A seven-year life cycle is an eternity in car years, especially when the vehicle in question is a member of the very popular luxury compact crossover class. But even with a new version arriving for 2018, the 2017 BMW X3 still holds its own against newer rivals. Much of that is because of a comprehensive refresh in 2015, which updated the X3's exterior and interior styling, among other enhancements. This year's revisions to the iDrive infotainment system and new standard features to the xDrive35i trim only add to its appeal.
We've always considered the X3 one of the top choices in the segment, and the 2017 model is no different. In terms of the rear seat and cargo area, the X3 boasts one of the roomiest interiors in the class. That's massively important if you have visions of taking your friends camping for the weekend and don't want to upgrade to the larger (and more expensive) X5. That recent refresh also means all the latest and greatest tech and safety toys are on the options list, from a 360-degree camera to adaptive cruise control and a head-up display.
On the downside, the X3 is more expensive than most in this class. A rearview camera, which comes standard on nearly every economy car these days, is an optional extra. If you can stomach the high price tag, the 2017 BMW X3 remains a class leader amid an array of newer competitors.
trim levels & features
The 2017 BMW X3 is offered in four trim levels: sDrive28i, xDrive28i, xDrive28d and xDrive35i. These trims are primarily differentiated by their powertrains, rather than their features. The sDrive28i (rear-wheel drive) and xDrive28i (all-wheel drive) are powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder gas engine, while the xDrive28d uses a diesel. All three of these cost roughly the same. The xDrive35i is driven by a significantly more powerful turbo six-cylinder engine, but it's much pricier. This is partially because it includes the Premium package, which is optional on the others.
Under the hood of the sDrive28i and xDrive28i is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (240 horsepower, 260 pound-feet of torque), while the xDrive28d uses a diesel engine of the same displacement (180 hp, 280 lb-ft). An eight-speed automatic is standard across the board.
Apart from their powertrains, the sDrive28i, xDrive28i and xDrive28d are equipped equally. Standard equipment includes 18-inch wheels, roof rails, rear privacy glass, automatic headlights, LED foglights, automatic wipers, a power liftgate, power-folding auto-dimming mirrors, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power front seats with driver-seat memory functions, SensaTec simulated leather upholstery, a 40/20/40-split folding rear seat, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, ambient lighting, Bluetooth, the iDrive electronics interface, and a nine-speaker sound system with a CD player, HD radio, a USB port and an auxiliary audio jack.
A Premium package is available for these trims, adding keyless ignition and entry, front seat power lumbar adjustment, a panoramic sunroof and satellite radio. This package is standard on the xDrive35i, along with the six-cylinder engine (300 hp, 300 lb-ft), adaptive xenon headlights and a 16-speaker Harman Kardon audio system (available on the other models as a stand-alone option).
The optional Technology package gets you a head-up display, a navigation system (includes a larger central iDrive screen and an upgraded controller that accepts handwritten inputs), an enhanced driver information display in the gauge cluster, smartphone app integration and BMW Remote Services.
The Dynamic Handling package adds a driver-adjustable suspension, variable-ratio steering and an enhanced version of the all-wheel-drive system (sDrive28i excluded). The M Sport package features 19-inch wheels, torque-vectoring all-wheel drive, an enhanced 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.
A Driver Assistance package is also offered that bundles front and rear parking sensors with 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 included, or LED headlights for an extra fee.
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.
noise & vibration
ease of use
getting in/getting out
child safety seat accomodation
audio & navigation
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.