Which used BMW X3 4x4 should I buy?
Prior to the BMW X3’s facelift in 2006, six engines were offered: three diesels (2.0d, 3.0d and 3.0sd) and three petrols (2.0i, 2.5i and 3.0i). Several trim levels are available on top of the base model: SE, Sport and M Sport.
All cars come with air conditioning, an alarm, central locking, front and rear electric windows and traction control. SE adds front fog lights, parking sensors and cruise control while Sport models feature sports seats and sport suspension. M Sport models are identified by colour-coded BMW M bumpers and larger alloy wheels.
Unless your budget is restricted, the facelifted X3 is a much better car as interior trim quality was improved and the engines are more economical. Shortly after the facelift, BMW changed its naming policy for the X3, with engine sizes being prefixed by ‘xDrive’. Thus, an X3 2.0d became an xDrive20d and the range-topping 3.0sd became the xDrive35d. The trim structure was also simplified, to SE and M Sport only.
While the 2.0-litre diesel looks to be the most sensible choice offering an excellent blend of performance and economy, we cannot fully recommend it due to the question mark over its reliability, and would instead opt for the 3.0-litre diesel. It is a little more expensive to buy, but you’ll usually get a better specification than the 2.0d and running costs are similar.
Our favourite BMW X3: xDrive30d SE