BMW X3 Review

Gumtree Rating

4.0 rating

First launched in 2004, the BMW X3 is a luxury SUV with enough space for the whole family. Available in both petrol and diesel, and with manual and automatic transmission, the X3 is agile and fun to drive without compromising on passenger comfort. It’s a high-end car and prices do reflect this – if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, consider pre-2011 models, as the second generation will cost a little more. However, it’s worth being aware that some common issues crop up on the older models, and BMW parts are also pretty pricey.

Are you up for learning what the BMW X3 has to offer?

What we think about the BMW X3

The BMW X3 is a fun yet family-friendly SUV that’s perfect if you’re looking for luxury.



Fun to drive


Handsome design


Spacious backseat for kids or adults


Low fuel efficiency

Some engine issues on older diesel models

The 2016 2.0-litre diesel edition of the BMW X3 comes with an 8-speed gearbox and automatic transmission. It’s rated as doing 30 mpg, and can hit a top speed of 150 mph. The X3 has five doors, five seats and comes in three trim levels: the sDrive30i, xDrive30i and the sporty M40i.

Driving performance of the Bmw X3

Our Driving Rating9 / 10

The BMW X3’s responsive steering and all-around good handling make it a really fun drive. All models are four-wheel drive, offering great traction on muddy and icy surfaces and making it easy to handle safely. Sporty performance doesn’t mean a rough ride either – the comfortable suspension provides a smooth ride for passengers. Versions with the M Sport trim do have a firmer suspension, giving a slightly less gentle ride, which may not be the best choice for school runs and family expeditions. A top priority for city dwellers, the X3 is reasonably easy to park, even though its length can sometimes make finding a space tricky (the rear parking sensors do come in handy).

Safety and reliability of the Bmw X3

Our Safety Rating8 / 10

Although the exact list of features varies slightly by year, the BMW X3 is well-equipped for safety. 2014 models feature dynamic brake and stability control, six airbags, rollover sensors and active front headrests. The 2018 model adds forward collision warning, fatigue detection, blind-spot monitoring, as well as warnings for speed signs. All years feature ISOFIX points in the back for car seats. The X3 has a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating for all models made in 2011 or later – however older models only received four, so go for a newer version if you want better safety tech. Older diesel models are also prone to engine and turbo issues, though models from 2011 onwards resolved these.

Under the bonnet of the Bmw X3

Our Engine Rating9 / 10

The X3 is available in a range of engine sizes and transmission options to suit different driving styles and conditions. Since 2011, 8-speed automatic transmission has been an option for petrol and diesel models. From 2018 onwards, the X3 was only available as an 8-speed automatic petrol vehicle, with engine size options from 2.0-litre to 4.4-litre. Whatever your preference, you won’t be left behind on the motorway, as even the smallest engines offer plenty of acceleration. The 2016 2.0-litre diesel X3 has 180 horsepower with a top speed of 180 mph and can go from 0-60 in 8 seconds. The 2018 3.0-litre petrol version is even quicker off the mark, doing 0-60 in just 4.8 seconds.

What you'll find in the Bmw X3

Our Design Rating7 / 10

Available in four colour options, the X3 is a flashy yet handsome SUV that will turn heads with its stylish aluminium exterior. Its dimensions vary depending on production year; 2018 models are 4.7m long and 2m across, while the pre-2011 first generation models are noticeably smaller when compared side-by-side. The X3 is available in three trim options in addition to the standard version – SE, Sport and M Sport. Each of these offers some extra features – for example, rear parking sensors were introduced on the SE version before they became standard in 2010.

Comfort and interiors in the Bmw X3

Our Comfort Rating7 / 10

The BMW X3’s large dimensions mean it has a spacious, comfortable interior with plenty of head and legroom for front and rear passengers. The backseat is large enough to accommodate three adults or car seats and can be folded flat to double the boot space if required. It’s still a sizeable boot with the seats up, and it easily swallows a buggy and some shopping. The interior varies slightly with trims, but in general isn’t quite as plush or robust as you’d expect from BMW – full leather seats aren’t standard for all years and trims, for example.

BMW X3 interior rear seats

What features you'll find in the Bmw X3

Our Features Rating7 / 10

As you’d expect with any BMW, the X3 has plenty of high-end features and accessories such as multi-zone climate control, an electric tailgate and in-car navigation. Bluetooth and USB connections come as standard but Android Auto and Apple CarPlay don’t, even on the top trims. A touchscreen display showing rear and surround camera views and controlling the infotainment system has been standard since 2014, and more recent top-trim models also feature a heads-up driver display for navigation and key metrics. The number and spec of speakers included in the BMW X3 depends on the year and trim, but all offer quality in-car sound.

What fuel efficiency to expect from the Bmw X3

Our Fuel Consumption Rating7 / 10

Given it’s engine sizes you get decent numbers out of the X3, but it’s still underperforms compared to other mid-size SUVs. As a general rule, the manual transmission models are slightly more efficient than the automatics. The 2016 2.0-litre manual diesel does 30 mpg and emits 160 g/km of carbon dioxide. Petrol models are less efficient than the diesel equivalent, but tend to have better emissions ratings.

Running costs of the Bmw X3

Our Cost Rating7 / 10

Its large engine size and classy features put the BMW X3 in the higher end of insurance categories – the smallest engine and lowest trim are rated at insurance group 28, while other combinations may be rated at up to group 40. Its large tank gives it a good range, but means fuelling up isn’t cheap. Spare parts are easy to get hold of but can be expensive, and the older (pre-2011) diesel models have some known engine issues, so be sure to check the service history.

Our verdict of the Bmw X3

4.0 rating

4 / 5 Gumtree rating

The BMW X3 is a luxurious yet practical car that's both fun and family-friendly. It can be expensive to run, however, and older models are lacking in reliability and safety tech.