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Base model shown as 2020 Sports Activity Vehicle
2020 BMW X3 Sports Activity Vehicle - front view

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Top Features of Base Model

  • Fantastic driving dynamics in a small SUV package
  • German pedigree
  • Built in the U.S.
  • Best-selling compact crossover
Pro Review

BMW X3: Everything You Need to Know

About the BMW X3

The BMW X3 is one of BMW’s best-selling compact luxury SUVs. It seats five people and has a reputation as one of the best driving SUVs on the market. The BMW X3 is known as the crossover SUV that launched the small-SUV craze.

The BMW X3 was first introduced to the U.S. market in 2003. BMW calls the 2019 X3 a Sport Activity Vehicle or SAV, and it is the third generation of the BMW X3.

The BMW X3 comes in three variants and has several available packages.

These include:

  • xLine: the xLine gets 18-inch wheels, bumper add-ons and satin finished rockers. This is the base model BMW X3.
  • Luxury: High gloss chrome, and a SensaTec dashboard inside
  • Available on the X3 sDrive30i and X3 xDrive 30i
  • M Sport: The top of the line BMW X3 gets a sportier tune, larger wheels, and performance styling on the outside.
  • Available with the X3 sDrive30i , X3 xDrive30i
  • Standard on X3 M40i

The BMW X3 does not come with all-wheel drive standard. To get all-wheel drive, you must get a BMW X3 xDrive 30i.

The BMW X3 sDrive is rear-wheel drive while the xDrive is all-wheel drive.

BMW is a German company known for creating cars and SUVs that are dynamic, driver-centric, and technologically advanced.

The BMW X3 is built in Spartanburg, South Carolina in the U.S. BMW says that because it exports so many of its SUVs overseas, it is the largest vehicle exporter by value in the U.S.

What’s New in the 2019 BMW X3?

The 2019 BMW X3 remains mostly unchanged and does not get many updates for 2019.

Some small changes include:

  • Lower priced entry-level model (sDrive)
  • Standard park-distance control
  • Standard Active Guard safety system (more below)
  • Standard, factory-installed trailer hitch on all models
  • Standard sport seats in the base xLine
  • Luxury package is now available in the BMW X3

The BMW X3 comes in a few different engine and transmission variants.

  • sDrive: Rear-wheel drive with a 2.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline-four that makes 248 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. This version gets an 8-speed Steptronic automatic transmission as standard.
  • xDrive: All-wheel drive with a 2.0-liter twin-turbo inline four that makes the same horsepower and torque as the sDrive model.
  • M Sport: Powered by a 3.0-liter twin turbo inline-6 engine, this BMW X3 gets 355 horsepower and 365 pound-feet of torque.

The EPA estimates that the 2019 BMW X3 with the sDrive (rear-wheel drive) gets 23 miles per gallon in the city and 30 miles per gallon on the highway. That’s slightly better than the 2018 BMW X3 which gets 20 miles per gallon city and 27 miles per gallon highway.

What Does the BMW X3 Compete With?

The BMW X3 competes with the following compact luxury SUVs and crossovers:

The BMW X3 is great for new families or people who live in snowy climates and need all-wheel drive. It comes complete with the LATCH system in the back seat.

Exterior Design of the BMW X3

The 2019 BMW X3 is the third generation of the BMW X3. It has a longer wheelbase than the previous generation and gets a combination of rugged-styling and luxury amenities.

That means that the 2019 BMW X3 is technically slightly larger than the previous generation BMW X5. Optional 20- or 21-inch wheels fill the wheel arches very well and in spite of its larger size, the BMW X3 still looks muscular and agile on the road.

For a more aggressive styling, step up to the M Sport version of the BMW X3. In addition to more aggressive wheel combinations, it also gets an aerodynamic kit and a leather M Sport steering wheel inside.

Interior Style in the BMW X3

The interior of the BMW X3 is relatively sparse, but it gives the BMW X3 a simple luxurious feel. There is plenty of room for at least four adults in the X3. Five people can fit, but the middle rear seat is not the most comfortable.

The interior of the BMW X3 gets a few small updates inside for the third generation. These include:

  • Standard 3-zone automatic climate control with separate rear and front passenger controls.
  • Adjustable backseat angles for the 40/20/40 split seat more comfortable.
  • The BMW X3 comes standard with:
  • Power tailgate
  • 10-way power front seats
  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • Parking sensors
  • Active Guard safety system

New options include:

  • A panoramic sunroof that’s 9.8-inches longer than its predecessor
  • Optional front ventilated seats

With the seats down the BMW X3 has 62.7 cubic feet of space. With seats up it gets 28.7 cubic feet of room.

What Technology Comes in the BMW X3?

The BMW X3 comes standard with a variety of convenient technology. Items include:

  • BMW iDrive: Use a dial on the center console to control your 10.25-inch infotainment screen.
  • 12-speaker AM/FM/HD radio with USB and Bluetooth connectivity
  • Packages include:
  • Premium: This gets you a full-color head-up display and Navigation plus heated front seats and steering wheel.
  • Executive: Adds a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster as well as gesture control. BMW’s gesture control isn’t known for being very well sorted. If you or your passengers like to talk with their hands it’s likely that the system will mistake the movement for gesture input. By waving your hands in a circle in front of the mid-dash mounted camera, you can change volume in the X3.

The Driving Assistance Plus package adds:

  • Active Cruise control with stop and go assistance
  • Blind Spot detection
  • Improved active lane keeping assistance

While Apple CarPlay is an available $300 option, there is no available Android Auto for the 2019 BMW X3.

What Safety Features are in the BMW X3? The 2019 BMW X3 is an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has not yet rated the 2019 BMW X3.

The BMW X3 comes with standard safety features including:

  • Active Guard System: This system detects a crash before it happens and pre-tensions seatbelts and closes windows to protect passengers. It also brings the X3 to a stop after an accident
  • Frontal Collision Warning: Prepares for possible rear-end collisions and automatically applies the brakes.

What is the BMX X3 Like to Drive?

On the road, the BMW X3 feels agile, well-sorted, and much more like a sedan than a small SUV. The driving dynamics that made BMW so popular have carried over into the X3.

No matter which version you go with, you will easily get to 60 mph in six seconds flat, which means that merging on the highway is not a problem for the BMW X3. The vehicle corners relatively flat, thanks in a large part to its rear-wheel biased, all-wheel-drive system.

Steering in the BMW X3 is communicative and agile without being twitchy, but some reviewers complain of a rough ride for backseat passengers. You can make adjustments to the driving dynamics by using the iDrive system on the center console. Choose from Individual, Comfort, Sport, and Sport+ to dial in the style of driving that you enjoy the most.

If you do decide to take your X3 off into the snow or on some light off-road trails, 8-inches of clearance under the vehicle offers plenty of clearance.

Should I Buy a 2019 BMW X3?

If you want an SUV that drives like a BMW 3 series, the 2019 BMW X3 is for you. It’s agile, quick, fun to drive and offers up comfortable touches that make driving it a joy.

If you are married to the idea of a rear-wheel drive SUV, the 2019 BMW X3 is the right ticket for you. BMW only started manufacturing the sDrive version of the X3 in April of 2018.

Additionally, if you want an M Sport version of the X3, you will need to get a 2019 or newer model year. BMW started manufacturing these vehicles in August of 2018.

Should I buy a Used BMW X3?

Used BMW X3s have a reputation for being reliable workhorses that can log many miles. We recommend checking out certified pre-owned X3s to find the best deals and most reliable cars.

It turns out that there are quite a few BMW X3s to avoid, however. We recommend staying away from 2017, 2012, 2011 and 2008 versions of the small SUV. Problems include engine stalling and high repair costs.

How Much Does the BMW X3 Cost?

The 2019 BMW X3 starts at $41,995 plus destination. Adding on packages will make the cost go higher.

The all-wheel-drive version of the BMW X3 starts around $44,000, and the M Sport version of the X3 will put you back $55,000 or more.

In any form, we highly recommend checking out the BMW X3 as a great small SUV that sets the standard for the segment.

Pros and Cons of the 2020 BMW X3


  • Agile and quick
  • Drives like a sedan even though it’s an SUV
  • German pedigree
  • Simple trim levels make it easy to get what you want


  • No all-wheel drive as standard
  • Expensive to repair
  • Plenty of other compact luxury SUVs on the market for less
  • No Android Auto
  • Apple CarPlay available as a $300 option
Model History

The History of the BMW X3: From a Wagon to an SAV

The BMW X3 began its life as a wagon. The 3 Series BMW wagon set the standard for both practicality and handling. When BMW began to look for new markets, they cooked up the small-but-lifted BMW X3 as a wagon alternative and ended up creating an entirely new (and very lucrative) segment in the automotive industry.

The BMW X3 made its debut as a 2004 model, and it is smaller than the BMW X5. While all-wheel drive used to be standard on the BMW X3, it is no longer the case.

