2015 BMW X3 Review

Type:

Pros & Cons

  • Large selection of potent and reasonably efficient engines
  • high-quality cabin
  • generous passenger and cargo room
  • crisp handling
  • comfortable rear seat.
  • More expensive than most rivals.
List Price Range
$16,491 - $24,990

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2015 BMW X3 is an excellent, if somewhat pricey, choice for a luxury crossover SUV, with a broad selection of engines and wide-ranging talents.

Vehicle overview

The BMW X3 helped launch the compact luxury crossover segment more than a decade ago, and the model has grown even stronger over the years. The 2015 BMW X3 is one of the standouts in this competitive class, and is an ideal match for shoppers seeking both sporty driving dynamics and family-friendly utility.

In true BMW fashion, superior handling and performance are at the heart of the X3's appeal. The typical luxury SUV is uninspiring on winding canyon roads, but the X3 breaks the mold with sharp reflexes that make it a top pick in its class for driver engagement.

A range of capable engines is available, starting with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesel that's been added for 2015. This engine delivers 180 horsepower and a robust 280 pound-feet of torque, but more importantly boasts the strongest mileage in the engine lineup at 30 mpg combined. Most X3 buyers, though, will likely opt for the energetic yet frugal 240-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder found in the 28i models. Rounding things out is a turbocharged 300-hp 3.0-liter inline-6 that makes the X3 xDrive35i one of the quickest in its segment, with minimal compromises in fuel economy.

Complementing this crossover's fun-to-drive disposition is a cabin that melds opulence, comfort and utility. This BMW's interior furnishings are the last word in low-key luxury, with stylish design and outstanding materials quality. Front seats are endlessly supportive, whether you're whipping through canyons or logging highway miles on a long road trip. And the X3 is ready for family duty, thanks to its spacious rear seat and roomy cargo area.

The X3 faces impressive rivals, each with its own strengths. The Audi Q5 is the most synonymous with the X3, as it offers a similar blend of driving fun, utility and engine variety. The 2015 Porsche Macan is the class leader in handling and performance but it's significantly more expensive than the X3 and offers less cargo capacity. On the other end of the spectrum, the 2015 Acura RDX and 2015 Volvo XC60 are among the most spacious and family-friendly, and offer better value as well. The Mercedes-Benz GLK350 impresses with its uniquely angular elegance, but it's not as family-friendly as the X3, falling short in both cargo space and rear legroom.

Overall, the X3 shines as a very well-rounded model in the segment even if it's on the pricey side. It's a compelling choice for shoppers who want a luxurious family crossover that's also a blast to drive.

2015 BMW X3 models

The 2015 BMW X3 crossover SUV is available in four trim levels that correspond to powertrain: sDrive28i, xDrive28i, xDrive28d and xDrive35i.

The sDrive28i model comes standard with 18-inch wheels, rear privacy glass, automatic headlights, LED foglamps, automatic wipers, a power liftgate, auto-dimming mirrors, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power front seats with driver memory functions, "SensaTec" premium vinyl upholstery, a 40/20/40 split-folding rear seat, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, the iDrive electronics interface with touchpad controller, and a 12-speaker sound system with a CD player, HD radio, an iPod/USB audio interface and an auxiliary audio jack.

The xDrive28i adds all-wheel drive and hill descent control. The xDrive28d adds to this a diesel engine.

Besides its more powerful inline-6, the xDrive35i adds adaptive bi-xenon headlights, LED running lights and a panoramic sunroof. These items are options on the other trims.

The Premium package includes the panoramic sunroof (sDrive28i, xDrive28i and xDrive 28d), keyless ignition and entry, hands-free tailgate functionality, leather upholstery, satellite radio and four-way lumbar support for the front seats. The Cold Weather package includes heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel and a retractable headlight-washer system. The Technology package gets you a head-up display, a navigation system with a larger main iDrive display, smartphone app integration and the BMW Remote Services emergency communications system. The Dynamic Handling package adds adaptive suspension dampers and enhanced speed-adjustable power steering. With this package, an enhanced torque-vectoring version of the all-wheel-drive system is included on all trims except the sDrive28i.

The Driver Assistance package adds front and rear parking sensors and a rearview camera. On top of this you can add the Driver Assistance Plus package (requires navigation), which has rear- and top-view parking cameras, a blind-spot detection system, a collision mitigation system and a lane-departure warning system. Adaptive cruise control is available with this package for additional cost. With the Lighting package, all trims except the xDrive35i get automatic xenon headlights, while adaptive LED headlights with automatic high beams are added to xDrive35i models. Adaptive LED headlights are available with this package for sDrive28i, xDrive28i and xDrive35i models at additional cost.

