$12,878 - $14,431

2012 BMW X3 Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2012 BMW X3 was new.


Interior: 8.1

Reviewers are pleasantly surprised by the interior of the 2012 BMW X3. It has a good amount of interior and cargo space, and has a lot of tech features, though many of them are optional. On the downside, the X3 doesn’t have standard leather seats, which disappoints test drivers.

  • "As athletic as it seems, however, this particular X3 is also an aesthete, with optional leather-upholstered buckets and bolsters (vinyl leatherette is standard), glossy wood inserts and knurled knobs." -- Edmunds
  • "Advanced technology is plentiful, neatly integrated, and, for the most part, genuinely user-friendly. Even the infamously confounding iDrive interface seems easy to navigate nowadays. The downside (and it's a minor one) is that the … X3's cabin is a bit less commodious than that of the outgoing model. Front-seat legroom and rear-seat headroom are down marginally, and the center console seems a bit broader than it needs to be." -- Automobile Magazine  


In the 2012 BMW X3, not only are the front seats comfortable and supportive enough for tall drivers, but the back seats can fit adults and keep them happy, which is a feat few luxury crossover SUVs can claim. However, not all test drivers agree. A few say the X3 doesn’t have enough front or rear legroom.

One downside is that the X3 doesn’t come with standard leather seats, a feature shoppers might expect from an SUV that costs as much as the BMW X3 does. If you don’t want faux-leather seats, the Audi Q5 has standard leather ones.

  • "[Front-seat] Legroom is good and headroom is ample. The seats are somewhat flat but do a good job of holding occupants in place around fast corners. A tall driving position provides very good overall visibility, but the X3's upswept rear styling creates blind spots that require a double check before lane changes. … [Rear-seat] Overall room is more than sufficient. Six-footers can fit easily behind another of similar height." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "With a base price of almost $38,000 for the X3 xDrive28i, can you say ‘leatherette?’ Regrettably, you must; that is the standard upholstery in the base, albeit expensive, X3 SUV." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "All of the seats are comfortable and supportive, especially the optional sport chairs fitted to our tester. Rear seat passenger room isn't as generous as the X3's size would lead you to believe, and the back seats cannot be moved forward or backward, something that would help greatly, especially when longer-legged folks are seated in the front." -- Autoblog

Interior Features

In the base xDrive 28i, buyers get features like an iPod interface, HD Radio and Bluetooth. Optional features include a rearview camera, navigation, satellite radio, a head-up display and a heated steering wheel.

One thing that may give buyers pause is iDrive, which is standard on the X3. BMW’s iDrive is an infotainment system that controls many of the X3’s comfort and entertainment features with a single knob. As with many of these systems, reviewers think iDrive is confusing, and one reviewer finds that with the USB connection, music won’t play. 

  • "The audio and climate controls are logically arranged and marked. BMW's most recent iDrive system is straightforward enough. The uninitiated will be puzzled, but after a while it becomes second nature. One test example would not play music from a device connected to its USB port. The auxiliary stereo input worked properly." -- Consumer Guide


With the second row in place, the X3 has 27.6 cubic feet of cargo space. With all seats folded, there is 56.6 cubic feet of space. While these figures are low for the class, test drivers appreciate the cargo hold’s wide opening, which makes it easier to pack more items.

A handy optional feature is the folding rear seat. While the standard rear seat folds 60/40, buyers can opt for a rear seat that folds in three sections (40/20/40). That gives more flexibility for hauling passengers and gear.

  • “The luggage space, accessed through a one-piece tailgate, is wide and regularly shaped." -- Motor Trend
  • "The optional 40/20/40 split-folding seat back is a nice convenience. Aside from large door pockets, interior storage is otherwise meager." -- Consumer Guide

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