2019 BMW X3 Review
2019 BMW X3 Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
Senior Vehicle Test Editor
Kurt Niebuhr has worked in the automotive industry since 2005. A automotive photographer by trade, Kurt is now one of Edmunds' high-performance test drivers. He's driven and photographed hundreds, if not thousands, of vehicles all over the world, so Kurt's library of automotive experiences would certainly make for a good book. When not dreaming about getting his racing license or trying to buy out-of-date film for his cameras, Kurt can usually be found cursing at his 1966 Mustang.
- Both available engines are fuel-efficient and powerful
- Wide variety of standard and optional features for personalization
- Plenty of room for front and rear passengers
- Android Auto is conspicuously absent from the options list
- The BMW X3 carries over unchanged for 2019
- This is the second year for the third X3 generation introduced in 2018
Fifteen years ago, it might have been difficult to foresee the success of the X3. Back then, BMW's 3 Series wagon set the standard for the class and offered all the practicality you could want in a vehicle that size. Why get something that didn't handle as well and got worse fuel economy? But that original 2004 X3 helped pioneer the entry-level luxury SUV class, and the 2019 X3 is now a hugely important staple in the BMW lineup.
BMW redesigned the X3 just last year. Honestly, it's not very different from the generation before it. Even those only familiar with the second-generation X3 won't find too many differences in this 2019 model, which is the second year of the third generation. BMW has focused on finessing and massaging the X3 into its current form rather than making any dramatic changes.
The X3 still offers broad appeal. There are rear-wheel- and all-wheel-drive variants available with the four-cylinder engine and a big list of options to choose from to further bolster the X3's luxury appeal. If extra speed is desired, the all-wheel-drive M40i is one of the best-performing vehicles in the class thanks to its potent six-cylinder engine. Whichever one interests you, know that the BMW X3 is one of our top picks for the segment.
Edmunds' Expert Rating7.8 / 10
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2018 BMW X3 xDrive30i (turbo 2.0L inline-4 | 8-speed automatic | AWD).
|Overall||7.8 / 10|
Around town, the eight-speed transmission smartly keeps the 2.0-liter engine right in the heart of power delivery, returning smooth drivability and respectable acceleration. Capable brakes, accurate steering (depending on the drive mode), and enjoyable handling round out a solid driving SUV.
With 248 horsepower, the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine packs a strong midrange that doesn't peter out. It responds quickly and smoothly, so it feels as if you have a little more power than you need. The high 6-second 0-60 mph result we recorded should be quick enough for most people.
The light, linear pedal is easy to modulate, and the optional performance braking system easily withstood the abuse of repeated simulated-panic stops. The sensation of tires skittering on pavement can make distances feel a little longer, but not enough to impede the overall results.
It's too easy to turn the wheel in the Comfort setting, making it a little imprecise. The Sport mode's additional heft and quickness make it fun and predictable to guide the X3 around. We prefer this X3's thin-rimmed wheel to the chunky one in the sportier M40i.
This is an enjoyable, composed compact SUV. The optional driver-adjustable adaptive dampers make appreciable differences between settings, though we question the real-world value of the sport settings. Despite its all-season tires, this X3 has the agility and cornering speeds often associated with BMW.
The automatic transmission is an excellent match to the engine, serving up appropriate gear ratios and nearly seamless shifts between them. The engine stop-start system can be a bit clumsy, adding a thunk when the engine turns off. Cruise control uses downshifting and brake application to hold speed going downhill.
All-wheel drive and hill descent control come standard. The approach and departure angles are more generous than in the previous generation, and ground clearance is 8 inches. The X3 may not be able to tackle a difficult trail but should be fine on an unpaved road on the way to the campground.
The X3 offers all-day driving comfort. It has supportive seats with wide-ranging adjustments and a hushed interior, particularly at a stop. The ride quality is on the busy side, though the suspension soaks up big impacts well. The climate control microadjustments can be overkill.
The front seats deliver the comfort and support needed for long stints at the wheel. A wide range of adjustments includes lumbar, side bolsters and thigh extensions, ensuring a good fit for everyone. The rear seats feel somewhat flat and firm by comparison, but they do recline.
The ride falls on the busier side of the spectrum, in part due to the Dynamic Handling package outfitted on our test vehicle. The solid level of control means you feel impacts, but they don't reverberate through the cabin or bounce your head around. The X3 is an adept-riding SUV.
Noise & vibration7.5
At idle, the silence is such that you'll want to check the tachometer to see if the engine is running. There's a little bit of wind noise from the driver-side window at freeway speeds. Engine noise is pronounced under moderate to hard acceleration, but it's not unpleasant.
