Space & practicality

BMW X3 review

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

In this review

Space & practicality

How it copes with people and clutter

BMW X3 4x4 front space

The X3 is among the best large SUVs for space in the front. Its high roofline ensures that tall adults will have no problems with head room, while leg room is top-notch, too. And even with two in the front, the wide interior means you’ll not be invading each other’s personal space.

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Each front door has a decent-sized bin and the glovebox isn’t merely a token effort. The front armrest lifts to reveal a generous cubbyhole, while in front of the gear selector is another cavernous space for your keys or wallet.

BMW X3 4x4 rear space

A couple of tall adults can sit in the back in comfort. A third adult in the middle will find it more of a squeeze around the shoulders than in either the Audi Q5 or Land Rover Discovery Sport, though, with the latter offering one of the most spacious rear seats in the class.

The outside rear seats both get a generous armrest and a decent door bin, while the back of the middle seat can be folded down to become an armrest complete with cupholders. There’s also the option of a reclining backrest that, if you regularly carry people in the rear, might be worth considering.


BMW X3 4x4 seating flexibility

The front passenger seat can be adjusted manually for height as standard and lumbar adjustment is an option.

The X3’s rear seats split in a 40/20/40 configuration and fold flat to open up more space for loading bulkier items. Another optional extra is the ability to manually recline the rear seatbacks; this is worth considering for passenger comfort. They don’t slide forward or backwards, though, as they do in the Discovery Sport.

BMW X3 4x4 boot space

Behind the five seats is a boot fit for a family. It’s able to swallow eight carry-on suitcases up to the parcel shelf with the rear seats in place – one fewer than the Q5 but the same tally as the Discovery Sport. It’s also square in shape, with very good access and no loading lip, so lugging heavy items inside is never a chore. Plus, you’ll find hooks and nets inside for keeping items in place and some decent under-floor storage.

However, because there’s no option of a sliding rear bench – something the Discovery Sport gets as standard and it's an option on the Q5 – you can’t increase the boot’s size without folding one or more of the rear seats.


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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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