BMW makes excellent SUVs, and it refreshed its popular entry in the premium compact class just two years ago for the last time before a redesigned X3 is due next year. The facelift coincided with the launch of another impressive contender to the premium throne in the form of the Genesis GV70. A redesigned Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class went on sale in the USA last year, making the current X3 one of the oldest cars in this class, along with the Audi Q5. It's not quite the sportiest drive - that honor belongs to the Stelvio and Macan - but it's still agile and composed. Fizzy turbocharged four-or six-cylinder engines offer either 248 or 382 horsepower, so there isn't a slow car in the X3 lineup. It offers an accomplished package, and its competence makes it hard to overlook. It's been slipping down the ranks, with newer rivals looming large in its rearview mirror. Does BMW's most popular SUV still cut the mustard in its twilight years?
The 2024 X3 continues on completely unchanged into the new model year in terms of its appearance, features, and specifications. The only difference is that the price of every 2024 BMW X3 trim increases a little - by $700 for the 30i trims and by $900 for the M40i.
This year, the base price of a new BMW X3 sDrive30 increases from $46,200 to $46,900, while the xDrive30i increases to $48,900. The only difference between these two trims is the addition of xDrive AWD to the latter. The most expensive trim is the M40i, which will cost you $61,900. Take note that this pricing is MSRP and excludes the $995 destination fee.
The M40i is the most exciting trim, and with its thoroughbred inline six-cylinder engine and storming performance, it's everything a quick BMW SUV should be, but without that hard edge of the M models that can make them uncompromising in daily use. If the budget doesn't stretch that far, a $13k-$15k saving will bag you one of the 30i trims, which scores on fuel economy and still provides more than decent performance - and you even get a choice between rear-wheel drive and xDrive all-wheel drive. There really isn't a dud in the range.
The cabin shows its age compared to newer BMWs with separate displays for the gauge cluster and infotainment, but it still looks and feels premium.
Unlike modern BMWs, the aging X3's dashboard isn't topped by one large curved digital display. It does get dual displays, but the gauge cluster is tucked underneath its own hood, and the touchscreen is to the right by itself above the center vents. The layout is clean and logical, and all the controls are easy to use. BMW doesn't force you to stab at the touchscreen for everything and retains a rotary controller as an alternative means to manipulate the system. The materials are of high quality, but the cabin doesn't have quite the luxurious feel of the GLC's or the sense of occasion of the GV70's. Interior space is good, and on par with its rivals, and it's easy to get inside thanks to low sills and big, tall doors. The glasshouse is unobstructed, the seats comfortable and supportive, and the view out commanding. It's easy to park, thanks to compact headrests making it easy to see out, and parking sensors front and rear.
The X3 has a shorter wheelbase than rivals such as the GLC, but there isn't much in it, and its space utilization is good. It's nearly as roomy inside as most rivals, and headroom is plentiful, even in the second row. The seats are supportive, and the front ones are adjustable in many directions, along with an adjustable steering wheel, making it easy for anyone to get comfortable.
Trunk space is at the better end of the class, and with an impressive 28.7 cu-ft available behind the second row, the X3 beats the GLC's 21.9 cu-ft by a comfortable margin and almost matches the GV70's 28.9 cu-ft. But the BMW comes out on top with its 40/20/20-split rear seat folded flat, liberating a total trunk volume of 62.7 cu-ft - an excellent figure and sufficient to fit up to 20 carry-on bags. There's handy hidden-away storage under the trunk floor as well.
Cabin storage is generous, with front and rear cupholders, four big door pockets with bottle holders, a lidded center-console storage bin, and a glovebox some of the expected ones. There are other nooks and crannies strewn about the cabin as well, including two front seatback pockets. The rear cupholders in the fold-down center armrest bear special mention for flipping open with nifty side supports to hold even tall metal coffee mugs securely.
|BMW X3||Audi Q5||Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class SUV|
|5 Seater||5 Seater||5 Seater|
|41.1 in. front|
39.1 in. rear
|38.1-39.6 in. front|
37.7-39.3 in. rear
|41.3 in. front |
39.7 in. rear
|40.3 in. front|
36.4 in. rear
|40.9 in. front|
38 in. rear
|40.7 in. front |
37.4 in. rear
|28.7-62.7 ft³||25.8-54 ft³||21.9-56.3 ft³|
Perforated Sensatec leatherette covers the seats in every X3 - even the M40i - a little disappointing, considering every Audi Q5 trim comes with genuine leather as standard. Be that as it may, the Sensatec is of very good quality, and you get a choice of several interior colors, the default being black/black; other color schemes include Canberra Beige/black, Tacora Red/black, and Cognac/black. Vernasca leather upholstery costs $1,500 extra, and the available color schemes are black/black, Mocha/black, Oyster/black, and Cognac/black.
The standard interior trim is rendered in Dark Oak Wood, but you can also opt for three other no-cost options, namely aluminum, Fine Wood open-pored Ash Grain, and Smoke Grey Aluminum Rhombicle. The M40i adds one additional choice - carbon fiber at $300. A steering wheel and shift knob trimmed in leather are standard on all trims. The M40i's dashboard is trimmed in Sensatec, and this is a $350 option on the other trims.
The baseline level of equipment is reasonable, with keyless entry, push-button start, 12-way power front seats, dual-zone climate control, a 10.25-inch digital gauge cluster, a garage-door opener, and a manually adjustable tilting/telescoping steering wheel trimmed in leather. The shifter knob gets leather too, but the seats are covered in Sensatec leatherette, and heating for them costs extra. The two 30i trims get all the same features, but the M40i gets a few more, besides its more powerful engine; these include a panoramic moonroof and a larger 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster.
