Advice for buyers
What should I look for in a used BMW X3 4x4?
BMW has been known to be tardy when it comes to updating the X3’s sat-nav, so see if you can find out if and when it was last done.
Also bear in mind that although most versions of the X3 have four-wheel drive it is not an off-roader in the same way as a Land Rover. If you need a car that can also cope with journeys off the beaten track look elsewhere.
Other than that it’s a case of carefully assessing the car’s general condition, looking for damaged panels or kerbed wheels, insisting on evidence of servicing and using the online MoT history check to verify the mileage hasn’t been tampered with.
What are the most common problems with a used BMW X3 4x4?
All X3s use timing chains rather than belts. On early examples of the 20d this includes BMW’s N47 engine which has been known to suffer timing chain problems when used in other BMWs. The same fault doesn’t appear to have affected the X3, but for peace of mind it might still be worth tracking down a facelift car with the later unit, known as the B47.
Other than that some owners have reported squeaks and rattles coming from their X3s, so pay close attention to this on a test drive.
Is a used BMW X3 4x4 reliable?
Faults with the second-generation X3 are few and far between. However, when problems do occur they tend to be expensive to fix, which is why the X3 didn’t score any more than a still very reasonable 73% in our latest reliability survey. It finished mid-table in its class, while BMW as a brand came in 16th place out of 31 manufacturers.
If you would like to see the full reliability list, head to the What Car? Reliability Survey pages for more information.
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