2012 BMW X3 SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2012 BMW X3 SUV

We didn't find any results. You can try changing your zip code, or check another model year.

We found matches for you!

BMW X3 Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.0 L Inline 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 8-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 240 hp @ 6600 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 19/25 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2012 BMW X3

  • The 2012 BMW X3 is a fine (if pricey) choice for drivers seeking sport sedan dynamics in a crossover SUV.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Potent turbocharged engine; high-quality cabin; crisp handling; comfortable rear seat.

  • Cons

    Priced higher than many competitors.

  • What's New for 2012

    The 2012 BMW X3 is essentially unchanged save for a minor shuffling of optional equipment package features.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Another "like it but"

by on
Vehicle: 2011 BMW X3

Comfortable, largely well-handling and a great value vs. our previous series of Jeep Cherokees. BUT, despite three "re-programs", acceleration after slowing is tortoise speed (a full three second delay before the trans kicks down) making high speed merges a gamble. Also hate the electronic parking brake which eliminates the safety of a manual parking brake backup. It is either on...or off.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

I like it but...

by on
Vehicle: 2011 BMW X3

2011 X3 35I is my first BMW, I am a Honda Accord 3.0 6 cylinder regular. X3 is a beautiful, fun to drive small SUV. Its quick at high speed. It has roomy interior, front and rear. Good sound system as well as the blue tooth phone interface. This vehicle is really for luxury and not an economical alternative.

Poor handling

by on
Vehicle: 2011 BMW X3

Has anyone experienced this issue and was there a resolution to this SUV's poor handling stability? I used to own a 2008 X3 which had the traditional great performing stiff hydraulic power steering, now this X3 comes with some kind of "electric" assist on steering which may or may not be the cause for an unstable ride when driving on uneven pavement (especially wheel gutters from nordic states spring thaw). The car is simply unstable in its direction, it feels like you constantly need to fight the direction with oposition move on steering wheel to prevent it from swaying to right or left. Does this sound familiar to anyone? Please help, this car is great otherwise.

8 of 27 people found this review helpful


by on
Vehicle: 2011 BMW X3

I just don't even know where to begin with this hunk of [non-permissible content removed]!! First I'll start by agreeing with every negative comment I've read on this review board. Just purchased this junk on wheels less than one year ago and its already going back to BMW for service for the fifth time! I had to bring the car in for its first service owning it for three days. Little did I know this was just the beginning. PLEASE PLEASE listen to all the reviews on this board. Consider something else!!!

Best suv in the market.

by on
Vehicle: 2011 BMW X3

I have owned this car for 11 months and put on 14200 miles on it. I have driven all four seasons now and can say that this is the best SUV I have driven. Performance is Awesome. I would say that BMW has built this like a mirror of your mood. If you slam on the gas it is the fastest with accurate handling control with (17mpg). My friends say that they could see a big difference in my driving style. If you drive it slow you get the best possible mileage (31 mpg). I drove 270 miles non stop and I looked fresh as I started to drive. Get the Premium Audio and it is one of the best&Every Penny is worth it. If you get this car from a reputed dealer it will not disappoint you.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

I got a lemon.

by on
Vehicle: 2011 BMW X3

I bought a brand new 2011 BMW X3 XDrive 35i from Autorgemana in Medellin, Colombia and I got a lemon. 1) The sunroof didnít work. It took 6 months to replace everything and still makes a clunking noise when it opens. 2) when you step on the brakes the car shakes. It was at the dealer 3 times and they couldnít give us a correct solution. They replaced all 4 disc brakes, pads and sensors. 3) The headlights fog up inside even if it doesnít rain. They havenít been able to figure out why this happens so they said it is normal and a year later still happens. 4) The steering system was broken. It went to the shop 3 times and it took 8 months to replace it. As i write this, my car is 14 months old, it has 14.800 kms and it is in the shop for the twelfth time. I named it St. Joseph because it goes from the shop to the house and the house to the shop.

Gas Mileage


  • 19
  • cty
  • 25
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs

Full 2012 BMW X3 Review

What's New for 2012

The 2012 BMW X3 is essentially unchanged save for a minor shuffling of optional equipment package features.


BMW doesn't always get it right the first time. Take the X3, for example. When it debuted nearly a decade ago, the company's first compact SUV was obviously inspired by its established and respected X5 sibling. But although it had BMW's trademark athleticism, that first X3 suffered from some subpar interior materials, an overly stiff ride and a high price tag. There was, as the saying goes, some room for improvement. So BMW, looking to make amends, fully redesigned the X3 last year. The superior results carry on into this year, and the 2012 BMW X3 is certainly better for it.

Although this second-generation X3 still provides sport sedan-like composure in the corners, its suspension is compliant enough to take the rough edges off the road. There's even the option of a Dynamic Handling package that also changes the suspension damping, throttle action, transmission shift schedule and stability control calibration to suit the driver's mood and/or road conditions. The interior is as well, with high-quality materials and solid construction. Of course, being a crossover SUV, the X3 also provides the expected traits of all-wheel drive and respectable cargo capacity.