The infotainment system on the base cars comprises a 10.25-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a Wi-Fi hotspot, navigation, over-the-air updates, remote vehicle monitoring via an app, and a 12-speaker audio system. The M40i gets a larger 12.3-inch touchscreen. A wireless charger is a $500 option, and a 16-speaker Harman Kardon audio system will cost you $875. You can still control infotainment functions with a rotary controller, giving you an extra option to just poking at the screen.
|Power front seats|
|Wi-Fi and navigation|
|16-speaker Harman Kardon audio|
|Heated and ventilated front seats|
Even the base engine performs well and returns excellent economy figures, with a well-sorted eight-speed auto making for a refined and responsive driving experience.
The familiar turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine in the BMW X3 30i trims develops 248 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The four-pot can be had in RWD sDrive30i or AWD xDrive30i drivetrain configurations, but the performance figures for both are the same - a 0-60 sprint in six seconds and a top speed of 130 mph. The M40i comes with the ubiquitous turbocharged B58 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder with a stout 382 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque and AWD only, giving this BMW X3 a 0-60 time of just 4.4 seconds, though the top speed can be increased to 155 mph with the optional performance tires fitted. The six-pot incorporates a mild-hybrid system. All X3s use a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission. The available eight inches of ground clearance will see you successfully traverse rough roads, but like other soft-roaders in this class, the X3 lacks off-road goodies such as dual-range transmission, so it can't take on the rough stuff. Trailering is very good; the X3 has a towing capacity of up to 4,400 lbs.
The X3 exhibits very satisfactory driving manners, even amidst newer rivals. The ride is firmly damped but comfortable, and it will take on rough roads without jarring its occupants. Yet, it can tackle corners without losing its cool. It lacks the sense of fun and the athleticism of a Stelvio or Macan, but it's better than most and will corner with surprising verve for an SUV. The brakes haul it down without fuss, and the superbly calibrated eight-speed ZF automatic changes gear quickly and smoothly - and it never seems to be in the wrong gear in Sport mode. The M40i is, of course, a blast to drive, with truly rapid performance but far better comfort than the harsh X3 M, especially with the excellent adaptive dampers fitted.
Gas mileage has always been a BMW strong point, and so it proves, with the BMW X3's mgp figures being right at the top of the class. The RWD four-cylinder returns 23/29/25 mpg on the EPA's city/highway/combined cycles, with the AWD just behind it with 21/28/24 mpg. The M40i's mild-hybrid assistance means it's nearly as good as the four-cylinder cars, with figures of 21/26/23 mpg. With a fuel capacity of 17.2 gallons, bargain on a range of between 396 and 430 miles.
|2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas|
|2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas|
|3.0L Turbo Inline-6 Gas |
|248 hp||248 hp||382 hp|
|130 mph||130 mph||130 mph (155 mph with performance tires)|
|23 / 29 / 25 mpg||21 / 28 / 24 mpg||21 / 26 / 23 mpg|
|6 sec.||6 sec.||4.4 sec.|
Standard driver assists are a little skimpy, and most of the big-ticket items cost extra as part of packages, but crash ratings are excellent.
The 2024 NHTSA safety review of the BMW X3 sees it emerge with a five-star overall rating, while the IIHS gave the 2023 model top scores and a Top Safety Pick+ award.
As standard, the X3 comes with driver assists such as a backup camera, automatic LED headlights, a garage-door opener, rain-sensing wipers, front and rear parking sensors, front-collision alert, hill-hold assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane-departure alert. The $1,700 Driver Assistance package adds features such as active lane-keep and lane-change assist, automatic emergency braking, evasive steering assist, and traffic-jam assist. The $700 Parking Assistance package includes a surround-view camera and automated steering for parallel or perpendicular parking. A head-up display is part of the $1,350 Premium package that also includes other features.
|Blind-spot monitoring & cross-traffic alert|
In JD Power's appraisal of the BMW X3's reliability, the 2024 model scored a very good 82 out of 100 for the agency's Quality & Reliability test. This result is borne out by a complete lack of recalls so far for the 2023 and 2024 models. The 2022 X3 was recalled for a leaky fuel rail and transmission.
A decent warranty covers the 2024 BMW X3, with both the limited and powertrain warranties running for four years/50,000 miles. BMW also includes complimentary servicing for three years/36,000 miles.
There's nothing exceptional about the X3 exterior styling, and it retains the sober lines of a conventional SUV, eschewing the showy and impractical receding roofline of the coupe-like X4. It benefited from a 2022 facelift and, despite its relative age, displays clear signs of the ever-growing kidney grille and ever-shrinking headlights typical of modern BMWs. All trims get LED headlights, a power liftgate, and a roof spoiler, and they all wear 19-inch alloy wheels, but the wheels on the M40i are of a sportier M Y-spoke design, while this trim also gets a body kit, a Shadowline black-out trim package, and a moonroof, the latter item an option on the four-cylinder cars. The 30i trims can be made to look more like the M40i with an optional M Sport exterior package that comes with the Shadowline package and the M40i's wheels.
The BMW X3 still does most things superbly well, even in its last year on the market. It's a high-quality product with a roomy cabin, a big trunk, and excellent driving manners. It does nothing badly and is a consummate all-rounder, but what it misses out on regarding a few standard features, it makes up for in three years of maintenance cover, so it really does cover all bases. But the GLC is all-new, and the GV70 an extremely accomplished newcomer at a lower starting price, so the X3 is starting to fall behind more as a function of the competition heating up than any failing of the car itself. Fans are no doubt awaiting the next-generation X3 due next year with bated breath. We'd also hold out for it.
The most popular competitors of 2024 BMW X3: