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$41,950 - 76,900 MSRP

2020 BMW X3 Review

The 2020 BMW X3 sits near the top of our luxury compact SUV rankings. This BMW is fun to drive and features a roomy, well-built interior, making it a real contender in the class.

Pros & Cons

  • Powerful engines
  • Fun to drive
  • Easy-to-use infotainment system
  • Plenty of passenger and cargo space
  • More expensive that most rivals
  • Less stylish interior than some competitors

New for 2020

  • More standard features
  • M40i gets added horsepower
  • X3 M and M Competition trims join lineup

8.4

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.6
Performance: 8.0
Interior: 7.9
Safety:
This rating isn’t available yet for the current model year. In the meantime, last year’s rating of 9.7 for safety is being used to calculate this vehicle’s overall score.
TBD
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Is the BMW X3 a Good SUV?

Yes, the BMW X3 is a good luxury compact SUV. It comes with an energetic turbocharged base engine and handles well, making it plenty of fun to drive. If you need more of a thrill, there are multiple high-performance variants as well. The X3 gets good gas mileage and rides comfortably over most roads.

Inside, the X3 brings plenty to the table. The cabin is built well and has appropriate materials quality for a luxury SUV. Both rows of seats have plenty of room for adults, and the seats are supportive and comfortable. Cargo capacity is good for the class.

Should I Buy the BMW X3?

You should strongly consider the X3 if you're in the market for a small luxury crossover. As detailed above, there are plenty of reasons to like this BMW, and it compares favorably with many of its classmates. That said, it costs more than most SUVs in the segment, so you may want to comparison shop the X3 with some rivals to make sure it's providing the kind of value you want. Good options to match up against the X3 include the Audi Q5, Jaguar F-Pace, Mercedes-Benz GLC, and Acura RDX.

Compare the X3, Q5, and F-Pace »

Should I Buy a New or Used BMW X3?

You can buy a used X3 from a recent model year and not miss out on too much that you'd get in a new model, unless you want one of the new high-performance versions of this BMW. For 2020, the performance-oriented X3 M and M Competition trims join the lineup. Both feature six-cylinder engines with at least 473 horsepower, and both go from zero to 60 mph in about four seconds.

The X3 M40i gets a horsepower boost for 2020: It now puts out 382 horses, up from 355 in 2019. On the features front, BMW enlarged the X3’s standard touch screen to 8.8 inches (from 6.5 inches), and Apple CarPlay and navigation are both newly standard.

There were a few noteworthy changes for the 2019 X3. BMW introduced the rear-wheel-drive sDrive30i trim and introduced several new standard features, including driver drowsiness monitoring, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, and traffic sign recognition. Available features that were added include lane keep assist and front cross traffic alert.

The X3 was redesigned for 2018, bringing with it more powerful engines and more features, including a standard touch-screen infotainment system, standard tri-zone automatic climate control, and ventilated seats.

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2017 X3, 2018 X3, and 2019 X3 reviews to help make your decision. Also check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts you can find on used vehicles.

Compare the 2018, 2019, and 2020 X3 »

We Did the Research for You: 16 Reviews Analyzed

We don’t base our car reviews on our personal opinions. Instead, we combine the findings of professional test drivers with data such as reliability ratings and safety scores to give you a complete overview of every vehicle we rank.

This 2020 X3 review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2018.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking vehicles since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of combined experience in the automotive industry. Our car reviews are objective. To keep them that way, our editorial staff doesn’t accept expensive gifts or trips from automakers, and a third party handles all the advertising on our site.

How Much Does the BMW X3 Cost?

The X3 sports a base price of $41,950. That's not the highest starting price in the luxury compact SUV class, but it's more than you'll pay for the base trim of most rivals. The X3 can get really expensive if you want one of the performance trims. The X3 M40i has a starting price of $55,900, while the range-topping X3 M Competition retails for $76,900. That's significantly higher than the cost of many class rivals' top trims.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local BMW dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our BMW deals page.

BMW X3 Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: BMW X3 or Audi Q5?

The Audi Q5 is a bit better overall than the X3, but these are both excellent vehicles that perform well in our luxury compact SUV rankings. Both SUVs handle nicely and have powerful engines, but the BMW gets better gas mileage than the Audi. Inside, the Audi stands above its German rival. The Q5 is more upscale and offers more tech features. In terms of passenger room, cargo space, and starting price, these two are essentially even.

