Avg. Price Paid:$33,492 - $36,308
Original MSRP: $37,100 - $42,700
MPG: 19 City / 25 Hwy
Search Used Listings:

2012 BMW X3 Review

Review Last Updated: 10/9/13

These scores and this review are from when the car was new.

If you’re looking for a sporty luxury crossover, the 2012 BMW X3 is a good choice, but reviewers think its powertrain needs a few improvements.

The 2012 BMW X3 is a good option for buyers looking for a sport-tuned luxury SUV, but it does have its faults. Most test drivers complaints are performance-related. Though the X3 has a smooth-shifting automatic transmission and engines with ample power, critics have noticed that the X3 is hesitant from a stop, and the lack of a manual transmission means performance isn’t as sporty as it could be.

In a class that puts sporty performance before practicality, the X3 offers good cargo and passenger space while features like BMW Mobile Office help keep parents connected. The system can provide calendar updates while you're on the road, making it easy to keep the entire family on schedule. You can also opt for a back seat iPad holder, which attaches an iPad to the back of the front seats, allowing kids in the back to watch videos or play games. Unlike built-in rear-seat entertainment systems, with the BMW iPad holder, little passengers can take the entertainment with them when the ride is over. Because of these family features, as well as the X3's good safety scores and roomy cabin and cargo accommodations, the 2012 BMW X3 is our Best Luxury Compact SUV for Families.

As a whole, test drivers say the X3 is a great vehicle and is well worth your consideration, as long as you’re willing to overlook a few faults.

Other Compact SUVs to Consider

Like the X3, the Audi Q5 is known for its German engineering, but some reviewers prefer its performance abilities over the X3’s. With the Q5, you’ll get standard all-wheel drive, higher fuel economy ratings and more cargo space, all for less than the X3’s base price.

If you have the money to spend, consider the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque. This all-new model is the most expensive in the class, but if you’re into brand names, people will know you spent a pretty penny on this crossover. Its comes with more standard features than the X3, and like other Land Rovers, it has standard four-wheel drive and a terrain response system, though you may want to think twice before taking this luxury vehicle off-road.

Details: BMW X3

The 2012 BMW X3 comes in two trims: xDrive28i and xDrive35i. There haven’t been many changes to the X3 for the 2012 model year, but some minor adjustments to both models include updated packages, including a new M sport package, standard high-gloss interior trim and standard floor mats. The xDrive35i trim now has a standard panoramic sunroof, and the sports activity package includes 19-inch double-spoke wheels.

See the full list of 2012 BMW X3 specs.

  • "The X3 SUV's raison d'etre is simple: Combine the best attributes of a BMW chassis and powertrain with a more practical and accommodating passenger compartment. At that the X3 succeeds wonderfully, with a truly planted dynamic and a cut-and-thrust capability fully in tune with today's urban driving." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "BMW's X3 delivers the sportiness and refinement you expect from the brand in a package that's small but highly versatile. Non-linear throttle response remains an annoyance, at least on the base xDrive28i model, but this premium-compact SUV has enough other positive attributes to make it worth your consideration. Just keep an eye on the bottom line. Base prices are reasonable, but they quickly move upward when options are added." -- Consumer Guide
  • "After our brief exposure, we'd say that the new X3 finally has exactly what it needs to be a strong, possibly dominant player in the expensive compact crossover class." -- Automobile Magazine  

Next Steps: BMW X3

  • Search used BMW X3 for sale (3,980 listings)
  • Calculate monthly payment and apply for a loan
  • See Luxury Compact SUVs rankings