Review - BMW X3

By Alexi Falson on 12 Nov 2021
image for Review - BMW X3 The market for midsize SUVs has absolutely exploded in recent years, giving buyers more options than ever before when it comes to comfortable and luxurious motoring for you and the whole family. The BMW X3 has been at the forefront of this market segment, with BMW offering a different shape for all types of families, packaged with premium interiors and a heap of technology that adds to the overall attractiveness of the premium-priced package.

The problem for the X3, however, is that the fiercely competitive nature of the midsize SUV segment has resulted in the release of some cut-price, yet extremely high-quality vehicles that aim to take on the premium manufacturers, while offering buyers significant savings in the process. 

With that in mind, how well does the X3 assert itself as one of the leading midsize SUVs on the market? Let’s find out. 

Starting Price: $73,900

OnlineAuto Savings: Enquire now

BMW X3 (sDRIVE20i M SPORT) Specifications

Model Date 2021
Make BMW
Model X3
Series G01
Variant sDRIVE20i M SPORT
Drive RWD
Engine TDFI
Engine capacity 1998
Engine configuration DUAL OVERHEAD CAM / 16 valves
Engine RPM 5000 / 1350
Cylinders T4
Torque 300
KW 135
Fuel tank size 61.0
Fuel usage specs 7.4 / 0.0
CO2 163
ANCAP security rating UNRATED

For more details and other variants, check BMW X3 car page.

How Much Does It Cost?

The BMW X3 range kicks off from $73,900 for the entry-level sDrive20i, with the entry-level xDrive20d diesel variant receiving a price tag of $76,900. Stepping up to the mid-range xDrive30i brings the price tag up to $87,900, while the mid-range diesel variant, the xDrive30d is priced from $94,900, while the plug-in hybrid xDrive30e is priced from $104,900. 

Finally, the X3 range tops out in the form of the X3 M40i, which is priced from $115,900. Keep in mind that these prices are subject to change, and do not include on-road costs. 

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What Features Does the BMW X3 Have?

BMW’s entry-level sDrive20i and xDrive20d come riding on a set of 19-inch alloy wheels, and receive adaptive LED headlights with high-beam assistance, Sensatec leatherette upholstery, a powered boot lift, head-up display, reversing camera with parking assistant, a 12.3-inch digital driver’s display paired with an infotainment system receiving DAB+ digital radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and satellite navigation, electronically-adjustable seats, sport leather steering wheel and a heap of safety equipment that we’ll cover later in this review. The xDrive20d receives an all-wheel drive system over the sDrive20i, as well as an xLine styling package. 

Moving to the xDrive30i and xDrive30d adds a Vernasca leather upholstery finish for the cain, as well as ambient lighting, a 12-speaker HiFi sound system, BMW’s parking assistant plus system with reversing assistance, and BMW’s M Sport Package. This adds an adaptive suspension system, 20-inch alloys, leather steering wheel as well as some exterior styling improvements. 

Opting for the X3 xDrive30e adds a panoramic glass sunroof, heated front seats, Mode 2 and 3 charging cables, metallic paint finish, lumbar supporting front seats and some “i” brand badges around the exterior. 

Finally, the range-topping BMW X3 M40i receives a set of 21-inch M Sport alloys, as well as an M Sport adaptive suspension system and differential. It also receives a panoramic glass sunroof, heated seats, leather-wrapped instrument panel, BMW’s Laserlight system and an upgraded Harman/Kardon sound system.

