2018 BMW X3

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MSRP: $42,650 - 54,500

2018 BMW X3 Review

With sporty handling, powerful engines, and roomy seats, the fully redesigned 2018 BMW X3 places in the top third of our luxury compact SUV rankings.




Critics' Rating: 8.8
Performance: 8.4
Interior: 8.0
Safety: 10.0
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Pros & Cons

  • Agile handling
  • Strong engine lineup
  • Spacious cargo area and cabin
  • Premium interior
  • Above-average starting price
  • Minimal standard luxury features

Is the BMW X3 a Good SUV?

Yes, the BMW X3 is a good SUV. The 2018 model marks the start of a brand-new generation for this crossover. Updates include a new iDrive infotainment system and standard all-wheel drive. The redesigned X3 has superb crash test ratings, plenty of cargo space, and sharp handling. You can also opt for the all-new M40i model that’s fine-tuned for performance-minded shoppers. On the downside, the X3 has a sparse features list compared to other luxury compact SUVs.

Should I Buy the BMW X3?

The 2018 X3 is a fun-to-drive and practical small luxury SUV. However, several rivals are just as good as – if not better than – the X3, and they cost less. The Mercedes-Benz GLC doesn't offer the same agility as the X3, but it has one of the most luxurious cabins in the class. The Audi Q5 has a longer standard features list, and the Volvo XC60 comes with one of the longest lists of standard safety technology in the class.

Compare the X3, GLC, and Q5 »

Should I Buy a New or Used BMW X3?

The BMW X3 is fully redesigned for the 2018 model year, and it is significantly different than previous models. BMW made a few minor exterior styling enhancements to the X3, but the serious updates are inside. Tri-zone automatic climate control and a touch-screen infotainment system are now standard. You can also add gesture controls to increase the infotainment system’s functionality. Front ventilated seats are optional. On the performance front, all-wheel drive is now standard, and the base engine has a bit more horsepower (248 versus 240 in the base 2017 X3). A brand-new performance-oriented M40i model is available as well.

You can save money by shopping for a used model, but you won’t get any of these improvements. If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2016 and 2017 X3 reviews. Also, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 X3 »

We Did the Research for You: 14 Reviews Analyzed

We’ve analyzed third-party BMW X3 reviews, fuel economy estimates, reliability ratings, crash test results, and more to give you all the information you need to make a smart car-buying decision.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been reviewing cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our Best Cars team has more than 75 years of combined automotive industry experience. To remain impartial, we do not accept extravagant gifts from automakers, and an outside company handles our advertising.

How Much Does the BMW X3 Cost?

The 2018 BMW X3 starts at $42,650, which is one of the highest base prices in the luxury compact SUV class, though it does come standard with all-wheel drive. Comparatively, the Audi Q5 and Volvo XC60 start at $41,500, and the Mercedes GLC's starting ticket price is even cheaper, at $40,050.

With a more robust engine, sportier styling, and dynamic handling, the all-new BMW X3 M40i model starts at $54,500.

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?

Like the X3, the Audi Q5 has athletic handling, a solid lineup of powerful engines, and good fuel efficiency. The Q5, however, has more standard features, including Apple CarPlay and leather upholstery. The Audi also has a lower starting price than the BMW. It’s the superior choice.

Which Is Better: BMW X3 or Mercedes GLC?

The Mercedes-Benz GLC's strengths lie in its creature comforts. Like the X3, the GLC comes standard with synthetic leather upholstery. However, the GLC also offers luxurious amenities that you can't get in the X3, such as cabin fragrance and air purification systems. The GLC comes with a generous list of standard advanced safety features, including forward collision alert, emergency braking, and driver drowsiness monitoring. Though the GLC has less cargo space and is less athletic than X3, its compliant ride, powerful engines, and lower price tag still make it the better choice.

Which Is Better: BMW X3 or Volvo XC60?

Like the X3, the fully redesigned Volvo XC60 comes standard with all-wheel drive, offers great fuel efficiency, and has a roomy cabin. The lower-priced XC60 provides more bang for your buck as well, with a longer list of standard features that includes leather upholstery and smartphone integration. It also has one of the largest lists of advanced safety equipment in the class. The XC60 isn't as exciting to drive as the X3, nor is it expected to be as reliable. That said, the Volvo does offers a smooth ride, plenty of power, and lots of cargo space. Ultimately, either the X3 or the XC60 is a good choice. 

Compare the X3, Q5, and GLC »

X3 Interior

How Many People Does the X3 Seat?

The BMW X3 seats five in two rows. The standard power-adjustable front seats have plenty of support for a full day of driving, and the rear seats have a good amount of space and comfort for two adults. You can fit three adults in the back if need be, but it might feel a little snug.

X3 and Car Seats

The X3 has a full set of LATCH car-seat connectors on each rear outboard seat and an additional upper tether on the middle seat. The rear seats can accommodate convertible and booster car seats fine, but there's a marginal amount of space for rear-facing infant car seats.

X3 Interior Quality

The X3 has a first-rate interior, though you will find a few plastic surfaces throughout the cabin. Leatherette upholstery, sport seats, and power adjustments (on the front seats) come standard in the X3, while leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats, and ventilated front seats are available.

X3 Cargo Space

The X3 has 28.7 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row and 62.7 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. This is above average for the luxury compact SUV class. Additionally, a 40/20/40 split-folding back row and a power rear liftgate are standard.

