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#6

in 2011 Luxury Compact SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $27,363 - $29,801
Original MSRP: $36,750 - $41,050
MPG: - TBD - City / - TBD - Hwy
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2011 BMW X3 Interior

This interior review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

Reviewers are pleasantly surprised by the interior of the 2011 BMW X3. While the outgoing model got raspberries for its stark interior design and cramped rear seats, most reviewers say the 2011 X3 has interior materials in line with its price. The added size also means most passengers will be comfortable and there’s more cargo space. Another bonus on the 2011 X3 is the additional standard features – an iPod interface and Bluetooth are included to keep pace with what the competition.

  • "Overall, the interior quality is a quantum leap above the outgoing model's.” -- Car and Driver
  • "As athletic as it seems, however, this particular X3 is also an aesthete, with optional leather-upholstered buckets and bolsters (vinyl leatherette is standard), glossy wood inserts and knurled knobs." -- Edmunds
  • "Not only will drivers appreciate the changes wrought in the new X3. The rear seat is noticeably more spacious and the cargo compartment has grown by almost two-and-a-half cubic feet to 19.4 cu-ft." -- Motor Trend 
  • "The most noticeable improvement over the outgoing X3 is cabin space; we drove to the test venue in a current X3, and it felt cramped. Transferring to a new X3, I immediately sensed the increased shoulder room and improved rear leg room." -- Road and Track
  • "Advanced technology is plentiful, neatly integrated, and, for the most part, genuinely user-friendly. Even the infamously confounding iDrive interface seems easy to navigate nowadays. The downside (and it's a minor one) is that the new X3's cabin is a bit less commodious than that of the outgoing model. Front-seat legroom and rear-seat headroom are down marginally, and the center console seems a bit broader than it needs to be." -- Automobile Magazine  

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Seating

Reviewers used to complain that the five-seat BMW X3 had a cramped backseat. That’s no longer a problem with the 2011 model. Now, not only are the front seats comfortable and supportive enough for spirited driving, but the backseats can seat adults and keep them happy, a feat few luxury crossover SUVs can claim. However, not all test drivers agree. One or two say the X3 doesn’t have enough front or rear leg room. Decide if the BMW X3 is comfortable enough for your family on a test drive. If you don’t think it has enough space, move to the Audi Q5, another roomy model.

One downside is that the X3 doesn’t come with standard leather seats, a feature shoppers might expect from a car that costs more than $36,000. If you’re looking for this feature, the Infiniti EX and Audi Q5 have standard leather seating for five.

  • “A lower center tunnel and additional space between the center console and the rear seat facilitates side-to-side transfers. While the center seating position is stiffly padded to accommodate a fold-down armrest with cupholders, there is ample head, leg, and shoulder room to carry three adults in a pinch and two in comfort." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "But the more tangible benefit of the growth --the new X3 is almost as large as the first-generation X5 --is a rear seat wherein a pair of adults may reside comfortably without developing knee calluses from constant rubbing against the front seatbacks." -- Car and Driver
  • "Inside the cabin, the 2011 BMW X3 xDrive35i greets you just like the rest of the BMW family does. You're welcomed to snug seating with multiple adjustments; a steering wheel with a soft, meaty rim and a chalky grip; and driver-oriented cockpit-style controls." -- Edmunds
  • "Front and rear legroom are not one of the 2011 BMW X3's strongest suits." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "All of the seats are comfortable and supportive, especially the optional sport chairs fitted to our tester. Rear seat passenger room isn't as generous as the X3's size would lead you to believe, and the back seats cannot be moved forward or backward, something that would help greatly, especially when longer-legged folks are seated in the front." -- Autoblog

Interior Features

The 2011 BMW X3 comes with more standard features than the outgoing model. On the base xDrive 28i, buyers get features like an iPod interface and Bluetooth. Optional features include smartphone integration that lets Blackberry owners read emails from the car’s navigation screen (when the car is stopped), a rearview camera, navigation and even heads up display, which shows the X3’s instrument readouts on the car’s windshield so you don’t have to take your eyes off the road.

One thing that may give buyers pause is that iDrive is standard on the X3. iDrive is an infotainment system that controls many of the cars comfort and entertainment features with a single knob. By and large, reviewers don’t like how iDrive works on other BMW models, but they haven’t tested it extensively on the 2011 X3.

  • "Inside the 2011 BMW X3, you'll find tasteful wood trim, intuitive audio and climate controls, and comfortable, supportive seats. You'll also notice the standard iDrive and 8.8-inch information screens, an electronic parking brake as well as the same futuristic-looking automatic transmission shifter (you'll know what we mean when you see it) that's been introduced across the lineup." -- Kelley Blue Book

Cargo

The 2011 X3 is larger than the old model. Now, reviewers say that with more space, the X3 is even more practical. With the second row in place, the X3 has 19 cubic feet of cargo space. With all seats folded, there is 56.6 cubic feet of space. These figures, however, are low for the class. By comparison the Audi Q5 offers 29.1 cubic feet with the rear seats in use.

A handy optional feature is the folding rear seat. While the standard rear seat folds 60/40, buyers can opt for a rear seat that folds in three sections (40/20/40). That gives more flexibility for hauling passengers and gear.

  • "Moving the rear wheels outboard and increasing the hatch's opening width has done wonders for the space and utility provided by the cargo hold. Door panel pockets are now large enough to carry 1-liter beverage bottles." -- Automobile Magazine
  • “The luggage space, accessed through a one-piece tailgate, is wide and regularly shaped." -- Motor Trend