2006 BMW X3 Review

Pros & Cons

  • Nimble handling, precise steering, comfortable cabin, solid build quality, good cargo capacity for its size.
  • Overly stiff ride, expensive for a compact sport-ute, some economy-grade interior materials.
List Price Range
$4,690 - $5,500

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Looking for a small SUV that performs like a sport sedan? The 2006 BMW X3 shouldn't disappoint, so long as you don't mind its big price tag and unusually firm ride.

Vehicle overview

Based on the previous-generation 3 Series sedan, the BMW X3 is a downsized version of the X5 that promises similar levels of sportiness and utility. It has a high seating position, all-weather traction and just enough sharp edges to give it a look all its own. Add in plenty of bulletproof hardware from the 3 Series lineup, and indeed the X3 has all the makings of a very popular compact luxury SUV.

The BMW X3 features a full-time all-wheel-drive system dubbed xDrive. With the ability to detect slippage and redirect power to the wheels with the most traction, this system gives the compact BMW SUV outstanding handling in both wet and dry situations. In addition to all-weather capability, the X3 features a commanding view from the driver seat along with ample passenger and cargo room. Numerous storage spaces are sprinkled throughout the interior for added versatility, and the X3 can accommodate multiple mountain bikes, according to BMW. Like its 3 Series cousins, the X3 sports a stylish interior highlighted by large analog gauges and high-quality switchgear.

Unfortunately, not all of the materials used in the cabin meet premium standards set by the 3 Series, so those expecting an upscale environment may be disappointed. The BMW X3 is one of the few compact sport-utilities with a luxury-brand nameplate. Although we hesitate to recommend that anyone spend close to $40,000 on a small SUV, the X3's package of style, performance and day-to-day functionality could be compelling for shoppers who want a 3 Series sedan but need more cabin space and utility. It's certainly not a traditional SUV by any means, but if you like the way the 2006 BMW X3 looks on paper, you're most certainly going to like the feeling behind the wheel.

2006 BMW X3 models

The BMW X3 is a compact five-passenger SUV that comes in one trim level, the 3.0i. Standard features include 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic climate control, leatherette (vinyl, that is) upholstery, full power accessories, automatic headlights, heated mirrors, a CD player and keyless entry. BMW offers three main option packages: Premium, Sport and Cold Weather. The Premium Package is highlighted by leather upholstery and an auto-dimming rearview mirror, while the Sport Package includes a sport-tuned suspension, 18-inch alloy wheels with performance tires and sport seats. The Cold Weather Package combats snowy climates with heated front seats and heated washer jets. Other popular options include a DVD-based navigation system, adaptive HID headlights and rear parking sensors.

2006 Highlights

For 2006, BMW has discontinued the base 2.5i model.

Performance & mpg

The X3 gains motivation through a 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine that generates 225 hp and 214 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, while a five-speed Steptronic automatic is optional. Also standard is an all-wheel-drive system dubbed xDrive that automatically distributes power to the wheels with the most traction for optimum performance in all conditions.


The BMW X3 features standard four-wheel antilock disc brakes, stability control, Hill Descent Control (HDC) and a full complement of front, side and side curtain airbags. Torso-protecting side airbags for rear passengers are optional.


It may look like an SUV but it sure doesn't drive like one. Much like its bigger brother, the BMW X3 feels more like a sporty sedan behind the wheel than a lumbering off-road machine. Typically precise steering combined with a tightly controlled suspension and perfect traction results in a BMW SUV that gives up little in the way of driving dynamics. The downside to this is that the ride quality can be overly stiff, especially on vehicles equipped with the Sport Package. However, if you're looking for the closest thing to a sports car with a high seating position, the 2006 BMW X3 is your vehicle.


