2016 BMW X3 Review


Pros & Cons

  • Strong performance and fuel economy from any of its three available engines
  • high-quality cabin looks and feels expensive
  • generous passenger and cargo room for the segment
  • responsive handling bettered only by pricier sport-tuned rivals
  • top-notch crash-test scores.
  • Costs more than similarly equipped competitors
  • some controls can be difficult to learn.
List Price Range
$18,995 - $26,990

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Some recommendations are easier than others. If you're shopping for a compact luxury SUV, the 2016 BMW X3 should be on your test-drive list. It does everything well and is capable of meeting both your practical needs and luxury aspirations. Read more about this class leader to see why it's a standout in its class.

Vehicle overview

The 2016 BMW X3 is a leading light among compact luxury crossover SUVs. That's pretty remarkable for a vehicle in its sixth year of production, but the X3 pulls it off seemingly without breaking a sweat. Indeed, it's such a challenge to find fault with this crossover that our only "Con" is its relatively high price. It kind of makes sense, after all, that you'd have to pay a little more for a nearly flawless product.

The 2016 BMW X3 is a handsome crossover SUV that can even do a little off-roading if the mood strikes.

Although the X3 receives no notable changes for 2016, it was treated to a significant refresh last year that burnished its appeal. In particular, the new headlights made it look like a downsized X5, while the newly available diesel engine took fuel economy to new heights with only a slight drop in real-world performance. In other words, the X3 has just gotten better with age, and as our glowing long-term test of a 2012 X3 demonstrates, it was already at the pinnacle of its profession. The competition has had a long time to catch up, but generally speaking, the BMW still holds the advantage among compact luxury crossovers.

Of course, there's no shortage of alternatives in this hotly contested segment. Chief among them is the new Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class, which provides much of the same virtues as the X3 but with a more elegant overall vibe. The Audi Q5 is even older than the X3, but it has also aged nicely, offering a comparable blend of sport and comfort along with a compelling diesel option. The Q5-derived 2016 Porsche Macan is the sports car of the bunch, though it's far pricier and offers hatchback-grade cargo capacity. If you're looking for more value, the 2016 Acura RDX provides generous power, space and features for the money.

But if the BMW's price fits your budget, resistance may be futile. The current X3 has been a winner from day one, and it's showing no signs of slowing down.

We Recommend

Get the diesel. You'll save about $550 per year on average by getting the xDrive28d instead of the gasoline xDrive28i. Do the math and that means you'll recoup its $1,500 price premium in less than three years. Even if you're leasing, that's less money and time spent at a gas station. Unless you're truly keen on maximum performance, it's the savvy way to go for most shoppers in this segment.

2016 BMW X3 models

The 2016 BMW X3 crossover SUV is available in four trim levels: sDrive28i, xDrive28i, xDrive28d and xDrive35i.

The sDrive28i model comes standard with the gasoline-powered four-cylinder engine, 18-inch wheels, roof rails, rear privacy glass, automatic headlights, LED foglamps, automatic wipers, a power liftgate, auto-dimming mirrors (with exterior power-folding functionality), cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power front seats with driver memory functions, ambient interior lighting, "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 a touchpad controller and a nine-speaker sound system with a CD player, HD radio, a USB port and an auxiliary audio input.

The xDrive28i adds all-wheel drive and hill descent control, while the xDrive28d adds those items plus the diesel engine.

The xDrive35i boasts the more powerful inline-6 gasoline engine plus adaptive xenon headlights, adaptive LED taillights, a panoramic sunroof and a 16-speaker Harman Kardon audio system.

The 2016 X3's simple, uncluttered control layout belies the advanced technology underneath.

The Premium package includes the panoramic sunroof (standard on xDrive35i), keyless entry and ignition, 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 central iDrive screen, an enhanced driver information display in the gauge cluster, smartphone app integration and BMW Remote Services. The Dynamic Handling package adds adaptive suspension dampers, variable-ratio steering and an enhanced torque-vectoring version of the all-wheel-drive system (sDrive28i excluded).