The M Sport package features 19-inch wheels, roof rails, special exterior trim, sport front seats, special interior trim and headliner, unique door sills and footrest, and a sport steering wheel. All trims except the sDrive28i get an enhanced torque-vectoring version of the all-wheel-drive system. Also, all models except the xDrive28d get an eight-speed sport transmission with shift paddles. The xDrive28d gets the shift paddles minus the transmission upgrade.

Some of the above items, specifically the navigation system and heated seats, are available as stand-alone options. Other stand-alone options include a 16-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system.

2015 Highlights

The 2015 BMW X3 gets a diesel engine and rear-wheel-drive availability, along with a front-end refresh and new tech and convenience features.

Performance & mpg

The 2015 BMW X3 28i models are powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 240 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard on all BMW X3s, along with an automatic stop-start system. The latter saves fuel by shutting off the engine when stopped and then starting it when you take your foot off the brake. In BMW-speak, sDrive equals rear-wheel drive, while xDrive equals all-wheel drive.

In Edmunds performance testing, the X3 xDrive28i went from zero to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds, which is slightly better than the overall average for the segment and as quick as some six-cylinder crossovers. EPA-estimated fuel economy stands at 24 mpg combined (21 city/28 highway) for both the sDrive28i and xDrive28i.

The xDrive28d is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine that produces 180 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. BMW estimates it will go from zero to 60 mph in 7.8 seconds, which is slow for the segment but typical for a diesel. EPA-estimated fuel economy rings in at an excellent 30 mpg combined (27 city/34 highway).

The X3 xDrive35i gets a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 that produces 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque. In Edmunds performance testing, the 35i hit 60 mph in 5.8 seconds, which makes it one of the quickest vehicles in this segment. Fuel economy is rated at 21 mpg combined (19/26), which is actually better than some of the X3 xDrive35i's less powerful rivals.

Safety

Every 2015 BMW X3 comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, automatic brake drying (useful in rainy weather), front seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, and active front seat head restraints, while AWD models come with standard hill descent control. Also standard is the BMW Assist emergency communications system, which provides automatic crash notification and on-demand roadside assistance.

The optional BMW Remote Services system upgrades BMW Assist with stolen-vehicle recovery and remote door unlocking. Other optional equipment includes front and rear parking sensors, a blind-spot detection system, a collision mitigation system, rear- and top-view parking cameras and a lane-departure warning system.

In Edmunds brake testing, an xDrive35i stopped from 60 mph in 123 feet, which is an average distance for the segment. An xDrive28i with 19-inch wheels stopped in 127 feet.

In government crash testing, the 2015 BMW X3 received five out of five stars in overall crash protection, with five stars for frontal crash protection and side impact protection. In crash testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the X3 received the highest possible rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests. Its seat/head restraint design was also rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.

Driving

Don't dismiss the 2015 BMW X3 28i models based on their four-cylinder power plant. Acceleration is very quick, and these are among the most fuel-efficient models in the crossover segment based on EPA estimates. The auto stop-start function that comes with all X3 models helps with fuel economy but can be an annoyance in heavy traffic, as the engine doesn't restart as quickly or smoothly as we'd like when transitioning between the brake pedal and the gas. Fortunately, you can manually disable this feature. If your budget allows, though, the X3 xDrive35i will be hard to pass up, as its acceleration is very impressive, while fuel economy is still quite good in normal driving.

The X3 delivers on the promise of BMW performance in other respects, too. Take it around a turn with enthusiasm and it feels light and nimble. As compact luxury crossovers go, it's one of the sportiest, particularly with its optional suspension and drivetrain add-ons. And while the ride quality is definitely on the firm side, most people will find the 2015 BMW X3 quite livable, whether commuting along city streets or taking long trips on the highway.

Interior

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, console and dash.

Overall, we're fond of the iDrive electronics interface, particularly with the higher-resolution screen that comes with the navigation system. An integrated touchpad allows a driver or passenger to use his or her finger to write letters for text inputs. The menu structure is straightforward, the graphics are crisp and processing times are quick, which helps minimize the amount of time you spend looking away from the road. That said, new owners should sit down and familiarize themselves with iDrive before hitting the road, because it's still a complex system and you can't master everything while the car's in motion.

