2008 BMW X3 Review

Pros & Cons

  • Quick reflexes, brilliant steering, outstanding power delivery, high build quality, respectable cargo capacity for its size.
  • Relatively stiff ride, priced higher than most competitors.
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Edmunds' Expert Review

Looking for a small SUV that performs like a sport sedan? The 2008 BMW X3 fulfills that role nicely, as long as you don't mind its big price tag and unusually firm ride.

Vehicle overview

Given its very athletic personality, calling the 2008 BMW X3 the "3 Series of SUVs" wouldn't be a stretch. In fact, that statement would be most fitting, as this crossover sport-ute shares its platform DNA with BMW's perpetually praised compact sport sedan. As with other small luxury SUVs, the X3 is geared more toward providing optimum all-weather performance on blacktop rather than off-road ability. Sharp steering and quick reflexes provide plenty of everyday driving enjoyment. Adding to the fun is a powerful and turbine-smooth inline-6 that can be paired to a six-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission -- the latter a rarity in this class dominated by automatic-only rivals.

Luxury is part of this Bimmer's appeal as well, though it's of the understated variety. Look closely and you'll discover perfectly tailored stitching on the well-shaped seats, precise fitment of the real wood trim and switches that operate with the precision of a musical instrument. Of course, the X3 can also be fitted with a wide array of high-end features, and versatility is quite good thanks to a rear seat that can accommodate 6-footers, and generous cargo capacity that measures 71 cubic feet when that seat is folded.

Admittedly, some folks may find the X3's ride too stiff, and for its size, it's pricey. There are a number of midsize premium-badged crossovers -- such as the Cadillac SRX and Lexus RX 350 -- that can be had for the same money. There are also an increasing number of small luxury crossovers to think about, such as the Infiniti EX35, Acura RDX and Land Rover LR2, all priced some $2,000 to $5,000 less. But for those looking for the maximum in driving enjoyment from their compact SUV, the 2008 BMW X3 is still the one. And this should come as no surprise considering its DNA.

2008 BMW X3 models

The 2008 BMW X3 is a small luxury crossover SUV that comes in a single 3.0si trim level. Standard features include 17-inch alloy wheels, a panoramic sunroof, automatic headlights, heated mirrors, automatic climate control, leatherette (a.k.a. vinyl) upholstery, full power accessories (including front seats), keyless entry and a CD player with an auxiliary audio input.

There are three major option packages: a Cold Weather package (heated front and rear seats, headlight washers and a ski bag), a Premium package (leather seating and additional interior and exterior lighting), a Sport package (firmer suspension calibrations, 18-inch alloys, sport seats and body styling accents) and a Sport Activity package (18-inch alloys, running boards, privacy glass, blackout window frames).

Stand-alone options include 19-inch wheels, park assist, an upgraded sound system, HD radio, a navigation system with iDrive, 16-way "Comfort" front seats and adaptive xenon headlights.

2008 Highlights

The 2008 BMW X3 gets newly standard active headrests and a new "Sport Activity" package. The latter is basically an appearance package that includes 18-inch wheels, privacy glass, running boards and blacked-out window frames.

Performance & mpg

The 2008 BMW X3 3.0si is powered by a 3.0-liter inline-6 engine rated at 260 horsepower and 225 pound-feet of torque. There is a choice of either a six-speed manual or Sportmatic six-speed automatic transmission. Power is sent to all four wheels through an all-wheel-drive system. We've timed a manual X3 at 7.2 seconds for the 0-60-mph sprint. The automatic X3 earns 2008 fuel mileage numbers of 17 mpg city and 24 highway, while the manual version rates 1 mpg less in both instances.


The BMW X3 features full-length side curtain airbags, front-seat side airbags, active headrests, antilock disc brakes and a stability control system. Additional features include automatic brake drying (whereby the rotors are lightly "wiped" during wet weather conditions) and hill descent control. Rear seat side airbags are optional. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash testing, the X3 earned the highest score of "Good" for both frontal-offset and side-impact tests.


If you judge small luxury SUVs solely by how well they slice through a curvy road, then there's no better one on the market than the 2008 BMW X3. The ultra-communicative and precise steering is simply the best, the spirited engine always has plenty of smooth thrust on hand, the suspension is nimble and the brakes are strong and resistant to fade. However, if what you're looking for is a family vehicle to haul the clan cross-country in maximum comfort or if you'd rather creep along a rutted trail than tear up the twisties, there are better choices.


