BMW X3 M Competition review

Costs & verdict

Manufacturer price from:£77,190
What Car? Target Price£68,467
BMW X3 M 2019 RHD rear seats
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Costs & verdict

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

If you’re interested in buying an X3 M Competition, or indeed any of its rivals, it’s unlikely that you have inexpensive, economical motoring in mind. Still, it actually costs slightly less than the Mercedes-AMG GLC 63S to buy outright, although the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio is less expensive than either. Even so, a basic X3 M is still around twice the price of a Cupra Ateca.

The X3 M’s equipment levels are a match for rivals’, but a quick stroll down the options list can see the price rapidly escalating. Be prepared, too, for fuel economy that hovers around 25mpg – hardly parsimonious but broadly matching that of direct rivals.

Although the X3 M itself hasn’t been tested, Euro NCAP awarded the regular X3 five stars in safety tests, in which it achieved similar individual test category scores to its rivals. Automatic emergency braking (AEB) is standard, as is traffic sign recognition (this uses a camera to read road signs and display the prevailing speed limit on the dashboard), while lane-keeping assistance is optional.

In the 2019 What Car? Reliability Survey, the X3 finished a disappointing second from bottom in its class, while BMW finished above Alfa Romeo and Mercedes but below Porsche in the overall manufacturer standings. You do get a three-year, unlimited-mileage warranty, though. 

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BMW X3 M 2019 RHD infotainment
BMW X3 M 2019 RHD front right tracking
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The X3 M Competition is certainly a true M product; it shares little with the regular X3 when it comes to suspension, engine and drivetrain. It’s a tremendously fast SUV, too, and a die-hard M car fan might be willing to live with its rock-hard ride, but rivals such as the Mercedes-AMG GLC 63s manage to be more cosseting without skimping on fun. For most, the cheaper X3 M40i is plenty fast, and its softer suspension setup makes it much more liveable day-to-day.

  • Fast yet approachable
  • Composed handling
  • Generous standard kit
  • Firm ride
  • Uninspiring exhaust note
  • Lots of road noise