The Driver Assistance package adds front and rear parking sensors and a rearview camera, while the Driver Assistance Plus package throws in a surround-view camera system, an active blind-spot monitor, a forward collision mitigation system with automatic braking and a lane-departure warning system. Adaptive cruise control is available with the Driver Assistance Plus package at additional cost. The Lighting package adds adaptive LED headlights with automatic high beams to the xDrive35i, while the lesser trims get xenon headlights and adaptive LED taillights, with the LED headlights available for an extra fee.

The M Sport package features 19-inch wheels, torque-vectoring AWD (sDrive28i excluded), an aerodynamic body kit, sport front seats, special interior trim and a sport steering wheel. Also, all trims except the xDrive28d get an eight-speed sport transmission with shift paddles, while the xDrive28d gets the shift paddles minus the transmission upgrade.

Some of the above items (e.g., the panoramic sunroof and the navigation system) are available as stand-alone options, and the xDrive35i's Harman Kardon audio system is optional on other X3 models. You may also encounter X3 models with an optional Mobile Assistance package that combines certain features from the Premium, Cold Weather and Technology packages.

2016 Highlights

The 2016 BMW X3 adds a standard 16-speaker Harman Kardon audio system for the xDrive35i model.

Performance & mpg

Every 2016 BMW X3 comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission and an automatic stop-start system. The latter saves fuel by shutting off the engine when you come to a stop and then starting it when you take your foot off the brake. Note that in BMW-speak, sDrive equals rear-wheel drive, while xDrive equals all-wheel drive.

The 2016 X3 employs an eight-speed automatic that's operated via this joystick-like gear selector.

The 2016 BMW X3 sDrive28i and xDrive28i are powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 240 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. In Edmunds performance testing, the xDrive28i went from zero to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds, which is slightly better than average. EPA fuel economy estimates stand at 24 mpg combined (21 city/28 highway) for both the sDrive28i and xDrive28i.

The X3 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 engine that produces 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque. In Edmunds performance testing, the xDrive35i hit 60 mph in 5.8 seconds, making it one of the quickest vehicles in this segment. Fuel economy is rated at 22 mpg combined (19 city/27 highway), a remarkably frugal showing for such a powerful vehicle.


Every 2016 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. 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 remote door unlocking, GPS vehicle location and additional features that can be operated via the My BMW Remote smartphone app. Other optional equipment includes front and rear parking sensors, an active blind-spot monitor, a forward collision mitigation system with automatic braking, rearview and surround-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 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.


Don't be fooled by the modest 240-hp rating of the 28i models; acceleration is quite brisk, and unlike many turbocharged engines, this one doesn't run out of breath at higher rpm. The xDrive28d is about a second slower to 60 mph, but its slightly better torque rating makes it feel nearly as strong in most cases, and its fuel economy is off the charts for a luxury crossover. If you don't mind paying extra for the xDrive35i, you'll be rewarded with thrilling acceleration and fuel economy that isn't far off the 28i models' pace.

The 2016 X3 strikes a jaunty pose here in the dirt, but the pavement is its natural habitat.

The auto stop-start function that comes with all X3 models does optimize fuel economy ratings, but it 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.

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 the Dynamic Handling package's adaptive suspension dampers and torque-vectoring AWD. Although the ride quality is definitely on the firm side, most people will find the 2016 BMW X3 quite livable, whether commuting on urban streets or taking long highway trips.


The X3's interior is classic BMW, from its traditional analog gauges to its sensible ergonomics and restrained sense of style. Most surfaces consist of high-quality, rich-looking materials, while the center stack cants slightly toward the driver for a more intimate feel. The various knobs and buttons become familiar in short order. It's a traditional layout overall, but we wouldn't call it dated.

The iDrive electronics interface is an X3 strong suit, particularly with the larger, higher-resolution screen that comes with the navigation system. An integrated touchpad lets you scrawl text and number inputs with your fingertip, a feature that's more useful than you might think. The menu structure is straightforward 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.

Although the X3 is technically a small luxury crossover, the rear seatbacks fold forward to open up a generous cargo bay.