X3 Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

For 2018, the X3 comes standard with an easy-to-use iDrive touch-screen infotainment system with a control knob for physical controls. It also comes with a 12-speaker audio system, HD Radio, Bluetooth, and a USB port. Gesture controls, navigation, wireless Apple CarPlay, and a 16-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system are optional. Non-iPhone users beware – Android Auto is not available.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto? Then, see the Best Cars With Apple CarPlay and Best Cars With Android Auto.

Read more about interior »

X3 Performance

X3 Engine: Great Power Delivery

The X3 comes standard with a 248-horsepower four-cylinder engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The base engine has sufficient power for highway passing. Performance-tuned M40i models come with a 355-horsepower, turbocharged six-cylinder engine. It’s quicker from a standstill than the base engine.

X3 Gas Mileage: Fuel-Efficient and Fun

The X3 gets good fuel economy estimates, especially considering its powerful engines. The base X3 delivers 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway, which is above average for the class. M40i models get a slightly lower rating of 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway.

X3 Ride and Handling: Puts the Sport in Sport Utility Vehicle

You'll have no problem taking this luxury compact SUV through twists and turns. The X3's engaging suspension not only helps the driver feel connected to the road but also does a good job absorbing road imperfections. The X3 is even capable of light off-roading. M40i models add an even more engaging sport-tuned suspension, though this setup creates a firmer ride. Brakes in the base model are strong, and the sport brakes in M40i models handle the vehicle’s increased muscle well with firm stopping power.

Read more about performance »

X3 Reliability

Is the BMW X3 Reliable?

J.D. Power gives the 2018 X3 a predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five. This is slightly better than average. 

BMW X3 Warranty

The 2018 BMW X3 has a four-year/50,000-mile warranty. Many luxury vehicles – like the Audi Q5, Mercedes-Benz GLC, and Volvo XC60 – have similar warranty lengths.

Read more about reliability »

X3 Safety

X3 Crash Test Results

Per Insurance Institute for Highway Safety evaluations, the X3 earns top scores in every crash test simulation, provides a Superior level of front crash prevention (when outfitted with the optional Driver Assistance package), and receives a Good headlight rating in select trims. The IIHS named the X3 a Top Safety Pick+ for 2018. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not posted any crash test ratings for the 2018 BMW X3.

X3 Safety Features

A rearview camera is the only advanced safety feature that comes standard with the 2018 X3. Available safety features include blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, city collision mitigation, pedestrian detection, automatic braking, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, parking sensors, a 360-degree surround-view camera, and front and rear cross traffic alert.

Read more about safety »

Which BMW X3 Model Is Right for Me?

The BMW X3 comes in two trim levels: xDrive30i and M40i. Most buyers will be happy with the base model and its standard four-cylinder engine, but to get some of the additional safety and technology features found among class rivals, you'll have to outfit your vehicle with a few of the many optional packages, which can quickly drive up the price of your new X3. We recommend the Driving Assistance Plus package for its additional safety features. See below for a breakdown of each package.

BMW X3 xDrive30i

The X3 xDrive30i starts at $42,650 and comes with a 248-horsepower four-cylinder engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Standard features include leatherette upholstery, a rearview camera, all-wheel drive, Bluetooth, a USB port, rain-sensing windshield wipers, an engine stop-start system, a power tailgate, tri-zone automatic climate control, LED fog lights, 10-way power-adjustable front sport seats, HD Radio, and a 12-speaker audio system.

There are several option packages available. The Convenience package ($2,850) adds lumbar support, satellite radio, a panoramic moonroof, LED cornering headlights, and proximity keyless entry. The Premium package ($6,150) includes the Convenience package's features as well as a head-up display, a heated steering wheel, navigation with real-time traffic information, and remote services (which allow you to control your car from your smartphone). The Executive package ($9,650) includes all the Premium package's features and adds a 360-degree surround-view camera, park distance control, adaptive LED headlights, automatic high beams, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, and gesture control.

The xDrive30i also offers three optional safety packages. The Driving Assistance package ($900) includes lane departure warning and blind spot monitoring. The Driving Assistance Plus package ($2,600) requires the Driving Assistance package and adds adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation, and pedestrian detection. The Parking Assistance package ($4,150) requires the Convenience package and adds park distance control, parallel parking assistant, and a 360-degree surround-view camera. Several a la carte options are also available, including wireless Apple CarPlay ($300), wireless charging and a Wi-Fi hot spot ($500), heated front seats ($500), front ventilated seats ($350), and a panoramic moonroof ($1,350).

BMW X3 M40i

The higher-performance X3 M40i starts at $54,500 and comes with a turbo 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine, M Sport suspension, and M Sport brakes. Additionally, it adds satellite radio, a panoramic moonroof, proximity keyless entry, 14-way power-adjustable front seats, lumbar support, parking sensors, adaptive LED headlights, and automatic high beams. Many of the same packages and options are available in the M40i trim, but prices vary.

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 2018 BMW X3 specs and trims »

The Final Call

There's a lot to like about the fully redesigned 2018 BMW X3. It has generous cargo space, potent engines, and nimble handling. The X3 isn't cheap, however, and many luxury amenities that come standard in models like the Audi Q5 cost extra in the X3.

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

  • "The all-new BMW X3 comes in two varieties. The xDrive30i is perfect for the day-to-day luxury SUV buyer who needs extra cargo space, but maybe will take their SUV onto the occasional unpaved road. The X3 M40i does that, but its powerful engine and sport suspension lets you enjoy those mountain roads even more." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "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
  • "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
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