BMW X3 | Video Review | CarsIreland.ie

The new BMW X3: Price may be steep but it is pretty much flawless.

“The new BMW X3: Price may be steep but it is pretty much flawless.”

  • Massively improved design

  • Great to drive

  • High-tech, beautifully executed cabin


Overall Rating

  • Premium pricetag

  • Long expensive option list

  • Android Auto not supported

Overall Rating


BMW introduce us to their latest X3, the brand’s premium compact SUV that sits between the smaller X1 and larger X5 in the line-up. Its rivals include other luxurious machines such as the Audi Q5 and Volvo XC60, and it’s for people who like to get around in style and comfort, but still need the extra practicality and space that this end of the market provides.

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Interior Gallery

Space & Practicality

The extra height makes it very easy to get in and out of and makes for a generous amount of headroom for all on board, even in the back. In fact, rear seat passengers should be very happy with seats that recline, a pull down centre armrest and their own digitally controlled climate zone. Definitely not a space you’d mind taking a long journey in.

The boot offers a very generous 550 litres of luggage space and even back there, the attention to detail is second to none. There’s no load lip meaning it’s very easy to slide things in and out, and the seats fold in a useful three way split at the pull of a lever. There’s also some handy sliding tether points in case you need to tie anything down.

Equipment and Safety

In the front, there’s some more thoughtful, practical touches including well-placed cupholders, large doorbins and some more hidden storage in the centre.

With the practical stuff out of the way, the real reason you’ll want to buy an X3 we think, is because of the way it looks, and the way it drives (which we will get to shortly), but also because of how it feels in the cabin, and the experience as a whole.

From the very first thing you touch – a sleek (if a little large) touchscreen controller which  will allow you to preset the temperature before departure, it’s hard not to be impressed.

The beautifully executed cabin invites you to touch and explore every well-screwed switch and corner, and you won’t be disappointed when you do.  The quality of materials and attention to detail is second to none.

The M Sport model we had on test comes with a few nicely appointed extras including super soft Vernasca leather heated sports seats, an M Sport steering wheel and an upgraded Navigation system.

The iDrive infotainment system is as good as ever. Clever and intuitive, you can use it as a touch screen or via a central control pad. You can up the wow factor with an optional technology pack which will add gesture control, a digital cockpit and a head-up display.

As with all BMWs there are plenty more options to choose from too including a visibility package, comfort package, adaptive suspension, a panoramic glass sunroof, active cruise control, electric memory seats, a Harmon Kardon sound system and Apple CarPlay. Strangely enough, it doesn’t offer an option to android users.

Performance & Running Costs

We test drove the xDrive 30d M Sport, a 3.0l all-wheel drive diesel pushing out 260 brake horse power. The gutsy low down power and endless supply of torque (620nm from 2000 rpm) makes for a dynamic drive, which along with the phenomenal grip of the four wheel drive system gives it a truly ‘go anywhere’ feel.  It’s effortless and engaging and hard to beat in this segment.

Though it sits higher than a saloon, it doesn’t roll, it doesn’t bounce, and it just feels beautifully planted at all times. There’s great feedback from the steering and the instant power delivery from the 8 speed automatic transmission makes it feel willing and constantly raring to go.

M Sport models come with stiffer sports suspension but any harshness is ironed out by the (optional) adaptive suspension which softens things up nicely around town.

There is a slightly tamer and more economical 2.0l diesel available for those who want to reduce running costs and do better than this one’s claimed fuel economy of 5.8l per 100km.

Reliability & Residuals

There’s no downsides as such except that such fine engineering doesn’t come cheap. A long and expensive option list can see the price climb to comical levels, and well in to X5 territory. A bit of restraint here and perhaps opting for the more economical 2.0l engine, and you’ve got a much more realistic but still essentially brilliant incarnation of what is one of the best mid-size SUVs that money can buy.

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Details correct at time of publication

About the Author:

Sinéad is our resident car tester who has the unenviable (-ok, slightly enviable) task of reviewing all the latest new cars to hit the market. You can follow her on Twitter @smcani and on Instagram @whatshedrives