While the steering wheel has a decent amount of adjustment for both reach and height, adjusting the driver's seat is rather less straightforward. For example, you have to pull a lever and shift your weight around to change the seat height or the angle of the backrest, although there is at least a good range of movement. Paying extra for electric seats is an expensive way to get around this problem.
The driver's seat is generally comfortable and supportive, no matter which version you go for. However, it's a shame BMW charges extra for adjustable lumbar support, which gives better lower back support on longer journeys.
The dashboard controls are nicely positioned within easy reach of the driver, including the climate controls, which are also easy to use.
BMW X3 visibility
The X3’s relatively high driving position gives you a commanding view of the road ahead, and it’s quite easy to place the car’s nose through tight corners around town.
Over-the-shoulder visibility is good, too, because the X3’s rear pillars are thin and its rear window is fairly large. Your view out of the side is generally unimpeded, because the X3's side windows are quite large compared with those of some SUVs, such as the Range Rover Evoque.
All X3s come with front and rear parking sensors, while a reversing camera is optional on all versions. A more sophisticated around-view monitor that projects a birds-eye view of the car onto the main infotainment screen is also available.
BMW X3 infotainment
All X3s come with BMWs iDrive infotainment system, which is one of the best infotainment systems on the market.
Essentially, it comprises of a screen mounted on the dash (screen size varies dependent on whether or not you add BMW’s pricey but brilliant optional Professional system) which you control using a rotary dial between the front seats.
Every X3 gets sat-nav as standard, as well as DAB radio and Bluetooth phone connectivity and music streaming. These functions are navigated and controlled using the same rotary dial and some buttons that surround it.
Compared with systems in the Audi Q5 or Volvo XC60, BMW’s iDrive is far more logically laid out and has crisper, more modern graphics. Connecting your phone and inputting a destination takes seconds rather than minutes.
BMW X3 build quality
Climb into an X3 and you’re unlikely to be disappointed by how classy everything feels. The plastics used on the dash, door cards and central console are all high quality and feel well put together. Similarly, most of the switchgear you interact with feels well damped and substantial.
The trouble is, Audi has set an even higher benchmark in this area with the rival Q5. Another point worth mentioning is that many of the materials and switchgear in the X3 can be found on much cheaper BMWs, such as the entry-level 1 Series.