The X3 combines the utility of a crossover with the sophistication and driving fun of one of our favorite sedans: the legendary 3-series. There are three turbocharged engines—a 240-hp 2.0-liter four; a 300-hp 3.0-liter six; and a 180-hp 2.0-liter diesel four which offers improved economy but less refinement. An eight-speed automatic is standard; all but the base rear-drive X3 have xDrive. The options list is long but in our opinion the Dynamic Handling package is one you must consider.
New compact luxury crossovers are being introduced apace with strong-selling models like the Lexus NX and the Lincoln MKC claiming large slices of a pie once carved up almost exclusively by Acura BMW Mercedes and Audi. But there’s still goodness to be found among the older guard particularly BMW’s X3.
Introduced in 2003 as one of the first of its breed the BMW X3 entered its second generation for 2011 and was updated for 2015 with revised styling the addition of diesel and rear-drive models and some new convenience features. So far the only refreshed model we’ve tested was—ahem—the xDrive28d diesel but we’ve reviewed this generation plenty. The turbocharged gasoline four-cylinder model won a comparison test against the Audi Q5 and the Range Rover Evoque and we’ve also spent quality time with the four-cylinder xDrive28i and the pre-update xDrive35i.