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John Diether
Automotive Editor - August 27, 2014

Expert Rating

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22 City / 29 Highway

Unlike other websites and magazines, our ratings are not based solely on a singular road test, but rather a more encompassing batch of criteria: quality, safety, comfort, performance, fuel economy, reliability history and value. When comparing vehicles using our Rating System, it's important to note that the rating earned by each vehicle correlates only to the models within its class. For example, a compact car cannot be compared to a SUV—They are different vehicles altogether.

You can interpret our ratings in the following way:

5-Star: Outstanding vehicle. Only the most exceptional vehicles achieve this rating.

4-Star: Very Good vehicle. Very good and close to being the best vehicle in its class.

3-Star: Good vehicle. Decent, but not quite the best. Often affordable, but lacking key features found in vehicles of the same class.

2-Star: Below average vehicle. Not recommended, and lacking attributes a car buyer would come to expect for the price.

1-Star: Poor vehicle. Simply does not deserve to be on the road.


BMW's compact crossover has grown up over the years, becoming more luxurious and spacious in the back. It remains a top choice among buyers looking for a refined family vehicle with athletic road manners.

What's New for 2015

The X3 gets a new diesel option, and a two-wheel drive model is now available. All versions carry fresh front-end styling and additional convenience features.

2015 BMW X3

Choosing Your BMW X3

The X3 starts out with a 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder good for 240 horsepower. This year, the engine can be paired with rear-wheel drive in place of all-wheel drive, which remains mandatory with the other engines. Next up is a diesel version of the 2-liter that puts out 180 horsepower and achieves 30 mpg in combined driving. The top choice, a 3-liter six-cylinder turbo, delivers 300 horsepower for class-leading performance. All engines are joined by an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The four trim levels correspond to the powertrain:


Equipped with the 2-liter turbo and rear-wheel drive, plus a power tailgate, automatic wipers and headlamps, power front seats in premium vinyl, Bluetooth phone and audio, BMW's iDrive electronics interface and a 12-speaker sound system with HD radio.


Adds all-wheel drive with hill descent control.


Same as above, but with the diesel engine.


Carries the six-cylinder engine, plus adaptive xenon headlamps, LED running lights and a panoramic sunroof.

There are two optional trim lines available on all models. The xLine features aluminum exterior trim and lightweight 19-inch alloy wheels. The M Sport line comes with sport seats, 19-inch double-spoke wheels and specific interior and exterior trim.

Most other options are grouped into packages. The popular Premium Package includes leather upholstery, a panoramic sunroof (standard on the xDrive 35i), keyless ignition, hands-free tailgate opening and satellite radio. The Cold Weather Package gets you heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel and retractable headlamp washers.

The Technology Package includes a head-up display, integrated smartphone apps and a navigation system (also available separately). For enhanced stability when hitting the curves, the Dynamic Handling adds adaptive suspension dampers and a revised power steering system.

The Driver Assistance Package equips the X3 with a rearview camera and front and rear parking sensors, while Driver Assistance Plus tacks on a surround-view camera system, active collision mitigation, and blind-spot and lane-departure warning systems. Adaptive cruise control can be added to the package at additional cost. Rounding out your choices are upgraded exterior lighting for each model and a 16-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound system.

CarsDirect Tip

Be sure to test drive the new diesel model before you buy. If you don't mind its slower acceleration, you'll be rewarded with exceptional fuel economy on the highway and off.

Choose your BMW X1 »

2015 BMW X3 Side Rear

Best BMW Deals & Lease Offers In July

BMW's deals see small changes in July. Finance rates continue tp be the lowest we've seen at 0.9% APR for 60 months. In the case of the 2020 X1, buyers can combine the promotional... View All BMW Lease Deals

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