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For With the optional Variable Damper Control fitted, the X3 strikes a superb balance between comfort and agility. The cabin is classy and spacious, and running costs are low.

Against The wide transmission tunnel makes life uncomfortable for a central rear passenger and the manual gearbox is pretty clunky. We’re yet to try the X3 on standard suspension.

BMW X3 4x4
55 5stars

The BMW X3 is one of the best cars in its class. It’s classy, practical and good to drive. The engines are efficient, too, and standard kit is generous.

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The full BMW X3 review


There are 8 BMW X3 versions available

4x4 sDrive 18d SE 5dr £30,995
What Car? says:3 stars out of 5
4x4 xDrive20d SE 5dr £32,995
What Car? says:5 stars out of 5
4x4 xDrive20d xLine 5dr £34,495
What Car? says:5 stars out of 5
4x4 xDrive20d M Sport 5dr £35,995
What Car? says:5 stars out of 5
4x4 xDrive30d SE 5dr £39,795
What Car? says:5 stars out of 5
4x4 xDrive30d xLine 5dr £41,295
What Car? says:5 stars out of 5
4x4 xDrive30d M Sport 5dr £42,795
What Car? says:5 stars out of 5
4x4 xDrive35d M Sport 5dr £45,395
What Car? says:4 stars out of 5

Buyer's notes

Target Price team says:

The xDrive20d SE is our favourite version. It provides all the performance you need and comes with lots of luxuries, including leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors and cruise control. Even sat-nav and a powered tailgate come as standard.

There's also a lower-powered two-wheel-drive sDrive18d version, plus two six-cylinder models. These final two are fast, but cost thousands more than the perfectly adequate 20d.

There are also xLine and M Sport trims available, but we'd resist the temptation. The M Sport in particular looks great with its sporty bodykit and big wheels, but it costs a lot more than SE.

Of the numerous cost options available, we'd certainly go for the eight-speed automatic gearbox; the six-speed manual (standard on the 18d and 20d) has a stiff action that makes changing gear a bit too much like hard work.

Reader test team says:

BMW X3 4x4 xDrive20d SE 5dr

I made the mistake of ordering a manual gear change; ignoring warnings about it as I thought BMW would not produce an inferior manual change. Well…

Roger Daniels

3 out of 5 stars

BMW X3 4x4 xDrive30d xLine 5dr

I had been waiting for the new 'face-lift' version of the X3 to appear ever since I saw the publicity material. As luck would have it, a local BMW…

Mike Stevens

5 out of 5 stars

BMW X3 4x4 xDrive20d M Sport 5dr

I have owned my BMW X3 M Sport from new (March 2012) and have been massively disappointed with the car. I drive very carefully but the car still…

Colin Walters

1 out of 5 stars

BMW X3 4x4 xDrive20d SE 5dr

11 months and 10,000 miles down the road and still waiting for the diesel clatter to subside. A very good car marred by the awful racket of a bag of…

David Wilson

4 out of 5 stars
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BMW X3 4x4

Read the definitive BMW X3 4x4 review from the expert What Car? team. Check specs, prices and compare with similar cars.

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