Specs & Key Features of the 2020 BMW X3


Body Style
Sports Activity Vehicle
2.0L TwinPower Turbo In-Line 4-Cylinder
248 hp
Sport Automatic
Passenger Doors
Passenger Seating
Rear Wheel Drive
City MPG

Key Features

  • Air Conditioning
  • Apple CarPlay
  • Audio
  • Back Up Camera
  • Bluetooth
  • Cruise Control
  • LCD Monitor
  • LED Lights
  • Leather Steering Wheel
  • Monitors
  • Remote Keyless Entry
  • Tinted Glass

More Features

  • Engine: 2.0L TwinPower Turbo In-Line 4-Cylinder
  • Transmission: Sport Automatic
  • 3.385 Axle Ratio
  • GVWR: 5,137 lbs
  • Engine Auto Stop-Start Feature
  • Transmission w/Driver Selectable Mode and STEPTRONIC Sequential Shift Control w/Steering Wheel Controls
  • Rear-Wheel Drive
  • 105-Amp/Hr Maintenance-Free Battery
  • Regenerative Alternator
  • Towing Equipment -inc: Trailer Sway Control
  • 937# Maximum Payload
  • Gas-Pressurized Shock Absorbers
  • Front And Rear Anti-Roll Bars
  • Electric Power-Assist Speed-Sensing Steering
  • 17.2 Gal. Fuel Tank
  • Single Stainless Steel Exhaust w/Chrome Tailpipe Finisher
  • Strut Front Suspension w/Coil Springs
  • Multi-Link Rear Suspension w/Coil Springs
  • 4-Wheel Disc Brakes w/4-Wheel ABS, Front And Rear Vented Discs, Brake Assist, Hill Descent Control, Hill Hold Control and Electric Parking Brake
  • Wheels: 18" x 7.0" Y-Spoke (Style 688)
  • Tires: 225/60R18 AS Run-Flat
  • Wheels w/Machined w/Painted Accents Accents
  • Clearcoat Paint
  • Body-Colored Front Bumper w/Black Rub Strip/Fascia Accent and Metal-Look Bumper Insert
  • Body-Colored Rear Bumper w/Black Rub Strip/Fascia Accent and Metal-Look Bumper Insert
  • Black Bodyside Moldings, Metal-Look Bodyside Insert and Black Wheel Well Trim
  • Metal-Look Side Windows Trim
  • Body-Colored Door Handles
  • Body-Colored Power Heated Auto Dimming Side Mirrors w/Power Folding and Turn Signal Indicator
  • Fixed Rear Window w/Fixed Interval Wiper and Defroster
  • Deep Tinted Glass
  • Speed Sensitive Rain Detecting Variable Intermittent Wipers w/Heated Jets
  • Fully Galvanized Steel Panels
  • Lip Spoiler
  • Chrome Grille
  • Power Liftgate Rear Cargo Access
  • Tailgate/Rear Door Lock Included w/Power Door Locks
  • Roof Rack Rails Only
  • Fully Automatic Projector Beam Led Low/High Beam Auto-Leveling Daytime Running Lights Preference Setting Headlamps w/Delay-Off
  • Front And Rear Fog Lamps
  • Cornering Lights
  • Perimeter/Approach Lights
  • LED Brakelights
  • Radio: AM/FM Stereo w/HD
  • Radio w/Seek-Scan, Clock, Aux Audio Input Jack, Steering Wheel Controls, Voice Activation, Radio Data System and External Memory Control
  • 12 Speakers
  • Audio Theft Deterrent
  • Window Grid Diversity Antenna
  • Radio Control US
  • Hi-Fi Sound System
  • Satellite Radio Preparation
  • DVD Area Coding (North America)
  • Connected Package Plus
  • 2 LCD Monitors In The Front
  • Real-Time Traffic Display
  • Sport Bucket Seats
  • Power Front Seats
  • 12-Way Driver Seat -inc: Manual Cushion Extension
  • 12-Way Passenger Seat -inc: Manual Cushion Extension
  • 40-20-40 Folding Bench Front Facing Manual Reclining Fold Forward Seatback Rear Seat
  • Manual Tilt/Telescoping Steering Column
  • Gauges -inc: Speedometer, Odometer, Engine Coolant Temp, Tachometer, Trip Odometer and Trip Computer
  • Power Rear Windows and Fixed 3rd Row Windows
  • Voice Recorder
  • Sport Leather/Metal-Look Steering Wheel
  • Front Cupholder
  • Rear Cupholder
  • Proximity Key For Push Button Start Only
  • Interior Lock Disable
  • Valet Function
  • Power Fuel Flap Locking Type
  • Remote Keyless Entry w/Integrated Key Transmitter, Illuminated Entry and Panic Button
  • Remote Releases -Inc: Power Cargo Access
  • Garage Door Transmitter
  • Cruise Control w/Steering Wheel Controls
  • Dual Zone Front Automatic Air Conditioning
  • Rear HVAC w/Separate Controls
  • HVAC -inc: Underseat Ducts, Residual Heat Recirculation and Console Ducts
  • Illuminated Locking Glove Box
  • Driver Foot Rest
  • Interior Trim -inc: Genuine Wood/Metal-Look Instrument Panel Insert, Genuine Wood/Metal-Look Door Panel Insert, Genuine Wood/Piano Black Console Insert and Metal-Look Interior Accents
  • Full Cloth Headliner
  • Leatherette Door Trim Insert
  • Leather Gear Shift Knob
  • SensaTec Upholstery
  • Day-Night Auto-Dimming Rearview Mirror
  • Driver And Passenger Visor Vanity Mirrors w/Driver And Passenger Illumination
  • Full Floor Console w/Covered Storage and 2 12V DC Power Outlets
  • Front And Rear Map Lights
  • Fade-To-Off Interior Lighting
  • Full Carpet Floor Covering -inc: Carpet Front And Rear Floor Mats
  • Carpet Floor Trim
  • Trunk/Hatch Auto-Latch
  • Cargo Area Concealed Storage
  • Roll-Up Cargo Cover
  • Cargo Space Lights
  • Memory Settings -inc: Driver Seat and Door Mirrors
  • FOB Controls -inc: Trunk/Hatch/Tailgate and Windows
  • BMW Assist eCall
  • ConnectedDrive Services
  • Apple CarPlay Compatibility -inc: 1 year trial
  • Hands-Free Bluetooth & USB Audio Connection
  • Navigation
  • Instrument Panel Covered Bin, Driver / Passenger And Rear Door Bins
  • Power 1st Row Windows w/Front And Rear 1-Touch Up/Down
  • Delayed Accessory Power
  • Power Door Locks w/Autolock Feature
  • Systems Monitor
  • Trip Computer
  • Outside Temp Gauge
  • Digital/Analog Display
  • BMW TeleServices
  • Manual Anti-Whiplash Adjustable Front Head Restraints and Manual Adjustable Rear Head Restraints
  • Front Center Armrest and Rear Center Armrest
  • Perimeter Alarm
  • Engine Immobilizer
  • 2 12V DC Power Outlets
  • Air Filtration
  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC) And Roll Stability Control (RSC)
  • ABS And Driveline Traction Control
  • Side Impact Beams
  • Dual Stage Driver And Passenger Seat-Mounted Side Airbags
  • Park Distance Control Front And Rear Parking Sensors
  • Frontal Collision Warning w/City Collision Mitigation
  • Low Tire Pressure Warning
  • Dual Stage Driver And Passenger Front Airbags
  • Curtain 1st And 2nd Row Airbags
  • Airbag Occupancy Sensor
  • Rear Child Safety Locks
  • Outboard Front Lap And Shoulder Safety Belts -inc: Rear Center 3 Point and Pretensioners
  • Back-Up Camera