Room for front passengers is more than ample, while rear legroom is downright generous and pairs with a truly comfortable seat. Indeed, this is one of the most family-friendly vehicles in the class. Total cargo capacity with the rear seats folded is 63.3 cubic feet, which is good for the compact-to-midsize segment.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2015 BMW X3.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Only one problem with this car
Bob Coco,06/15/2016
xDrive35i 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 8A)
The X3 is my second BMW, the other being a 330 CI. Absolutely love everything about this car with one major exception - the stereo flat out sucks. A car in this price range should come standard with a high end sound system. My 2003 330 has the Harmon Kardon upgraded stereo which is very good but the standard system on my 2015 X3 stinks. The stereo in my Honda Accord is actually better.
2015 BMW X3 DIESEL 31,000 MILES SINCE JUNE 2015
J. Engelhardt,12/22/2016
xDrive28d 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 8A)
We like the car. However its a diesel, and with the german car manufacturer cheating, VW and Audi diesels have lost some of their luster. However we still get over 37MPG on the highway. Live in Maine so it's mostly highway milage. Have had an oxygen sensor and another exhaust sensor replaced under warranty. Not thrilled by the run-flat tires. No jack or tools came with the car!! Updated on May 15, 2018. Had two more check engine light incidents, both times diesel exhaust system problems. Could not afford the sensor replacement every 15,000 to 20,000 milesso traded the car in at 60,000 miles. Very disappointed with the quality of this vehicle. Not only do the owners have to add diesel exhaust fluid every 10,000 miles which is a pain, every 15,000 to 20,000 miles the car has to be in the shop again to take care of the exhaust system problem!!!!
Bought a three year old X3
Amy,02/24/2018
xDrive28i 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A)
Love this car! I drove a brand new Toyota Rav 4, and a brand new Hyundai Santa Fe, the feel and handling can not compare to this X3, even if it is a second car. (I did not write the above, and I do not own a Rav4 or a Santa Fe. However I do love my X3, even if it's a second hand card!!)
Affordable to Buy, not so affordable to keep
cterry66,09/18/2019
xDrive28i 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A)
I bought a used 2015 X3 with about 40K on it. I think the previous owner decided to trade it in after the no longer offered 4 year warranty expired. It was in good shape and drove very nicely and we wanted AWD so we bought it. I am a DIY guy so what I have learned is even the simplest of repairs turn out to be complicated because there is always some code that has to be reset on the cars computer before the new parts will perform properly. This includes the battery, spark plugs, brake pads, etc. Parts, even non OEM parts are pricey. For example, a new battery was $200 plus $100 to have an independent repair shop reprogram the computer. Any way, we are going to trade this vehicle in and get a newer Japanese SUV before anything else goes wrong on the BMW.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2015 BMW X3 features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover16.9%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2015 BMW X3
More About This Model

Quick Summary
BMW's X3 was the original compact luxury SUV and remains a segment leader today. For 2015 it receives new powertrain options and styling tweaks that add much-needed shape to the second generation of this SUV. Available with three engines, including a new diesel, the X3 offers a wide range of performance, technology and safety features that make it a top contender in this increasingly competitive class.

What Is It?
The 2015 BMW X3 is a five-passenger compact luxury SUV.

Our test vehicle, the awkwardly named X3 xDrive28i, was fitted with the volume-selling turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine coupled to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. The 2.0-liter four is rated at 240 horsepower, which proved enough to push the X3 to 60 mph in only 6.4 seconds: better than most SUVs in the segment.

A rear-drive version called the sDrive28i is also available with the 2.0-liter engine. Other powertrain options include a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine (xDrive35i) and a new-for-2015 2.0-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder (xDrive28d), both of which use the same transmission and are all-wheel drive.

Base rear-drive X3s (new for 2015) start at $39,350. Our all-wheel-drive tester, equipped with the Cold Weather, Driver Assistance, Premium and Technology packages, totaled $50,075.

2015 BMW X3 xDrive28i

How Does It Drive?
For better or worse, the X3 is (at least partially) a driver's machine. No, it won't lure you onto a racetrack, but it will certainly encourage enthusiastic driving. Our all-wheel-drive X3 lacked the M Sport package, which ups wheel size from 18 to 19 inches, but was still amply engaging when driven with purpose. Body roll is minimal and steering response is among the best in the class. Turn the wheel and the X3 turns with it.

Power is surprisingly strong despite this being the lesser of the gasoline engines. Only those seeking enthusiast levels of performance need to bother with the six-cylinder engine. Long pulls uphill are handled without gear hunting and at low engine speeds. The turbocharged four-cylinder is highly flexible, so it's able to provide ample yank at low speed, yet still willing to rev to high speeds for quick passes on the highway.

A Driving Dynamics Control (DDC) system allows you to tweak the X3's personality across three modes — Eco Pro, Comfort and Sport. Throttle and transmission response as well as steering weight are sharpened with each step. Add the Dynamic Handling package and damping will follow suit.

At 64.9 mph, the X3's slalom speed is at the top of the class. Needless to say, if you want a premium compact SUV that feels like a small sedan, the X3 is one of your best bets.