The cabin of the X3 is well thought out and beautifully executed. Function takes priority over opulence, with excellent switch feel and plenty of storage cubbies. A DVD entertainment system is not available, and the audio and ventilation controls can be confusing at first, but once mastered, they return precise adjustments. We'd skip the navigation system, as BMW's befuddling iDrive system comes with it. Get an aftermarket unit instead. Support and comfort from the firm, well-shaped seats are excellent. Overall the X3's cabin is an environment geared for serious driving rather than entertaining diversion. Folding the rear seat forward reveals a healthy 71 cubic feet of cargo space.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2008 BMW X3.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

Sheared Motor Mount Bolts
3.0si 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl 6M)
2008 BMW X3 with 59,000 miles sheared all 4 motor mount bolts in normal street driving. BMW said “tough luck”. A quick internet search indicated this was not an isolated incident, many other relatively low mileage BMW's have had sheared motor mount bolts. I believe this problem to be a serious safety issue and filed a complaint with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. I encourage others that have had similar problems to file NHTSA complaints at the following website: safercar.gov Click the “REPORT A VEHICLE OR CHILD SEAT DEFECT” Tab and submit your complaint. If there are enough complaints, BMW will, hopefully, be forced to acknowledge this problem.
N52 engine really has problems
I purchased my x3 new, did my research and the x3 came in to be up there with the 3 series in quality. At around 60k the valves started to tap like crazy, (metal on metal sounds- if yours is doing this it is not normal! It needs to be repaired- don't let the dealer service people tell you it's air bubbles in the oil. It will lead to premature engine failure this should be covered under warranty) the tapping sound was especially loud with cold starts. The engine cylinder head was replaced, but the sound is more of a thumping slamming sound now, it will be in the shop this week again! Even the BMW techs I've talked to, feel the quality of BMW is really slipping.
I'm very much disappointed
I've just finished the 4 year warranty with my car as of September 1st 2012. The car was at the dealer several times, the gas odometer doesn't show the actual gas in the tank even the tank is full until several days later. It does let me pump gas into it and keep stop getting gas even the tank is not half yet. The water pump was not working just 2 year for a brand new X3. The dealer had to replace a new pump because the engine shut off while I was driving several times due to no coolant water in the engine. Now the warranty is over just 22 days, the car is just 28k and the coolant water pump having the problem again. I'm very disappointed and regret that I bought this expensive car.
BMW, never again
Ken Hardy,08/13/2015
3.0si 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl 6M)
I have owned 5 BMW's over the last 30 years, 2 were good cars 3 were not, the current 2008 X3 is the worst of the lot. body water leaks, engine oil leaks, sensor failures, water pump failure, ignition coil failures, transmission failure, you name it and I have had to have it fixed all before the car reached 91000 miles. I purched the car from BMW as a certified used car and had trouble with it from the beginning. The Dealer was of little help they just kept telling me the transmission was fine UNTIL the extended warrenty ran out, then it was " It failed and you need to replace it " at a cost of 8 grand. BMW is not the Ultimate Driving Machine, they are the Ultimate Maintenance Machine. Thank the Lord I don't have this car anymore, either some other poor sap has it or its been melted down for scrap

Features & Specs

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More about the 2008 BMW X3

Used 2008 BMW X3 Overview

The Used 2008 BMW X3 is offered in the following submodels: X3 SUV. Available styles include 3.0si 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl 6M).

What's a good price on a Used 2008 BMW X3?

Price comparisons for Used 2008 BMW X3 trim styles:

  • The Used 2008 BMW X3 3.0si is priced between $10,795 and$10,795 with odometer readings between 99914 and99914 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 2008 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) 2008 BMW X3 for sale near. There are currently 1 used and CPO 2008 X3s listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $10,795 and mileage as low as 99914 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 2008 BMW X3.

Can't find a used 2008 BMW X3s you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used BMW X3 for sale - 3 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $14,222.

Find a used BMW for sale - 4 great deals out of 5 listings starting at $20,760.

Find a used certified pre-owned BMW X3 for sale - 3 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $15,766.

Find a used certified pre-owned BMW for sale - 10 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $14,098.

Should I lease or buy a 2008 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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