What's the used BMW X3 like?
BMW launched its first 4x4, the X5, to almost universal acclaim in 1999, so when a smaller X3 version was announced it was expected to be as accomplished as its bigger brother. In some respects it was, as it offers the same car-like handling and road holding as the X5. But in other areas it falls short.
While the X3 can boast exceptional driver appeal for a 4x4, it does suffer from an overly firm ride, and if larger wheels and sportier suspension are fitted it can be unacceptable on a family car. As such, we’d advise avoiding Sport and M Sport models, which come with these fitted as standard.
Externally, the X3 is smaller than an X5, but actually offers the same amount of space for passengers, and has a larger boot than its bigger brother. The same goes for the X3’s rivals, for while the likes of the Volkswagen Tiguan provide similar passenger accommodation, they can’t match the X3’s boot space.
Where the X3 falls down in comparison to rivals such as the Tiguan is in the quality of the interior. Put simply, the materials don’t really have a premium feel, although ergonomically the X3 is up to BMW’s usual high standard, and a facelift in 2006 did improve quality significantly.
The X3 features a range of petrol and diesel engines that are both powerful and economical, and provide a good match for its excellent handling and road holding.