Used BMW X3 2018-present review

Category: Large SUV

Section: What is it like?

2018 BMW X3 xDrive20d xLine
  • 2018 BMW X3 xDrive20d xLine
  • New BMW X3 vs Audi Q5 vs Land Rover Discovery Sport
  • BMW X3
  • BMW X3 2021 boot open
  • BMW X3 2021 left panning
  • New BMW X3 vs Audi Q5 vs Land Rover Discovery Sport
  • New BMW X3 vs Audi Q5 vs Land Rover Discovery Sport
  • 2018 BMW X3 xDrive20d xLine
  • New BMW X3 vs Audi Q5 vs Land Rover Discovery Sport
  • BMW X3
  • BMW X3 2021 boot open
  • BMW X3 2021 left panning
  • New BMW X3 vs Audi Q5 vs Land Rover Discovery Sport
  • New BMW X3 vs Audi Q5 vs Land Rover Discovery Sport

What's the used BMW X3 4x4 like?

BMW has made lots of road-biased SUVs over the years, from the X1 and X2 to the luxury seven-seat X5, with the more rakishly styled X4 and X6 fitting in somewhere in between. The mid-sized X3 is in the middle of the range, and is now in its third generation.

The X3 hit the roads in 2004 and sold extremely well despite facing tough competition and not being a class-leading choice. The second generation appeared in 2011 and was noticeably better.

A mild-hybrid system was added to the 20d in 2020, along was a 288bhp plug-in hybrid 30e and an all-electric model called the iX3 that has an official range of 285 miles.

There are four different trim levels, starting with SE. It comes with LED headlights, 18in alloys, leather seats that are heated in the front, dual-zone climate control, automatic lights and an electric tailgate.

Higher-tier xLine has larger 19in wheels and sports seats, while M Sport gets a more aggressive exterior styling and firmer suspension. The two most powerful engine options only appear on the M-badged M40i and M40d, which both have bigger brakes and 20in alloy wheels.

Once you’re behind the wheel of the X3, you’ll soon realise that the X3 is one of the best large SUVs to drive. It splits the difference between long-distance comfort and driving pleasure really well. That's thanks in no small part to a relatively playful chassis with a rear-biased four-wheel drive system and impressively low wind and road noise levels.

The only slight criticism is that the steering doesn’t have the consistent weighting of some of its rivals. However, few get close to the X3 for ride comfort, particularly on models equipped with adaptive suspension that can be softened on a heavily rutted stretch of asphalt, then sharpened up in an instant when you approach a series of bends.

Inside, you’re treated to a very plush interior that’s awash with soft-touch plastics and has quality leather on the seats. Equipment levels are high, too, with all models getting climate control, cruise control, sat-nav, heated front seats and an electric tailgate.

Space is in plentiful supply, and most drivers should find that there’s enough adjustment in the seat and steering wheel to get their ideal driving position – although it’s worth noting that adjustable lumbar support isn’t standard. People in the back should have few complaints, even if there’s a central tunnel that cuts the available space for a middle passenger.