Room for front passengers is ample by every measure, while rear legroom is downright generous and pairs with a truly comfortable seat. Reviews often focus on the X3's performance, but it's also one of the most family-friendly vehicles in this segment. The cargo area behind the rear seats measures 27.6 cubic feet, and total capacity with the rear seatbacks folded down is 63.3 cubic feet. Both are satisfactory numbers by class standards.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2016 BMW X3.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

So far so great!
xDrive28i 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A)
I was considering the Audi Q5, Lexus NX200t and Range Rover Evoque before deciding on the BMW X3. I was almost seduced by the Evoque, but reading all of the owner horror stories scared me away. I took delivery of my X3 in December 2015 and have already put about 7500 miles on the vehicle. Thus far, the X3 has performed flawlessly and has not disappointed! Initial build quality appears to be worthy of the price tag. I've found the xDrive system to work very well on the road during inclement weather (heavy rain, light snow), although I did not have to put it to the test in deep snow. I do not have the Dynamic Handling Package, but given how well the X3 handles the road without it, I'm not really sure how much of a difference I might notice with it. I've read other reviews where some felt the ride was too harsh, but I don't share that opinion, although I do like to feel the road perhaps more than some might. The vehicle handles and accelerates so smoothly perhaps with the exception of the auto start/stop feature which can be noticeable at times. I leave it in the "Comfort" drive mode most of the time. I put it in "Sport" mode, when merging onto a freeway or needing to get through busy intersections when I need the extra burst of acceleration. I rarely use ECO Mode. I've found the gas mileage between ECO and Comfort to be relatively negligible and the gearing is just too dulled down for my liking in ECO mode. I've been averaging just over 23 miles per gallon for which probably 75% of my miles are highway. I find the interior of the X3 to be nicely appointed and up to standards of fit and finish for the class of vehicle. I find the seating to be comfortable and the climate control system to work very well. The Infotainment system menu is fairly intuitive and with a little playing around with it, you should be able to figure out most of the functions and settings in relatively short order. The iDrive controller is easy to use to navigate the control panel, but some of the buttons on the passenger side of the controller are hard to see from the driver's seat. The one function I haven't really used much is the voice command system, so I can't really comment to how accurately it works. The buttons and controls on the dashboard and steering wheel all seem to be well placed with proper tactile feel. In my opinion, there are a few "must" have packages to avoid buyer's remorse: * xLine or M Sport Package: I think either of those significantly enhance the aesthetics of the vehicle. I went with the xLine. I'm happy with it, but wish the Sport Seats that you get with the M Sport package was an available option. * Lighting Package: Recommend going with either the Xenon or Full LED. Either the Xenon or LED seem to throw a much brighter light and I personally think they look much better than the yellowish Halogens. I opted for the Xenon lights and am very happy with them. * Dual-Pane Moonroof (either as standalone option or part of the Premium Package). About as close to the convertible feel as you can get. As far as the other options go, I opted the following: Premium package, Technology package, Driver Assistance package, Driver Assistance Plus, Harman Kardon Sound System and Heated Front Seats. Unfortunately, in order to get certain features, you have to opt for entire packages. For example, if you want Lumbar Support on the front seat, you have to get the Premium package. If you want the Head Up display, you have to get the Technology package. The safety features are spread out between the Driver Assistance Package and Driver Assistance Plus. If you only want rear view camera and parking sensors, you can just opt for the Driver Assistance package. However, of all the available safety features, Active Blind Spot detection was most important to me so I had to select the Driver Assistance Plus package which also requires you to select the Driver Assistance package. I've found the surround view camera feature that is part of the Driver Assistance Plus package to be very useful as well. I'm hardly an audiophile, but the HK sound system sounds good to my ears. The Heated Front seats have 3 settings and heat up quickly. There are a few features missing that I would have liked to see available on the X3: * Full size spare or at least a temporary spare. This is my biggest gripe. My X3 came with run flats. There is no hole in the cargo area for any type of spare nor under the vehicle. I've seen aftermarket temporary spares available, but unless you put it on your roof rack, you have to put it in the rear cargo area which then leaves you with little cargo room. * Cooled front seats. I have black Nevada leather and would really have liked the option to have cooled front seats for the hot weather. * Auto-Folding Side Mirrors. The side mirrors do fold with the press of a button on the driver's side door, but why not fold automatically when the vehicle is turned off?
