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BMW X3 Review

The 2016 BMW X3 ranks 3 out of 14 Luxury Compact SUVs. This ranking is based on our analysis of published reviews and test drives of the BMW X3, as well as reliability and safety data.

The 2016 BMW X3 is ranked:

With its athletic handling, powerful engines and incredibly roomy cabin, reviewers say the 2016 BMW X3 has few flaws aside from its slow engine stop/start system.

The base 2016 BMW X3 is powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that automotive writers agree provides strong acceleration. Still, a few would like a bit more power for highway passing. They add that models equipped with the available six-cylinder engine feel more powerful. While most are pleased with the available turbodiesel model, a few report that it isn't as quick as other models in the lineup. With an EPA-estimated 21/28 mpg city/highway, the X3 earns good fuel economy estimates for the class. However, some critics note that the engine stop/start function used to help conserve fuel can be slow to restart the engine after a stop. The BMW X3 earns praise for its supremely sharp handling through turns. They say the X3's steering is accurate and offers good road feedback. Reviewers say that despite the X3's somewhat firm ride quality, it’s a comfortable option for daily driving and lengthy trips. 

Test drivers rave about the 2016 BMW X3's incredibly roomy, comfortable seats and add that there's lots of rear-seat legroom, making it a great luxury compact SUV for families. They add that its cabin is well laid out and quiet. The X3 comes with BMW's iDrive infotainment system, satellite radio, Bluetooth, a USB port and a 10-year subscription to BMW Assist eCall, which can automatically notify first responders after a collision. For 2016, the X3 comes standard with enhanced USB and Bluetooth features, including an additional microphone, Bluetooth sync for a second phone, library browsing via Bluetooth, voice control for contacts and music and a Mobile Office system. Available features include leather seats, a surround-view camera system, navigation, a Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system, a head-up display, a panoramic moonroof, front and rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, active park assist and lane departure warning. The iDrive infotainment system takes a bit of getting used to, but is fairly straightforward and works well, reviewers agree. The audio and climate controls are also clearly labeled and easy to reach, they add. The BMW X3 has 63.3 cubic feet of overall cargo space, which is more than what most rivals offer. However, a few test drivers note that there are few interior storage compartments and the rear seats don’t fold completely flat.

  • "The 2016 BMW X3 is a leading light among compact luxury crossover SUVs. That's pretty remarkable for a vehicle in its sixth year of production, but the X3 pulls it off seemingly without breaking a sweat. Indeed, it's such a challenge to find fault with this crossover that our only 'Con' is its relatively high price. It kind of makes sense, after all, that you'd have to pay a little more for a nearly flawless product." -- Edmunds
  • "The 2016 BMW X3 is aimed at those who want to accent the 'sport' in their luxury sport-utility vehicle. The good news is that they're not giving up much on the 'utility' end, thanks to the X3's generous cargo area and selection of engines ranging from thrifty to powerful." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The X3 delivers the sportiness and refinement you expect from the brand in a package that's small but highly versatile." -- Consumer Guide (2015)
  • "The redesigned BMW X3 womps its predecessor in every way, including ride, handling, power, and equipment. It even trumps it in price by lopping around $2,100 off of the old model." -- Left Lane News (2015)

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Other SUVs to Consider

The Lexus NX's composed handling, comfortable ride and solid brakes impress reviewers. They add that the NX's cabin has modern styling, high-quality materials and supportive front seats. The NX has a lower base price than the X3. 

Auto writers praise the Infiniti QX50 for its sport sedan-like handling and precise steering, which they say make it a blast to drive. Its V6 engine is plenty powerful and its seven-speed automatic transmission is smooth, they report. They add that its cabin is opulent.

Compare the X3, NX and QX50 »

Details: 2016 BMW X3

The 2016 BMW X3 seats five and comes in sDrive28i, xDrive28i, xDrive28d and xDrive35i trims. The base X3 sDrive28i has rear-wheel drive, while all-wheel drive is standard on higher trims (designated xDrive). The X3 sDrive28i and xDrive28i come standard with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, and the X3 xDrive35i comes with a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine. The X3 xDrive28d has a turbodiesel 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard on all models. The X3 sees few changes since its redesign for the 2011 model year. As a result, this overview uses applicable research and reviews from the 2011 to 2016 model years.

See 2016 BMW X3 specs »

Review Last Updated: 7/27/15

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