The 2012 BMW X3 is available with two engines, both of which suffer from BMW's silly naming conventions. The entry-level X3 xDrive28i (xDrive is essentially BMW speak for all-wheel drive) provides a fairly spirited drive, while the X3 xDrive35i provides a very spirited drive thanks to its turbocharged, 300-horsepower six-cylinder engine. The X3's eight-speed transmission also deserves special mention for its quick ability to optimize performance. When you need "right now" response it can drop directly from 8th to 2nd gear in one shot, bypassing the gears in between.

Overall, the 2012 BMW X3 is a major player in the small luxury crossover SUV game. But it's not without peer. The Infiniti EX35, for instance, offers similar power and agility for considerably less money. The Mercedes-Benz GLK350 is less athletic but feels more solid. The Audi Q5 provides a smoother ride, while the Volvo XC60 is more family-friendly. Each offers a slightly different take on what the ideal luxury crossover should be. But if you want one with a performance-oriented personality, the 2012 BMW X3 is a great choice.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2012 BMW X3 is a five-passenger compact luxury crossover SUV available in two trim levels that correspond to the engine: the xDrive28i and the xDrive35i.

Standard features on the 28i include 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, foglights, automatic wipers, eight-way power front seats, a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, leatherette premium vinyl upholstery, automatic climate control, cruise control, Bluetooth, BMW's iDrive electronics interface and a 12-speaker sound system with a CD player, HD radio, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB/iPod interface.

The 35i is similar but has 18-inch alloy wheels, adaptive xenon headlights, a panoramic sunroof and wood interior accents.

Options are largely grouped into packages, but several of the items are available separately. The Sport Activity package includes unique exterior trim, 18-inch (28i) or 19-inch (35i) wheels, roof rails, sport front seats, a sport steering wheel and a sport mode-equipped transmission with paddle shifters (35i). The M Sport package is similar but has different wheel styles, blacked-out exterior trim and chrome exhaust outlets.

The Premium package for the 28i includes power-folding/auto-dimming mirrors, the panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery, front seat power lumbar support, additional lighting and more storage features (including nets and tie-down hooks). The Premium package for the 35i adds keyless ignition/entry, a power tailgate and rear window sunshades.

The Technology package offers a rearview camera with top view, front and rear parking sensors, Bluetooth streaming audio, a navigation system (with voice commands and real-time traffic) and BMW Assist emergency communications (with collision notification and enhanced roadside assistance).

The Dynamic Handling package includes adaptive suspension dampers, variable-ratio steering and three driver-selectable drive modes. The Convenience package includes the adaptive xenon headlights, keyless ignition/entry, a power tailgate and rear window sunshades. The Cold Weather package adds heated front seats and steering wheel along with a 40/20/40-split rear seat. The Cold Weather package II includes heated rear seats and headlight washers. There is also a Premium sound package that features 16 speakers and digital sound processing.

Powertrains and Performance

A 3.0-liter inline-6 engine powers both 2012 BMW X3 models. The engine in the xDrive28i makes 240 hp and 221 pound-feet of torque, while the turbocharged variant in the xDrive35i is rated at 300 hp and 300 lb-ft. An eight-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode is standard on both models, as is AWD.

In Edmunds testing, an xDrive35i accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds, which is about 1.5 seconds quicker than the class average. EPA fuel economy estimates stand at 19 mpg city/25 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined for the 28i, while the 35i actually achieves a slightly better 19/26/21.


Standard safety equipment includes antilock disc brakes, automatic brake drying (useful in rainy weather), front airbags, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, active front-seat head restraints, stability control and hill descent control. In Edmunds testing, the xDrive35i stopped from 60 mph in 123 feet, an average distance.

In crash testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the X3 received the highest possible rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset, side and roof strength tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

The X3's interior will be familiar to anyone who has spent time in a BMW product. Classic analog gauges, sensible ergonomics and a restrained overall aesthetic combine to create a pleasant driving environment. Occupants will feel cocooned within the high-quality materials covering the seats, consoles and dash. Though there is a learning curve involved, the standard iDrive electronics interface is intuitive and one of the best of its kind.

While still considered a compact crossover, the current-generation X3 has swelled to proportions similar to the previous-generation X5. As such, room for front passengers is more than ample, while rear legroom is downright generous. Total cargo capacity with the rear seats folded is 63.3 cubic feet, an average figure for this type of vehicle.

Driving Impressions

With its weight distributed almost equally over its front and rear axles, the 2012 BMW X3 handles with the adeptness that you expect from this German brand. The chassis feels light and the speed-sensitive steering gives the X3 a nimble quality that makes you want to swing it around. The Dynamic Handling package adds different driving modes, though we've found these to be an overly complicated solution to a problem that never existed in the first place.

Yet this athleticism doesn't take away from its ride quality that is comfortable and composed even over rough pavement. When it comes to gobbling up lots of highway miles, it's hard to complain about the X3. The same can be said about its engines. While the base 28i inline-6 delivers competitive power and acceleration for the class, the turbocharged 35i offers a degree of quickness that none of its competitors can match.

Talk About The 2012 X3

Read more about the 2012 BMW X3

Have a question? We're here to help!
Chat online with us
Email us at help@edmunds.com
*Available daily 8AM-5PM Pacific
Call us at 855-782-4711
Text us at ED411