Compared 7 Vehicles
Anu Chapin,01/24/2016
xDrive28i 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A)
I reviewed information online for Lexus, Mercedes, BMW, Volvo, Audi, Acura and Infinity. I keyed on safety, reliability, gas mileage and costs. I test drove each of the vehicles twice and took notes about strengths and weaknesses. I narrowed it down to Lexus and BMW primarily because of driving comfort, interior features and how I was treated at the dealership. I drove each one more time and the BMW just handled better. The interior features (look, comfort and navigation controls) were great and easy to master. Final two items that convinced me to buy the BMW was the lower cost and great people throughout the dealership. I am sure that all the vehicles I mentioned are great but after thoroughly testing them all, the BMW just proved to be the best option for me. I have only had it for a few weeks but I am convinced that I made the right choice.
Very very nice car
N Rosha,05/18/2016
xDrive35i 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 8A)
Put on about 8700 miles so far. It is such a pleasure to drive. Our other car is a 2010 Acura RDX, and while it isn't completely fair to compare the two due to age difference, it is amazing how much more fun it is to drive the X3. The car handles like a dream, cornering is a blast. The acceleration is good but maybe a little too many gears for my taste. Build quality seems great. The interior is very lovely. We got all the bells and whistles - favorite parts are the blind spot notification (which causes the steering wheel to shake when a car is in a blind spot and the turn signal is activated) and the overhead view that makes parking a total joy. I HIGHLY recommend getting the overhead view add-on(friends are totally blown away when showing them this feature - it looks like a drone is flying over the car sending the video so you can see the parking spot lines) Car is expensive, sure...iDrive system blows, sure... but good golly is it a joy to drive. Likes: Cornering acceleration Interior design Exterior looks(xline package) Technology(driver assistance packages) Dislikes: iDrive system - not fun to use - wife hates it - I would rather have touchscreen Rear seats don't fold flat limiting cargo space I wish there was an option to have the idlestop feature wait a second or two before shutting the car off - for when making left turns where you only have to wait a split second Would also like the ability to make the ECO PRO mode be the default. Having to turn it on every time you start the car is downright silly.
You get more than you see
Michael E Brassett,12/13/2016
xDrive28d 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 8A)
We bought the X3d for several reasons 18 months ago. 1/ Diesel's are known for their good MPG, we get 33 mpg on and off HWY. We are not very often at the Gas Station and get an average 680 miles from empty to full. 2/. Servicing is only every 10,000 miles or 1 year and our Local BMW Dealership is only 10 miles from home. Very convenient. 3/. Insurance is reasonable and with all the safety aspects we get 36% discount. 4/. Road Side Assistance is all in for 10 years. Part of the deal. BMW give you 4 years Free Maintenance but we offered to pay for an extra 2 years having taken the finance over 6 years. Thus when we have to pay for 7th Maintenance our car will be paid off. The car is a delight to drive and the twin turbo kicks in well when needed. Snow and ice are no problem. X3diesel is always going to hold a good resell factor as a good one is very hard to find. Wife has a mixed back roads and R93 to get to work and when there are delays the GPS finds a way for her for the 20 mile journey each working day. Our back up car is a 2012 Acura RDX and on par with BMW X3d.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2016 BMW X3 features & specs


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

More about the 2016 BMW X3

Used 2016 BMW X3 Overview

The Used 2016 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 2016 BMW X3?

Price comparisons for Used 2016 BMW X3 trim styles:

  • The Used 2016 BMW X3 xDrive28i is priced between $19,388 and$26,990 with odometer readings between 20952 and81077 miles.
  • The Used 2016 BMW X3 xDrive35i is priced between $18,995 and$25,851 with odometer readings between 36215 and103577 miles.
  • The Used 2016 BMW X3 xDrive28d is priced between $25,494 and$25,494 with odometer readings between 44373 and44373 miles.

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Which used 2016 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) 2016 BMW X3 for sale near. There are currently 11 used and CPO 2016 X3s listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $18,995 and mileage as low as 20952 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 2016 BMW X3.

Can't find a used 2016 BMW X3s you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used BMW X3 for sale - 9 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $9,962.

Find a used BMW for sale - 7 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $7,369.

Find a used certified pre-owned BMW X3 for sale - 12 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $16,652.

Find a used certified pre-owned BMW for sale - 2 great deals out of 7 listings starting at $19,794.

Should I lease or buy a 2016 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