Which Is Better: BMW X3 or Jaguar F-Pace?

The Jaguar F-Pace can't match the X3's overall quality, but it is one of the few luxury compact SUVs that can claim to match – or even exceed – the X3's athleticism. The Jaguar handles really well and provides several engine options. The F-Pace has a little more cargo space than the X3, but both SUVs have two rows of spacious seats and similar build quality.

Which Is Better: BMW X3 or Acura RDX?

The Acura RDX is a great alternative to the X3, as it's one of our highest-ranking luxury compact SUVs. The RDX gets worse gas mileage ratings and doesn’t offer any performance-oriented variants, but the Acura does have a more powerful base engine than the BMW. The RDX feels more upscale inside, offers a longer features list, and has a lower base price than the X3. Both SUVs feature above-average cargo capacity and two rows of spacious seats.

Compare the X3, Q5, and F-Pace »

X3 Interior

How Many People Does the X3 Seat?

The X3 seats five people. The front seats remain supportive, even on longer drives, and both rows provide ample space for all but the tallest adult passengers. You can fit two adults in the back with no problem, but three might be pushing it.

X3 and Child Car Seats

There are two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the X3’s rear outboard seats, as well as a tether anchor for the rear middle seats. The tether anchors are easy to find, but the lower anchors are set deep in the seat and are tough to maneuver around.

X3 Interior Quality

The X3's cabin looks and feels the part of a luxury SUV, with plenty of quality materials. The only small knock is that some rivals’ cabins are more stylish.

X3 Cargo Space

Most class rivals don't provide as much cargo space as this BMW. It gives you 28.7 cubic feet of room behind the second row and 62.7 cubic feet with the rear seats folded.

X3 Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Standard features include tri-zone automatic climate control and the iDrive infotainment system with an 8.8-inch touch screen, navigation, Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, a USB port, a 12-speaker audio system, and HD Radio.

Available features include a panoramic moonroof, a 16-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, satellite radio, proximity keyless entry, wireless device charging, and a Wi-Fi hot spot.

Overall, the iDrive infotainment system works well. There's a little bit of a learning curve, but beyond that, it's a user-friendly system. All of the center-stack controls are easy to reach from the driver's seat.

Read more about interior »

X3 Performance

X3 Engine: No Shortage of Options

The engine you get in your X3 depends on which trim you select. A 248-horsepower turbo-four comes standard, but there are three performance-oriented models that feature turbocharged six-cylinder engines ranging from 382 to 503 horsepower.

The base engine feels lively whether you're driving around town or on the highway. The six-cylinder engines are noticeably more potent and can propel the X3 from zero to 60 mph in around 4 seconds.

X3 Gas Mileage: The Numbers Look Good

The X3 with the base engine and rear-wheel drive gets great fuel economy for the luxury compact SUV class. In that setup, it gets 25 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. All-wheel-drive (xDrive) models equipped with the same engine get nearly identical ratings of 24 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.

Models equipped with one of the six-cylinder engines get ratings that range from 14/19 mpg city/highway to 21/27 mpg city/highway.

For comparison, the Mercedes-Benz GLC gets 22/29 mpg city/highway, and the Audi Q5 gets 22/28 mpg city/highway.

X3 Ride and Handling: Agile and Comfortable

In a class stocked with rivals like the Porsche Macan, Jaguar F-Pace, and other BMWs like the X4, the X3 is no longer the clear-cut choice for driving enthusiasts. However, this crossover is still agile and sporty, and it delivers plenty of driving enjoyment. It also rides smoothly, even over rough roads.

X3 Towing Capacity

When properly equipped, the X3 can tow up to 4,400 pounds.

Read more about performance »

X3 Reliability

Is the BMW X3 Reliable?

The 2020 BMW X3 has a good predicted reliability rating of four out of five from J.D. Power.

BMW X3 Warranty

The BMW X3 comes with a four-year/50,000-mile warranty.

Read more about reliability »

X3 Safety

X3 Crash Test Results

The 2020 X3 earned an overall safety rating of five out of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It received five stars in the frontal and side crash tests and four stars in the rollover evaluation.

At the time of writing, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not crash tested the 2020 BMW X3.

X3 Safety Features

Standard driver assistance features include a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, driver drowsiness monitoring, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, and traffic sign recognition.

Available active safety features include a head-up display, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, front and rear cross traffic alert, blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, parallel park assist, and a surround-view parking camera system.