2015 BMW X3 xDrive28i

What's It Like Inside?
Since its last major revision for the 2010 model year, the X3 has led the segment in interior space. Its 110-inch wheelbase is among the longest in the class and it allows for more rear seat and cargo space than most competitors.

Materials quality is at or above segment standards. There's stitched leather coupled with a simple, elegant design that provides among the quietest cabins in the segment. Assembly is drum tight and all controls operate precisely. Seats are firm but offer ample support. We found three-hour trips easy despite the X3's relatively taut ride.

Thanks to accommodating seat and steering wheel adjustments, tall occupants fit up front easily. Six-footers have ample legroom in the rear but might find the relationship between the seat bottom and floor to be a comfort compromise over long distances.

With 63.3 cubic feet of total cargo space, the X3 is among the roomiest SUVs in the segment. Its split-folding rear seats don't fold completely flat, but the compromise to utility is marginal.

What Kind of Fuel Economy Does It Deliver?
Our tester was rated at 24 mpg combined (21 city/28 highway). However, as has become common with SUVs powered by smaller turbocharged engines, we weren't able to equal that number, even on our best tank. We recorded 20.7 mpg during 795 miles of mixed driving and virtually identical mileage on our test loop, which includes mountain and highway driving.

If fuel economy is a priority, the diesel-powered xDrive28d is a better option. It's rated at 30 mpg combined (27 city/34 highway) but we have yet to test it.

2015 BMW X3 xDrive28i

How Safe Is It?
The 2015 X3 receives a "Good" rating in all four crash test categories from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). It has not been rated by the federal government.

Stopping from 60 mph required 129 feet, which is only average for the class. However, the X3 has superb pedal feel and response that doesn't change after repeated panic stops, indicating that its braking system is robust.

You'll pay extra for a rearview camera, which is becoming standard equipment on many vehicles in the class. Other available safety equipment includes a forward collision warning, blind-spot monitor and surround-view camera. Remote services, including the ability to locate the SUV using a smartphone as well as assistance unlocking it via a call center, are available. Stolen vehicle location and recovery is included as well.

A head-up display that projects a variety of information in the driver's line of sight is also available.

What Are Its Closest Competitors?
Audi's aging Q5 is still the X3's biggest rival in terms of size, quality, performance and price. Though it lacks some of the X3's technology and safety features, it offers a similarly powerful engine and standard all-wheel drive. Its interior is high quality and it's similarly roomy. Don't overlook it as an alternative.

The angular 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLK isn't available with a small turbocharged gasoline engine like the X3. It offers a more powerful V6 in both rear-drive and all-wheel-drive configurations. An all-wheel-drive diesel version is also available.

2015 BMW X3 xDrive28i

Acura's 2015 RDX lacks the X3's extensive list of technology and safety features, but is similarly powerful and efficient. It comes only with a V6 and is available with all-wheel drive. Despite being smaller, it uses its space very efficiently and is able to nearly rival the X3's interior room. It's also significantly less expensive.

Why Should You Consider This SUV?
If you like your compact luxury SUV to come with obvious sporting intentions in addition to a roomy, high-quality interior and an abundant features list, it's hard to rule out the X3. We give this SUV our highest rating for a reason: It's one of the best.

Why Should You Think Twice About This SUV?
The one area where the X3 clearly falls behind some rivals (and the EPA estimates) is in fuel economy. Though it's not alone in missing the mark here, there was a wide gap between our measured fuel economy and the EPA combined rating.

The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.

Used 2015 BMW X3 Overview

The Used 2015 BMW X3 is offered in the following submodels: X3 SUV, X3 Diesel. Available styles include xDrive28i 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A), xDrive35i 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 8A), xDrive28d 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 8A), and sDrive28i 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A).

What's a good price on a Used 2015 BMW X3?

Price comparisons for Used 2015 BMW X3 trim styles:

  • The Used 2015 BMW X3 xDrive28i is priced between $16,491 and$19,390 with odometer readings between 50197 and79473 miles.
  • The Used 2015 BMW X3 xDrive35i is priced between $19,999 and$20,845 with odometer readings between 47218 and59762 miles.
  • The Used 2015 BMW X3 xDrive28d is priced between $24,990 and$24,990 with odometer readings between 23474 and23474 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 2015 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) 2015 BMW X3 for sale near. There are currently 5 used and CPO 2015 X3s listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $16,491 and mileage as low as 23474 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 2015 BMW X3.

Can't find a used 2015 BMW X3s you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used BMW X3 for sale - 3 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $21,735.

Find a used BMW for sale - 5 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $15,874.

Find a used certified pre-owned BMW X3 for sale - 3 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $20,843.

Find a used certified pre-owned BMW for sale - 2 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $16,557.

Should I lease or buy a 2015 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.

Check out BMW lease specials
Check out BMW X3 lease specials