Choosing between a luxury car, a sports car or an SUV can be tough. Fortunately with the BMW X3, you don’t have to. It conveniently combines all three categories into a compact luxury crossover that is sure to please.

Pricing and Equipment

It's best to think of X3 trim levels in two mix-and-match ways: four-cylinder or six-cylinder and rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The entry level X3 28i is priced from $39,000 and comes standard with:

  • 18-inch wheels
  • SensaTec upholstery
  • Rain-sensing windshield wipers
  • Power-folding, heated side mirrors

The XDrive 28i we tested also came with Surroundview ($750), a camera system that gives you a 360-degree view around the car and heightens situational awareness. We recommend you get it. It also had the Harman Kardon surround sound system ($875) -- a big plus for audiophiles.

Performance Pros

BMW X3

We found the turbocharged 240-horsepower four-cylinder to be very responsive. There was no hesitation between our hitting the pedal and the engine delivering power. Apparently, BMW’s twin scroll turbo technology has done its job of eliminating turbo lag.

Other performance notes:

  • The 4WD xDrive system splits power 60/40 with the front and rear wheels. The result? Better handling, traction and control. If you live in colder climates, the xDrive is a must.
  • We discovered that the X3's 240 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque deliver more than respectable performance for what is still essentially a family car.

Performance Cons

  • Sort of a pro and a con in one: The X3’s suspension is so athletic and firm, it takes some getting used to. The uncanny lack of roll and pitch when we turn or brake feels strange at first.
  • We sampled the X3’s off-road capabilities, and the main takeaway is that it's really is more of a luxury vehicle with added traction than a 4x4. Then again, most BMW drivers are not know for off-roading weekends.

Interior Pros

  • We love the spacious, roomy cabin -- it feels like a luxury sedan.
  • Space, space and more space. This is one of the X3's strongest selling points.

Interior Cons

  • To us, the controls and LCD felt a little confusing and cluttered at first.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

Handling. This thing hugs the road like a BMW should. We feel the X3 far exceeds others crossovers in this arena.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

Packages are too pricy. We know it’s a BMW, but you could easily add $10,000 to this vehicle with technology and performance packages.

The Bottom Line

BMW X3 Interior

We are definitely on-board with the X3. It offers a great combination of utility, performance and luxury. And it lives up to its BMW pedigree. We recommend going with one of the xDrive four-wheel drive models, especially if you live in colder climates. It delivers better traction, handling and safety which is critical for a family vehicle operating in northern states.