Donna Kelly has over 12 years of experience in the motoring industry, writing, test driving and tweeting about cars. Her weekends are spent trackside, covering racing events.
Now in its third iteration, the BMW X3 is a strong contender in the large SUV class. Lighter and more efficient than ever before, the latest X3 is a popular alternative to the plush Audi Q5, spacious Land Rover Discovery Sport and sporty Porsche Macan.
Our BMW X3 review covers:
At around the same size as the Audi Q5 and Mercedes GLC, the BMW X3 has a purposeful exterior design with its aggressive front end, double kidney grille, rakish headlamps and long, squared-off bonnet.
Inside, the X3 is practical and spacious with head and legroom similar to the Audi Q5. Storage options include decent-sized door pockets, a generous cubbyhole in the front armrest and a large glovebox.
At the rear, the X3’s 550-litre square boot more than fulfils the needs of an average family, although the Jaguar F-Pace is more spacious at 650-litres. The rear seats split in a 40/20/40 configuration and fold flat for more space, increasing the load space capacity to 1,600 litres. The boot’s low lip also helps to load heavy items easier, with its range of hooks, nets and decent under-floor storage helping to keep things in place.
Inside, the X3 boasts a slick cabin design inspired by the 5 Series Saloon. A tablet-style display takes centre stage, alongside slick switches and soft dashboard materials. All this gives the X3 a top-class feel throughout, outclassing the Audi Q5 and Mercedes GLC for build quality.
Three trim levels are available, including the SE, xLine and M Sport. The entry-level SE trim comes well equipped with leather seats, three-zone climate control, sat-nav and a rear camera included as standard.
The xLine trim adds a smarter exterior with off-road accents, more rugged detailing, sport seats, and 19-inch alloy wheels. M Sport models come with a sporty body-coloured body kit and a sportier cabin with a 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen. A top of the range M40i is also available but is considered a standalone model.
Under the bonnet, the X3 comes with a range of punchy and economical engines in petrol, diesel, plug-in hybrid form. Petrol options include a 182bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine (badged as xDrive20) which will suit city drivers, and a speedy M40i for sports-car performance.
Diesel options include a 187bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder model (badged xDrive20d) and a range-topping 282bhp 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine (badged xDrive30d). A M40d is also available for even more power.
Company car drivers should consider the petrol-electric plug-in hybrid (badged xDrive30e), which can travel up to 28 miles on electricity alone and, at 288bhp, offers a similar pace and range to its main rival, the Audi Q5 TFSIe. Electric versions are also available as the iX3 model, part of BMW’s ‘i’ electric car range.
In terms of ride, the X3 is more fun to drive than most family SUVs, with its eight-speed automatic gearbox making light work of stop-start traffic. Agile on the road, the X3 is more confident on twisty country roads than the Mercedes GLC and is close to the Q5 for driver enjoyment. A wide range of driver-assistance features also makes the X3 one of the safest family SUVs on sale.
Prices for the new BMW X3 start from £42,415.00 OTR* or to lease from £467.75 per month.
Fancy getting behind the wheel of the new BMW X3? Car leasing offers many benefits over buying outright via dealer finance or a bank loan, meaning you can lease the BMW X3 cheaper than you may think.
All of our lease deals include the full manufacturer’s warranty, road tax for the contract duration, and free mainland GB delivery (exclusions apply) direct to your door.
All of our X3 deals are supplied by BMW’s franchised UK dealer network, meaning we can not only offer you a great price but the trust and reliability that comes from a main dealership.
*'On the road' price correct at time of publication and typically includes one year’s road fund license, DVLA first registration fee and number plate fee. Always check with the manufacturer.