The standard three-zone climate control is quiet and effective, and the optional seat and steering wheel heating act quickly. You can adjust the intensity of the auto setting and the temperature of the front panel vents independently if you dive deep enough into the menus, which seems excessive.
The X3's cabin is spacious and smartly arranged. Most controls are immediately understandable, and BMW's shifter makes sense once you get used to it. The driver has a good view outward and of the instrumentation. Strangely, the vanity mirrors are tiny, and the light placement is unflattering.
Ease of use7.5
The primary controls sit right where you'd expect. It takes time to get used to the shifter, but you'll love it once you learn it. The same goes with the dense infotainment system. We can't figure out why the stereo sometimes shuts off with the engine and other times waits until you lock the car.
Getting in/getting out8.0
The large doors make big openings and aren't too heavy to close. The sills are low enough so you don't have to step up into the cabin, while the seat height feels just right. The generous front and rear head clearances mean you don't have to duck while getting in or out.
Various seat adjustment and a manual tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel ensure all instrumentation falls easily into view. The available head-up display sports multiple configurations but disappears when you wear polarized sunglasses. A digital speedometer is only visible in Sport mode.
While the interior measurements mirror those of its competitors, the X3's elevated cabin gives a strong sense of space. There's plenty of headroom for all passengers, while foot- and legroom are adequate for even tall folks. Three full-size adults can fit in the rear, though they might be uncomfortable.
A tall roof means big windows all around, so there's a good view outside no matter where you look. Cleverly, the rear headrests are short so they don't cut into your view through the rearview mirror. The large side mirrors and optional blind-spot monitoring make lane changes safe and easy.
The X3's interior relays the look and feel you'd expect from a luxury vehicle, though the overall design doesn't impress as much as that of German rivals. Gaps are tight and uniform, and the switchgear feels solid. The leather, plastic, wood and other trim look a touch behind the curve.
Class-leading cargo space and plentiful interior storage options make the X3 a versatile SUV for family hauling. The door pockets are large and numerous, and we like the small compartment to the left of the steering wheel. Car seat attachments are easy to access, and towing capacity is excellent.
Both rows of seats have numerous options. The big door pockets can hold a small handbag and sports bottle, while the center tray takes a phone or two. There's moderate storage under the armrest, and the driver even has a small compartment to the left of the steering wheel.
The X3 offers a healthy 28.7 cubic feet behind its second row, which can easily be lowered from release handles in the rear, revealing 62.7 cubic feet of space. The standard full-size spare limits underfloor storage and makes for a somewhat tall loading space. A compact spare is available.
Child safety seat accommodation7.5
The lower LATCH anchors sit behind easily locatable plastic covers that conveniently fold back when you press them. The rear cargo cover blocks your hand while reaching for the seatback anchors, so you'll have to remove it during installation. The spacious interior makes moving a car seat around easy.
When equipped with the optional 2-inch receiver that includes seven- and four-pole connectors, the X3 can tow up to 4,400 pounds. We laud both the capacity, which is among the best, and the clean integration of a Class III hitch.
The mixed digital and analog gauge cluster looks clean and classy, and the entertainment interface is powerful and quick. Driver aids are similarly impressive in scope but not always reliable. While wireless Apple CarPlay works great, you have to pay for it, and Android Auto is not supported.
Audio & navigation8.0
BMW's latest entertainment interface looks pretty and reacts quickly to commands. It's powerful, too, which means there's a depth to the features that can take some time to figure out. The combination of a touchscreen and rotary dial with a touch-sensitive top makes for easy operation.
Apple CarPlay works wirelessly but costs $300. Wireless charging asks more, and Android Auto is not supported. BMW's Connected system integrates a limited set of apps into the vehicle's entertainment system, but none worked with our Android phone. There are two USB ports up front and one 12-volt per row.
The surround-view camera system activates when it thinks you're parking, but it often turns on when approaching a stoplight. The availability of advanced safety features matches the segment norm, but we experienced an inexplicable false positive that triggered an emergency stop in traffic.
BMW continues to impress us with its voice control system. It has little difficulty understanding natural language, and it provides control over an alarmingly extensive list of features. The button that activates the voice controls even launches Siri when you're using Apple CarPlay.
Which X3 does Edmunds recommend?
While the siren song of the M40i's extra performance is hard to resist, we think most people should stick with the rear-wheel-drive sDrive30i or the all-wheel-drive xDrive30i. It's sufficiently powerful and helps keep the X3's price reasonable. As for options, consider getting the Driving Assistance Plus package to bolster the X3's safety. It offers blind-spot monitoring, lane keeping assist, front and rear cross-traffic alert, and adaptive cruise control.