Range Features: 

  • 19-inch alloy wheels 

  • Adaptive LED headlights 

  • Sensatec leatherette upholstery 

  • Cruise control with downhill braking 

  • 12.3-inch digital BMW Live Cockpit 

  • Powered boot lift 

  • Three-zone climate control 

  • Reversing camera with parking assistant 

  • Infotainment system with DAB+ radio, sat-nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto 

  • Head-up display

  • Leather steering wheel 

  • 20-inch alloys (xDrive 30i & xDrive 30d)

  • M Sport brakes, interior and exterior improvements (xDrive 30i & xDrive 30d)

  • Vernasca leather upholstery (xDrive 30i & xDrive 30d)

  • Ambient lighting (xDrive 30i & xDrive 30d)

  • Panoramic glass sunroof (xDrive 30e) 

  • Heated seats (xDrive 30e) 

  • Mode 2 and 3 charging cables (xDrive 30e) 

  • 21-inch alloys (M40i)

  • M Sport differential (M40i)

  • Adaptive suspension (M40i)

  • BMW Laserlight headlights (M40i)

  • Harman/Kardon surround sound system (M40i) 

BMW X3 (sDrive20i) Colours

Phytonic Blue Metallic Black Sapphire Metallic
Sophisto Grey Metallic Alpine White Solid
Mineral White Metallic M Carbon Black Metallic
M Brooklyn Grey Metallic Glacier Silver Metallic

Is it Comfortable to Drive? 

 The BMW X3 range presents buyers with a number of different options that offer different purposes. What we mean by this is, the entry-level variants remain fit-for-purpose and comfortable around town and long stretches on the highway, but they lack the adaptive suspension system that irons out all the bumps for a truly comfortable long-distance cruiser. The mid-level variants receive a set of larger alloy wheels which can impact the ride quality on rough surfaces, while the flagship M40i has been designed with performance clearly prioritised over anything else. 

Regardless, the X3 range as a whole remains an extremely tight package overall, with a range of engines available, each of which offering consistently more power as you move up the range, with all variants receiving a torque-converter automatic transmission. This eight-speed transmission works seamlessly in the background delivering smooth shifts when needed, and offering up power when necessary for overtaking. 

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the X3 as a daily driving package is just how focussed and sharp it feels on the road. At its heart, the X3 is based on the 3 Series sedan, which gives drivers behind the wheel of an X3 significantly more agility than they’d experience in most of the competitors. In Sport mode, the X3 handles far better than you’d expect from an SUV body shape, while the comfort and EcoPro settings bring it back to a simple, comfortable and refined driving dynamic. This means that around town, with comfort mode engaged, the X3 is largely unphased by bumps and irregularities on the road while feeling more like a sedan with a heightened driving position than an SUV. In terms of daily driving, this is an impressive feat, and adds to the X3’s appeal as a comfortable commuter that offers an engaging dynamic for the driver. The good news keeps coming when you pilot the X3 around town, where it remains agile and compact enough to make tight car parks and squeezing in and out of traffic a pleasure. 

Overall, then, the X3 is a fantastic daily driver that blurs the lines between a high-riding SUV and the sporty, agile sedan that it’s based on. As a complete package, the X3 is a high-quality and comfortable offering for the SUV segment. 

Is it Practical and Spacious? 

Stepping inside the cabin welcomes the driver and front passenger to a familiar BMW interior design that is sleek, modern and surprisingly practical for any growing families out there. The side doors host the usual set of door bins with a separate bottle holder compartment and another large storage area for any larger loose items around the cabin, while a large folding armrest makes way for a significant amount of storage between the driver and front passenger. The centre console receives a set of cup holders alongside a small tray for smartphones, while the driver has a small storage area to the side of the wheel and the passenger has access to a reasonably-sized glovebox. 

In terms of space and comfort in the front of the cabin, BMW’s seats are exceptionally comfortable for any long distance cruising you plan on doing, with an extremely ergonomic cockpit design that allows the driver to get their preferred position without a fuss. The front of the cabin is spacious with a great view out of the front windscreen that makes any tight parking or maneuvering a simple task. 

