When it comes to buying the X3 with cash, there’s little to separate it on price from its main rivals. Generous dealers discounts are available, although that does have a knock-on effect on resale value; the X3 is predicted to depreciate more quickly than an Audi Q5 or a Land Rover Discovery Sport.
More positively, there are some attractive PCP deals with relatively low monthly repayments, and the xDrive20d makes plenty of sense as a company car because it emits less CO2 than many rivals (although the Jaguar F-Pace and Discovery Sport are similarly efficient).
Our True MPG tests revealed that the xDrive20d manages 37.1mpg fuel economy in real-world driving, and that's not bad at all for a large, four-wheel-drive SUV.
You don’t need to spend more on the higher trims levels, because entry-level SE comes stacked with all the equipment you need. Heated leather seats, an electronic automatic tailgate, climate and cruise control, DAB radio, sat-nav, Bluetooth, automatic headlights and wipers, and alloy wheels are all standard.
xLine trim then adds larger alloy wheels, a sports steering wheel and various visual upgrades. Unless you’re particularly bothered about the car's looks, it isn’t worth the extra money. M Sport trim is the range-topper and, you guessed it, you get even larger alloys, and an even sportier appearance. Sadly, you also get overly stiff sports suspension, although you can opt out of this for no extra charge.
BMW X3 reliability
BMW, and the X3 specifically, have a poor reliability record. In the 2014 JD Power Survey, the X3 was rated below average for reliability in its class, while BMW as a brand finished a disappointing 24th out of the 26 manufacturers surveyed. That said, Audi didn’t fair much better, and neither did its Q5. Both of them received below average scores, too.
Every X3 comes with a three-year unlimited-mileage warranty to protect against large unexpected bills. This also includes a three-year paintwork warranty and a 12-year anti-corrosion promise.
BMW X3 safety & security
All X3s come with stability control, six airbags and a tyre pressure monitor as standard. Euro NCAP awarded the X3 five stars in its crash tests, where it scored well for both adult and child protection.
However, the X3 couldn't match the scores obtained by the Audi Q5 and Volvo XC60. The Volvo did even better in its adult protection score while the Audi managed to score higher for the way it protects children onboard.
Disappointingly, the X3 doesn't come with automatic emergency braking (AEB) like many of its newer rivals. However, you can add it if you're prepared to pay extra, and other optional safety kit includes lane-departure warning and blind-spot monitoring.
Security firm Thatcham Research has carried out tests on the X3’s resistance to being broken into and driven. It scored very highly, achieving above average marks for guarding against being stolen or broken into.
For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here
This entry-level trim comes with luxuries such a climate control, a powered tailgate, sat-nav, cruise control and heated leather seats, so there’s no need to spend any extra.
Adds larger alloy wheels, a sports steering wheel and various visual upgrades. Unless you’re particularly bothered about the ritzier looks, xLine trim isn’t worth the extra over SE.
This top-of-the-range trim adds larger alloys and a more agressive-looking bodykit. Sadly, you also get overly stiff sports suspension, although you can opt out of this for no extra charge. The cheaper trims make far more sense.