2019 BMW X3 models
The 2019 BMW X3 is a five-passenger crossover sold in three trim levels: sDrive30i, xDrive30i and M40i. The sDrive30i and the xDrive30i are identically equipped, save for the sDrive being rear-wheel-drive and the xDrive being all-wheel-drive. The M40i has a more powerful engine and a few more standard features.
Under the hood of the sDrive30i and xDrive30i is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (248 horsepower, 258 pound-feet of torque) paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Standard exterior features include 18-inch wheels, LED headlights and foglights, automatic wipers, roof rails, a power tailgate, a rearview camera, and power-folding, auto-dimming and heated mirrors.
Inside, you'll find an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with wheel-mounted shift paddles, keyless ignition, adjustable driving modes, tri-zone automatic climate control, power-adjustable front sport seats, a 40/20/40-split rear seat with individual seat recline, simulated-leather upholstery, driver-seat memory settings, a 6.5-inch central display, BMW's iDrive infotainment interface, a USB port and a 12-speaker audio system.
There are multiple option packages available for the sDrive30i and the xDrive30i. The Convenience package adds LED headlights, keyless entry, a panoramic sunroof, satellite radio, and four-way power lumbar adjustment for the front seats. The M Sport package adds the contents of the Convenience package, plus 19-inch wheels, more aggressive-looking front and rear bumpers, a sport steering wheel and a simulated-leather-covered dashboard. Selecting either of these opens the gates to the Dynamic Handling package, which includes adaptive suspension dampers, upgraded brakes and variable-ratio steering.
The M40i gets the content of those optional packages as standard. It also has a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine (355 hp, 369 lb-ft of torque), adaptive LED headlights, automatic high beams, a sport exhaust, a sport-tuned suspension, front and rear parking sensors, a launch control feature, and the contents of the above three packages.
Whichever X3 you get, consider adding the Driving Assistance package, which has forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert. There's also the Driving Assistance Plus package (Driving Assistance package, adaptive cruise control, front cross-traffic alert and lane keeping assist) and the Parking Assistance package (front and rear parking sensors, an automated parking system and a 360-degree parking camera).
Then there are the big-ticket Premium and Executive packages that either require some of the previous packages or bundle features from them. Notably, the Premium package adds features such as heated front seats, a navigation system, a larger 10.3-inch central touchscreen, a digital gauge cluster, and Apple CarPlay.
Some of the above features can be ordered as stand-alone options. Additional extras, depending on packages selected, include 20- and 21-inch wheels, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, manual side window shades, wireless phone charging a 16-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, and a trailer hitch.
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Read what other owners think about the Used 2019 BMW X3.
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
5 out of 5 stars
Great combination of performance and comfort
2019 BMW X3 xDrive30i 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A)
We cross shopped the X3 against Audi Q5, Lexus NX, and Acura RDX. The X3 wasn’t the best value, but a clear winner in terms of performance, comfort, and technology. We’ve been in the Lexus family for many years, but the new NX was disappointing. The car was Lexus smooth and great value, but the engine was the slowest of the bunch and the 6speed was ancient. The X3 performs much better … and iDrive is years ahead of Lexus navigation. The new RDX looked impressive on paper but Acura is playing catch-up in segment. Despite having a powerful engine, great interior materials, and awesome sound system, our tester had loose trim and panel gap issues. The drivetrain also didn’t feel as refined as the BMW. The Audi Q5 was a strong contender, and the car had the best interior and smoothest ride. However, we just couldn’t warm up to the exterior redesign. There has also been many quality complains in the forums since they moved production to Mexico, so we decided to skip.