Moving to the rear of the cabin, you’ll find a comfortable set of seats for second row passengers in a relatively compact design. In terms of sheer space and comfort for tall rear passengers, this is largely dependent on the size of the driver. With a tall driver, legroom can be somewhat limited for any adult rear passengers, although it’s still possible to get comfortable as an adult in the rear of the X3’s cabin. This means that kids and fast-growing teenagers won’t have a problem getting comfortable on long trips, with the cabin receiving a spacious roof design that can accommodate the tallest of rear passengers without a problem. For families, BMW has positioned the ISOFIX anchors and top tether mounts in an easily accessible position, which accommodates full-sized child seats. 

In terms of cargo storage in the BMW X3’s boot, all variants except the xDrive30e plug-in hybrid have a boot rated at 550L, with hybrid offering a boot of 450L due to the rear-mounted battery pack. All up, then, the large boot on offer in the standard X3 lineup translates to some serious real-world practicality that can stand up to the punishment that growing families will no doubt throw its way. 

Is it Safe? 

The latest generation BMW X3 has been awarded a five star safety rating from ANCAP, scoring 93 out of 100 for adult protection, 84 for child occupant protection, 58 for active safety assistance and 70 out of 100 for vulnerable road user protection. 

The entry-level sDrive20i and xDrive20d are packaged with autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian protection, cruise control with a downhill braking function, lane departure and forward collision warnings, rear cross-traffic alerts, blind-spot monitoring and proactive rear collision avoidance, as well as front, side chest, driver’s knee and side curtain airbags as standard. 

Moving to the more expensive variants on offer upgrades the safety system with the Driving Assistant Professional unit that adds adaptive cruise control, semi-autonomous steering and lane control assistance, blind-spot and lane-keep assist, as well as front cross-traffic alerts. 

Is it Fuel Efficient?

With a range of different engines available for the X3 range, fuel economy depends largely which variant you opt for, with the entry-level sDrive20i petrol returning figures of 7.1L per 100km, and the entry-level xDrive20d diesel rated at 5.7L per 100km; both on a combined cycle. 

Moving to the xDrive30i brings the fuel economy figure up to 7.4L per 100km, while the diesel is rated at 6.0L per 100km, and the range-topping M40i is rated at 8.7L per 100km. 

The go-to option for those looking for maximum fuel efficiency from their X3, though, reains the xDrive30e plug-in hybrid, which is rated at just 2.6L per 100km on a combined cycle. 

Our Verdict: Is the BMW X3 Worth it? 

The BMW X3 remains one of the most appealing options in the premium midsize SUV market, and thanks to some notable upgrades in the latest generation, the X3 comes absolutely packed with features, even in the cheaper entry-level variants. If we had to pick a favourite, the mid-range xDrive30e plug-in hybrid seems to have the most going for it in terms of features and fuel economy, while retaining the comfortable yet engaging driving dynamic on offer. 

Regardless of the amount of variants available in the X3 lineup, the range as a whole is well-deserving of a spot on your shortlist for a premium midsize SUV. On that note, if you’re in the market for a new car, you can get a free quote and see how much OnlineAuto can save you on your next car, or call us on 1300 719 925 

Five Specs You Need to Know

  • Three-year, unlimited KM warranty 

  • Two-years additional warranty coverage available for around $2,000

  • Five star ANCAP safety rating 

  • 550L of boot space 

  • 2.6L per 100km fuel economy for xDrive30e plug-in hybrid variant 


  • Digital driving display looks great

  • Spacious interior with large second-row and sizable boot 

  • Agile handling with comfortable suspension 


  • Limited warranty coverage

  • Clean yet uninspiring interior design 

  • Some safety equipment reserved for mid-range and flagship variants 

OnlineAuto Rating: 7.5/10

BMW X3 Competition


Mercedes Benz GLC
Audi Q5
Lexus NX300
Volvo XC60
Audi SQ5


Alexi Falson

Alexi is an automotive journalist and road tester hailing from Byron Bay. He has an affection for both cars and motorbikes, a great admiration for the simplicity of old-school engineering, and a fascination of new technology making its way to modern cars. When he's not road testing, you'll find him surfing, hiking or helping people find their dream cars.

Have any questions? Call us on 1300 719 925

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