Read more about safety »

X3 Dimensions and Weight

The 2020 X3 is 15.5 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 3,931 to 4,620 pounds.

Where Is the BMW X3 Built?

BMW builds the 2020 X3 in South Carolina.

Which BMW X3 Model Is Right for Me?

The X3 comes in five trims: sDrive30i, xDrive30i, M40i, M, and M Competition. The 30i trims are the volume trims, while the three M trims are all performance-oriented variants. The sDrive30i is the only trim to come with rear-wheel drive; the others all come standard with all-wheel drive.

Most buyers should stick with the sDrive30i or xDrive30i trims, which provide plenty of driving enjoyment and have starting prices in the low $40,000s. These models offer just about every feature you can get in the M trims, so by upgrading, you're really just paying for the extra horsepower. And while the performance-oriented trims are significantly quicker, they probably aren't worth the five-figure price increase for most shoppers.

BMW X3 sDrive30i

The X3 sDrive30i carries a base price of $41,950. It comes with a 248-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine, an eight-speed automatic transmission, and rear-wheel drive. For a starting price of $46,970, you can get the M Sport design variation of this trim, which features several styling upgrades.

Standard features include tri-zone automatic climate control and the iDrive infotainment system with an 8.8-inch touch screen, navigation, Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, a USB port, a 12-speaker audio system, and HD Radio.

Standard driver assistance features include a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, driver drowsiness monitoring, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, and traffic sign recognition.

Several packages are available, and they range in price from about $500 to nearly $8,000. These packages add features like a Harman Kardon audio system, satellite radio, wireless device charging, a Wi-Fi hot spot, heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a head-up display, adaptive cruise control, parallel park assist, and a surround-view parking camera system.

Some of these features can also be added individually.

BMW X3 xDrive30i

The X3 xDrive30i starts at $43,950. It’s the same SUV as the sDrive30i but with all-wheel drive instead of rear-wheel drive.

BMW X3 M40i

The X3 M40i has a starting price of $55,900. It comes with a 382-horsepower turbocharged six-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive. In addition to the lower trims' standard features, the M40i gains an M Sport suspension, M Sport brakes, a panoramic moonroof, and satellite radio.

All of the features offered in the lower trims are available in the M40i.

BMW X3 M

The X3 M starts at $69,900. It boasts the turbocharged six-cylinder engine, but it makes 473 horsepower in the X3 M. This trim's features include adaptive M suspension, an M sport differential, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot monitoring, a 10.25-inch touch screen, and a Harman Kardon audio system.

Available features in this trim include heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel, wireless device charging, a Wi-Fi hot spot, parallel park assist, a head-up display, and adaptive cruise control.

BMW X3 M Competition

The X3 M Competition starts at $76,900. This is the most powerful X3, with a 503-horsepower turbocharged six-cylinder engine. Features-wise, the M Competition is nearly identical to the X3 M.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local BMW dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our BMW deals page.

See 2020 BMW X3 specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2020 BMW X3 has a comfortable cabin and plenty of tech features wrapped in an athletic, fun-to-drive package. No matter what you're looking for in a small crossover, the X3 almost certainly provides it, which is why this BMW claims one of the top spots in our luxury compact SUV rankings.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The 2019 BMW X3 is one of the coolest kids in one of the coolest classes among cars: the compact-luxury-SUV segment. … Beyond its aspirational badge and German pedigree, the 2019 X3 is a real-deal BMW. It touts the brand's dynamic performance and fun-to-drive manners while also boasting the latest technology and a cadre of creature comforts. The BMW X3 is hardly the least expensive compact-luxury SUV, but it's still among the most desired." -- Kelley Blue Book (2019)
  • "In the end, the BMW X3 xDrive30i is the X3 you buy if you want a high-quality, engaging crossover but without the compromises. Sure, it's not as powerful and sonorous as the M40i version, but it also isn't going to vibrate you apart on nasty roads nor wake your neighbors. It does everything well, even if it's not the best in any one area, and that easily makes it the best choice for most people." -- Autoblog (2018)
  • "The redesigned X3 isn't a revolutionary departure from its massively successful predecessor. From that vantage point, the 2018 BMW X3 might seem like a bit of a disappointment. But as the old adage goes, you don't fix what isn't broken. This newest X3 remains one of our top recommendations for a luxury crossover SUV." -- Edmunds (2018)
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