5 out of 5 stars
Best Vehicle I've Owned
Nate Berg, 09/07/2018
2019 BMW X3 M40i 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 8A)
I've always had American made cars and got my first BMW in 2014, a CPO 2011 335d which I loved. Having been truck guy and and small SUV guy going into the 335d was a big change but worth the change for several years. Lately, I started missing something to tow a boat and as the kids have grown needed a bit more leg room in the back. My wife recently bought an X2 and loves it. It got me … thinking about getting back into an SUV again. The X2 is great but not quite big enough and missing the true luxury feel I have become accustomed too, it's more sporty and fun. I looked at the 2018 540i and the 2019 X5. The 540i was beautiful but a little more car than I needed. The X5 is also nice but again, it was just too much. The X5 certainly rides different than the 540i and my 335d. I've never like the X3's until I discovered the revamped it in 2018. I began to do more research and saw the M40i version and positive after positive reviews from both professionals and owners. I decided to give it a drive after considering leaving BMW for Audi,, Lexus and even a Ford Explorer. It took about 2 minutes of the test drive to become hooked on this SUV and the next day I decided to buy one. This thing is fantastic, great MPG even considering the power under the hood, its comfortable and rides almost like the 540i but not as tank like as the X5. It's perfect! Job well done to BMW. Having driven several loaners from years 2012-2016 I was not impressed with the overall quality from BMW "ultimate driving machine" even from my 2011 335d which was a true sport feel. But the engineers must have taken a hint and decided to get back to their BMW roots and have created a fantastic machine in the 2018-2019 X3. If you are in the market for a luxury SUV/Crossover just stop looking and go get one of these awesome vehicles. I can honestly say this is the best vehicle I have ever owned. Update March 2019. After having driven the vehicle for 6 months I’m still in love but I have noticed two design issues. One is the road noise is pretty significant. I’m assuming the aluminum body and run flat tires are mostly to blame but I do find it annoying on certain highways. My biggest complaint is the poorly designed ventilation system. Being in the northern US the cab does not get warm unless you have the fan on the higher side of the settings. Even so the temperature regulation is poor. The car will get very warm for no reason and then cool down. It cools down enough condensation forms on windows. I have brought it into the dealer for this issue and was told it is just a bad design and no actual mechanical issue. Other than those two things I love the ride, the look, the power and the vehicle overall.
5 out of 5 stars
2019 BMW X3 M40i 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 8A)
I have been fortunate to own some nice performance cars in my life...GT Mustang, Jaguar XKE, Porsche 930, Triumph GT6 and some other decent runners. But, overall, with all things considered, performance, fuel economy, insurance cost, interior room, handling and appearance, I would have to say my 2018 BMW X3 M40i is one of the top two. It's great. I get decent mpg around town, about 22-23 … and nearly 30 on longer highway trips. It is comfortable and so far, except for,one small rattle, absolutely no problems. Try the rest buy this one.
1 out of 5 stars
2019 BMW X3 sDrive30i 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A)
First of all, I love driving this car. It handles great and is very comfortable. But this is the second time we have had to have it serviced for major issues that should not be happening with a new car, especially with how little it is driven. The first issue was the fuel pump. Current issue with the fuel line and the radiator. It’s been in the shop for 4 business days and they have … had to order parts to replace them. I am in Houston, and the parts come from Dallas. One more issue and I give up. I can’t see keeping this car when it’s out of warranty. And I thought I was buying a BMW for quality. So very disappointed.
2019 X3 Highlights
- Combined MPG
- 26 MPG
- Cost to Drive
- 5 seats
- rear wheel drive
- Engine Type
- 4 years / 50,000 miles
Our experts like the X3 models:
- Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go
- Maintains a set distance between the X3 and the car in front. Can bring the X3 to a stop and resume speed when the car in front moves.
- Adaptive Brake Lights
- Brightens the brake lights to indicate a sudden stop and flashes them to indicate an emergency stop.
- Parking Assistant Plus
- Guides the X3 into a vacant parallel parking spot with minimal driver intervention.
NHTSA Overall Rating5 out of 5 stars
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat5 / 5Back Seat5 / 5
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover17.2%
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Side Impact TestGood
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood
- IIHS Small Overlap Front TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front TestGood
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More about the 2019 BMW X3
Used 2019 BMW X3 Overview
The Used 2019 BMW X3 is offered in the following submodels: X3 SUV, X3 M40i. Available styles include xDrive30i 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A), sDrive30i 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A), and M40i 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 8A). Pre-owned BMW X3 models are available with a 2.0 L-liter gas engine or a 3.0 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 355 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2019 BMW X3 comes with all wheel drive, and rear wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 8-speed shiftable automatic.
What's a good price on a Used 2019 BMW X3?
Price comparisons for Used 2019 BMW X3 trim styles:
- The Used 2019 BMW X3 xDrive30i is priced between $29,000 and$41,247 with odometer readings between 8214 and95502 miles.
- The Used 2019 BMW X3 sDrive30i is priced between $27,998 and$36,998 with odometer readings between 11393 and68283 miles.
- The Used 2019 BMW X3 M40i is priced between $36,589 and$45,990 with odometer readings between 15020 and73637 miles.
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Which used 2019 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) 2019 BMW X3 for sale near. There are currently 134 used and CPO 2019 X3S listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $27,998 and mileage as low as 8214 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 2019 BMW X3.
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Should I lease or buy a 2019 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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