practicality. Still, a few functionality complaints and lingering reliability concerns (based on our experience driving one for a year) tarnish its appeal.
One thing's for sure: The X3 drives very well. Handling is lively and accurate, and its brakes inspire confidence. The standard turbo-four engine delivers smooth power, but the I-6 in the M40i is highly entertaining with its added quickness and sweet sounds.
Interior appointments are mostly nice, but material choices in some areas feel sub-luxurious. The center console is cluttered with numerous buttons. Frustratingly, there's just one standard USB port, and that BMW only includes trial access to Apple CarPlay is disappointing.
Over its year in our long-term test fleet, the X3 M40i was plenty of fun and very practical. But it had reliability problems. Issues like noisy suspension and a leaky roof meant that our X3 spent time in the shop.
Ultimately, the BMW X3 is a well-executed and well-rounded compact luxury SUV. Yet it doesn't advance the segment enough to be a true standout.
Regardless of engine choice, the X3 uses an eight-speed automatic transmission. The basic engine, designated 30i, is a 2.0-liter turbo-four producing 248 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Models with an sDrive badge are RWD, while xDrive indicates AWD. In MotorTrend testing, an X3 xDrive30i accelerated from 0-60 mph in 6.3 seconds. EPA-rated fuel economy is 23/30 mpg for RWD models and 22/29 mpg for AWD models.
Models designated M40i are equipped with a turbocharged 3.0-liter I-6 engine. Output measures 382 hp and 365 lb-ft. xDrive AWD is included on the X3 M40i. MotorTrend measured a 4.8-second 0-60 mph acceleration time from the M40i model. Fuel economy from the EPA lists at 20/27 mpg.
From the NHTSA, the X3 earns a five-star (out of five) overall safety rating, which factors five-star front- and side-crash scores with a four-star rollover score. The IIHS deems the X3 a 2019 Top Safety Pick + when equipped with the available LED projector headlights and optional Driving Assistance package. Regardless, it earns the top Good score in all crashworthiness tests. When the Driving Assistance package is chosen, the X3's front crash prevention system earns a Superior score, the highest, as it avoided collisions in both 12-mph and 25-mph tests.
Standard driver-assist and active safety features include forward collision warning and front and rear parking sensors. Adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist and lane departure warning, blind spot monitors, and front and rear cross-traffic alert are optional extras.
Cargo volume behind the X3's second row measures 28.7 cubic feet. With the standard 40/20/40 split-folding second row seat folded, maximum cargo capacity is 62.7 cubic feet.
Front-row headroom measures 41.1 inches, which compares to 41.7 inches in the Audi Q5. The X3's second-row headroom of 39.1 inches is just below the Q5's 39.3 inches. Front-row legroom is 40.3 inches in the BMW, and 41.0 inches in the Audi. Second-row legroom is 36.4 inches in the X3, a bit less than 37.8 inches in the Q5.
The X3's standard infotainment touchscreen measures 8.8 inches. An optional 10.3-inch touchscreen adds GPS navigation. In either case, a one-year trial of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is included. Entry-level models have a 5.7-inch gauge cluster information display, but higher-end models get a 12.3-inch all-digital gauge cluster. One USB port is standard, with a second optional. Available technology upgrades include a head-up display, Wi-Fi hotspot compatibility, wireless device charging, a 360-degree view camera system, semi-autonomous self-parking. The standard audio system has 12 speakers, but a 16-speaker premium setup is available.
2019 BMW X3 sDrive30i and xDrive30i
Exterior: 18-inch alloy wheels, power-folding side mirrors, chrome exhaust tips, aluminum window trim and roof rails, LED headlights, taillights, and fog lights
Interior: Leatherette seating upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, 8.8-inch infotainment display, 5.7-inch gauge cluster display,
Convenience: Power tailgate, universal garage door opener, front and rear parking sensors, rain-sensing windshield wipers, three-zone climate control
2019 BMW X3 M40i
Exterior: 19-inch alloy wheels, sport-inspired styling, black window trim and roof rails, adaptive LED headlights, panoramic moonroof
Interior: 10.3-inch infotainment display, sport steering wheel, sport pedals
Convenience: Hands-free keyless entry, automatic high beams