The X3's interior is instantly recognizable as a BMW. Large analog gauges greet the driver, and the supportive seats provide a commanding view of the road. The audio and climate controls are more complex than we would like, but the overall look is very clean and uncluttered. Unfortunately, not all of the materials are up to the premium standards set by the 3 Series, giving the BMW X3 a more economy-grade feel than its price tag would indicate. The X3 offers 33 cubic feet of cargo capacity behind its 60/40-split rear seat. Lower the seat and BMW's compact SUV provides 71 cubic feet of space, slightly more than the midsize X5. Adjustable tie-down points in the cargo bay make it easy to secure your load.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2006 BMW X3.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

Manual transmission and Sunroof
My wife and I traded in our car with our baby on the way and wanted an SUV that had both a manual transmission and a sun roof. NO new cars come with both so We picked up our 2006 X3 with 68K and now have about 77K after almost a year and absolutely love it! The storage in the back is a little tight but the movable tie downs are great. We ended up buying the crossbars for the roof so we can put a cargo box on top for our annually beach vacation. Worked wonderfully. Gas mileage has been pretty good, with summer gas and a trip to north western pa (No roof rack) we managed between 25-26mpg 85-90% highway. Around town we get anywhere from 18-21, depending on who's driving.
Great car but repairs are expensive.
3.0i 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl 6M)
Bought this car in 2009 and have nearly 100k miles. It has been a great car but you need to be aware of some expensive repairs that will be needed. Started leaking oil at 80K miles. $600 to repair 2 seals at private mechanic, $1,200 dealer quote. Broken rear springs at 80K, $600 at private mechanic, $1200 dealer quote. Replaced passenger front seat due to airbag sensor problem $0 under extended warranty. Bottom line, get a good private mechanic if you want to keep your X3 long term. ALL BMWS HAVE THESE SAME PROBLEMS. Dealer repair prices are a rip off. You have to pay for the lush showrooms. All cars these days are meant to be leased and turned in before any manufacturing problems show up. In my opinion Acuras are more reliable but don't handle as well. Now problems with trim are showing up. Door handle cable broke and plastic map case latch broke. Still a good driving car.
fun to drive and reliable
3.0i 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl 6M)
Its definitely not a luxury vehicle. It fun to drive. I live in a hilly city and this little baby just wips around the curves. The leather seats are horrible. Im use to better quality. I also live in extreme heat so the seats make everyone sweat. I wish it had more cup holders. The one on the passenger side is broke. Its cheap plastic. I will say I have 185000 miles on this baby. Its paid for and its mine. Its gotten me everywhere I need to go and Im grateful. My mechanic says it will run forever. It cost a lot when it needs something but as far as reliable ,well Its on top The sun roof cover wont close all the way.I have to many miles to care. I'm giving it to my daughter and getting a newer suv. Just not sure what. I thought I would write a review since Im looking for a new suv and the smaller ones are not getting great reviews. To sum it up this baby has been worth it but I want more luxury. Have not had any complaints about the bigger suvs I have owned. Oh except gas mileage. Hope this helps here is an update. Gave this car to my daughter going to college. She loves it and its safe. I bought myself a Lexus SUV and I LOVE it. Cant go wrong. My first review sums it up.
3.0i 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl 6M)
the ultimate driving machine even for an SUV. love this car!! the way it drives and handles, awesome! ! If you love to drive .then BMW is the car for you! I have had it almost a year, bought it with 80,000 Miles, it has 95,000 now and it runs great.. car also handles very well in snow..I do know they are expensive to work on, I did buy a warranty and had to use it once....save me $600....so far so good with Warranty Direct

Features & Specs

See all Used 2006 BMW X3 features & specs


IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2006 BMW X3

Used 2006 BMW X3 Overview

The Used 2006 BMW X3 is offered in the following submodels: X3 SUV. Available styles include 3.0i 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl 6M).

What's a good price on a Used 2006 BMW X3?

Price comparisons for Used 2006 BMW X3 trim styles:

  • The Used 2006 BMW X3 3.0i is priced between $4,690 and$5,500 with odometer readings between 104526 and188900 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2006 BMW X3s are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2006 BMW X3 for sale near. There are currently 2 used and CPO 2006 X3s listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $4,690 and mileage as low as 104526 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2006 BMW X3.

Can't find a used 2006 BMW X3s you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used BMW X3 for sale - 1 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $24,244.

Find a used BMW for sale - 3 great deals out of 9 listings starting at $20,411.

Find a used certified pre-owned BMW X3 for sale - 4 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $22,729.

Find a used certified pre-owned BMW for sale - 7 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $24,072.

Should I lease or buy a 2006 BMW X3?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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