Interior layout

BMW X3 review

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23 Aug 2016 12:40 | Last updated: 7 Nov 2018 14:31

In this review

Interior layout

The interior layout, fit and finish

BMW X3 4x4 driving position

SUV fans will be glad to hear that the traditional lofty driving position is present and correct.

The driver’s seat supports well at the sides to keep you in place through bends – even more so with the sports seats in M Sport trim and the M40i. Furthermore, the seat lines up nicely with the pedals, so you don’t have to sit awkwardly.

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There’s a good range of adjustability to the seat and steering wheel, although it remains frustrating that BMW doesn’t include adjustable lumbar support as standard. It’s a relatively cheap option, though, and one that we’d definitely recommend adding.

You’ll also have no issues using the functions of the car, with a well-designed dashboard that leaves everything nicely to hand.

BMW X3 4x4 visibility

Seeing out of the X3 is easy in all directions, because its windows are deep and their pillars relatively thin. This makes it easy to judge roundabouts and T-junctions, and a quick glance over the shoulder allows decent sight of what’s going on behind.

Even so, BMW has thrown in front and rear parking sensors, as well as a rear-view camera, as standard on all trim levels to make things even easier. You can upgrade this on every engine and trim combination to include a more advanced 'surround 3D view' on the infotainment screen.

M40i Interior

BMW X3 4x4 infotainment

BMW’s iDrive infotainment system and Audi’s MMI have been battling for years, but the former continues to have the edge.

In the X3, entry-level SE cars get a 6.5in touchscreen that can also be controlled via a rotary dial between the front seats. This system is equipped with Bluetooth, a DAB radio and a USB port. M Sport and M40i models are fitted with BMW’s optional Professional iDrive system, which features a 10.3in screen. This is visually more impressive and its menus can be customised to your taste.

Both systems are extremely easy to navigate. It’s just a shame that BMW still doesn’t include Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring as standard, while Android Auto isn’t available at all.

BMW X3 4x4 build quality

By the end of its life, the previous X3 was starting to lag behind its rivals for interior quality. But BMW has done a brilliant job at returning the current car to being among the best, with softer dashboard plastics, sturdier trims and slicker switches.

Indeed, the X3 has been treated to materials seen in the current 5 Series – our 2017 Car of the Year – and benefits from them immensely. However, while it’s extremely close, the Audi Q5 is still the class leader in this regard, although the margins are small.


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There are 5 trims available for the X3 4x4. Click to see details.See all versions
Entry-level trim comes with luxuries such as climate control, a powered tailgate, sat-nav, cruise control and heated leather seats, so there’s no need to spend any extra...View trim
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Adds larger wheels, a sports steering wheel and various visual upgrades. Unless you’re particularly bothered about the ritzier looks, xLine isn’t worth the extra over SE...View trim
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M Sport
This top-of-the-range trim adds larger wheels and a more aggressive-looking bodykit. Sadly, you also get overly stiff sports suspension, although you can opt out of this for no extra charge. The ch...View trim
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We are yet to try out this variant...View trim
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The M40i, with its raucous straight-six engine, stands on its own with 20in wheels, an optional bespoke suspension set-up and a hefty price tag...View trim
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