$6,442 - $6,442

2009 BMW X3 Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2009 BMW X3 was new.


Interior: 7.7

Most critics praise the BMW X3's cabin, although there are still a few lagging complaints about materials quality.

  • "On the interior, BMW's luxury heritage is apparent in quality of assembly and materials. Leatherette is standard but leather upholstery is available. ... Tire and engine noise is nicely muted on the interior, an unusual attribute in a cross-over." -- Left Lane News
  • "Interior materials are fairly nice, but some testers feel they're not as rich as they should be given the X3's lofty pricing. Note that the standard upholstery is vinyl instead of leather, which is optional here but standard on most class competitors." -- Consumer Guide
  • "There's not a lot of room inside the X3, but what there is is well thought out and beautifully executed. The decoration is more sophisticated than opulent, with excellent switch feel and plenty of storage cubbies strewn about." -- Edmunds
  • "Where the X3 disappoints is in the intangible and tactile, how the interior looks and feels. Textures and materials have been improved, including a higher quality of optional leather, but there's still no mistaking the X3 for one of BMW's luxury sedans." -- Automotive.com


The 2009 X3 offers ample room, according to most reviewers, despite the fact that there is no third-seat option.

  • "As always, we appreciated the impressive interior layout that yields a nearly perfect driving position while offering rear passengers the kind of legroom they might expect in a one-size-bigger ute." -- Car and Driver
  • "Inside, the X3 masks its compact dimensions well. The driver's seat, which comes with standard eight-way power adjustment, has lots of travel in all directions. Combine that with the telescoping steering wheel and there should be adequate room for drivers of all sizes." -- Cars.com
  • "The front seats are supportive and comfortably bolstered. The standard seats are more comfortable than the Sport seats and quite adequately restrain occupants' posteriors when the road begins to wind." -- Automotive.com
  • "Legroom and headroom in the backseat are adequate, though a prominent center hump means passengers can't spread their feet out. The upholstery for the three-seat bench feels much less padded than the stuff up front." -- Cars.com

Interior Features

Reviewers like the X3's interior appointments, although they find some features frustrating to use.

  • "The X3's interior has fold-flat second-row seats and tasteful wood trim on its instrument panel and center stack. This wood also decorates gracefully sculpted front door pulls that angle front-to-rear between twin door-storage pockets at their lower ends." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The driver's cupholder is in the center console, rather than popping out of the dash to the left of the steering wheel, as it does on some Bimmers. This is a blessing, because dash-level cupholders always seem to splash beverages on your left knee during hard driving in a small vehicle like the X3." -- BusinessWeek
  • "A few features proved frustrating. The optional navigation system is a bear to use -- even without BMW's much-maligned iDrive system. The center console box ratchets open and shut in noisy motions sure to awaken sleeping passengers. The auxiliary jack for MP3 players is mounted on the back of the center console, facing the backseat. That makes for a long reach for drivers." -- Cars.com
  • "Previous X3 interiors never felt quite up to par with other BMWs, but that is no longer the case. More soft-touch materials and a healthy amount of lustrous wood trim dress things up convincingly, although BMW's button-heavy ergonomics remain. The navigation system is a joke, making us almost wish for iDrive." -- Car and Driver


The rear seats of the X3 fold down, expanding the relatively small back cargo area to a more usable size. The cargo hold comes standard with a retractable cover, velour carpeting and side trim, with an auxiliary power outlet along the wall.

  • "Cargo area, at 71 cubic feet, is impressive." -- Automotive.com
  • "Storage throughout the cabin is generous: each front door has two lower bins, both fully enclosed for more secure small-item storage." -- Minneapolis Star Tribune

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