Warranty Options for the 2020 BMW X3 (5)










Roadside Assistance






Available Trims for the 2020 BMW X3 (3)

Sports Activity Vehicle
MSRP Starting at
Sports Activity Vehicle
MSRP Starting at
Sports Activity Vehicle
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Safety Ratings for the 2020 BMW X3

US NHTSA Crash Test Results

Results shown are for the 2020 BMW X3 Sports Activity Vehicle:

Overall Rating
Overall Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
Overall Side Crash Rating
Side Barrier Rating
Side Barrier Rating Driver
Side Barrier Rating Passenger Rear Seat
Side Pole Rating Driver Front Seat
Combined Side Rating Front Seat
Combined Side Rating Rear Seat
Rollover Rating

Dynamic Test Result

No Tip

Risk of Rollover


Rollover Note

Dynamic (moving) test results (Tip or No Tip) and measured rollover-related properties determine vehicle's risk of rollover in single vehicle crash and its rollover rating. The Rollover Resistance Rating utilizes a "fishhook" maneuver which is a series of abrupt turns at varying speeds to see how "top-heavy" a vehicle is.


Male: Average sized adult male dummy in 35-MPH crash into fixed barrier. Rating is evaluation of injury to head, neck, chest, legs. Female: Small-sized adult female dummy in 35-mph crash into fixed barrier. Rating is evaluation of injury to head, neck, chest, legs.