$24,377 - $39,219

2017 BMW X3 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 BMW X3 was new.


Performance: 9.0

The 2017 X3 has a lineup of strong engines that feature robust power and decent fuel economy.  The X3 also offers nimble and engaging handling, and it provides one of the best overall driving experiences in the class.

  • "The performance of its three available engines are among the class best, yet their fuel economy is relatively thrifty." -- Edmunds
  • "Sending all the power and torque to the drive wheels is an excellent 8-speed automatic transmission from ZF, and if you like taking your on- and offramps quickly, the X3's responsive handling and steering will keep you satisfied." -- Kelley Blue Book (2016)
  • "On the road, the X3 is a tall vehicle, no doubt about it, but it remains exceptionally composed in corners for a crossover SUV. That makes its smooth, quiet ride all the more remarkable; BMW really nailed the suspension tuning in this truck. Throw in a choice of three outstanding engines, and you have the clear driver's choice among entry-level luxury crossovers." -- Autotrader (2015)

Acceleration and Power

The 2017 BMW X3 sDrive28i and xDrive28i are equipped with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine that makes 240 horsepower. The X3 xDrive35i comes with a 300-horsepower turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine. The X3 xDrive28d features a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel engine that produces 180 horsepower. An eight-speed automatic transmission comes standard in all models, and a sport transmission with paddle shifters is optional. The sDrive28i and xDrive 28i models get 21 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, which is fairly good for the class. The most powerful of the available engines, the six-cylinder in the xDrive35i, gets an estimated 19 mpg in the city and 26 on the highway. The turbodiesel engine gets 27/34 mpg city/highway – excellent numbers for the class.

Acceleration is quick with the standard turbocharged engine, and the six-cylinder powertrain provides even more thrilling power. Some critics find the stop-start function distracting, but it can fortunately be disabled.

  • "Whether you prefer the gasoline-powered 4-cylinder or 6-cylinder, the BMW X3 delivers swift acceleration. Even the diesel-powered X3 xDrive28d gets up to highway speeds quickly, although it's not particularly responsive if you need to pass. Still, with the turbocharged 4-cylinder propelling the X3 from zero to 60 mph in the mid-6-second range, the 6-cylinder turbo doing it in about five seconds, and the diesel in a bit less than eight seconds, there's little to complain about. Sending the power to the rear or all wheels is an excellent 8-speed automatic transmission from ZF." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Don't be fooled by the modest 240-hp rating of the 28i models; acceleration is quite brisk and the four-cylinder doesn't run out of breath at higher engine speeds. The xDrive28d is about a second slower to 60 mph, but the extra torque makes it feel quicker than the numbers suggest. Still, if you don't mind paying extra for the xDrive35i, you'll be rewarded with thrilling acceleration and fuel economy that isn't far off the 28i models' pace. … Not everything is perfect behind the wheel, though. The auto stop-start function that comes with all X3 models does improve fuel economy, but it can be an annoyance in heavy traffic. Fortunately, you can manually disable this feature." -- Edmunds
  • "The 4-cylinder engine in the sDrive28i and xDrive28i is a star. Acceleration is confident, and unlike most small turbocharged motors, this one doesn't run out of puff at high revs. It keeps pulling all the way to redline. Even so, the diesel-powered xDrive28d offers incredible fuel economy and a stout 280 lb-ft of torque. … Connoisseurs of speed, meanwhile, will be well served by the xDrive35i's turbocharged inline 6-cylinder, which turns the X3 into a genuinely rapid ride. In all cases, the 8-speed transmission delivers seamless shifts that maximize both responsiveness and efficiency." -- Autotrader (2016)

Handling and Braking

The X3 offers positive handling characteristics, such as good road feedback and precise steering. It feels sporty through turns and on highway ramps, and the ride quality is acceptable for daily driving.

  • "If you like taking on- and offramps quickly or being zealous on a twisty road, the X3's responsive handling and steering will keep you satisfied, especially in Sport mode." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The X3 delivers on the promise of BMW performance in other respects, too. Take it around a turn with enthusiasm and it feels light and nimble. As compact luxury crossovers go, it's one of the sportiest, particularly with the optional adjustable suspension. Although the ride quality is definitely on the firm side, most people will find the 2017 BMW X3 quite livable, whether commuting on urban streets or taking long highway trips." -- Edmunds
  • "But at the end of the day, we think the X3 gives some of the best driver feedback of any of the new electronic power steering systems available." -- Left Lane News (2016)

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