Overview

Overview

The 2013 BMW X3 is now in its second generation of production and blazing a trail to become one of the best-selling small luxury SUVs available today. The only detractor to the purchase of this luxury automobile may be the price itself; it is definitely on the luxurious side of the scale. Still, for those looking for comfort, class and style, the 2013 BMW X3 does a nice job of offering everything the X5 offers in a smaller package.

Expert Reviews

"The X3 is one of the best compact upscale SUVs. Its taut ride is composed and does a good job isolating bumps, but the X3 tends to rock from side to side on uneven pavement. Handling is agile and secure...The cabin is beautifully finished, quiet, and comfortable, with firm and supportive seats up front. The rear seat is roomy, but the cushion is a bit low. (Consumer Reports)

"We're not saying BMW's feisty four-door compact SUV can climb like a monster truck in the morning and impersonate an M3 on the autobahn that evening, but it can handle both environments competently, and it admirably mixes luxury with all the utility most buyers will ever need." (Car and Driver)

"It's tempting to sneer at that marketing lingo, but one drive in the 2013 BMW X3 proves this isn't just hype. In a segment that has grown since the X3's introduction in 2004 with an onslaught of luxury rivals like the Mercedes-Benz GLK, Audi Q5, Acura RDX, Cadillac SRX and Infiniti EX, the X3 stands out with a dynamic nature that makes it feel more like a sports sedan than a cumbersome SUV." (Kelley Blue Book)

"BMW's X3 delivers the sportiness and refinement you expect from the brand in a package that's small but highly versatile." (Consumer Guide)

"This in-betweener size, paired with an engaging driving experience, well-crafted cabin, ample available features content and yes, that efficient new engine makes the 2013 BMW X3 a very appealing choice. There's nothing sacrilegious or ludicrous about it." (Edmunds)

Owner Reviews

"[I] traded in my old 2003 BMW X5 for a shiny new 2013 BMW X3 28i. It doesn't have quite the build quality of the X5, but on the other hand, doesn't cost $80,000 either. Road feel, handling, steering, and general sportiness/fun are outstanding. The 28i 4-cylinder turbo is surprisingly powerful and capable. Absolutely love the interior and all the tech gadgets ([satellite], [navigation system], Bluetooth, large computer screen, whole music library on hard disk, etc.)" (Owner review from Tostig, Edmunds)

"I love my X3. After test driving the [Lexus] RX350, Mercedes GLK, [Infiniti] FX35 and the Audi Q5, I kept going back to the X3; [I] couldn't remember the features of the others, only that of the X3. The back seat is roomy enough for my teenage son. I like the quietness of the ride. I haven't found anything that I don't like about this vehicle yet. Great birthday gift to myself." (Owner review from 2013 X3 xDrive28i owner, Edmunds)

"I am truly satisfied with the performance of this car. From steering response, to agility, fuel economy and state of the art electronics - it is a true BMW. With the added options like huge panoramic moon roof, parking sensors and cameras, navigation, parked car auto ventilation and so on, it's pure luxury meets performance." (Owner review from Californian owner, KBB)

Lineup

The 2013 BMW X3 comes in two trim levels based on engine choice, but it possesses an options list commensurate with its luxury class. The first trim level is the xDrive28i. Its standard features include rear privacy glass, foglights, premium leatherette-vinyl upholstery, cruise control, automatic headlights, Bluetooth, a power liftgate, dual-zone climate control, BMW's iDrive interface, and a 12-speaker sound system with a CD player, HD radio and iPod/USB/aux interfaces.

The next and only level up is the xDrive35i. The only standard features added to the 35i are auto-leveling bi-xenon headlights, a sunroof and interior wood trim. All of these standard features are options on the 28i. The xDrive28i is also eligible for the Convenience package, which adds keyless ignition/entry, manual rear side sunshades, and adaptive bi-xenon headlights. Standalone options for either trim level include keyless ignition/entry, front and rear parking sensors, side window shades, heated front seats, a heads-up display, rearview camera, navigation system, satellite radio, and BMW Assist.

There are several options packages available on the 2013 X3. BMW has spared no expense on comfort and convenience technology, offering a Sport Activity package, a Dynamic Handling package, an M Sport package, a Cold Weather package, a second Cold Weather package, Technology package, Driver Assistance package, and a Premium Sound package. The list of options included in all these packages is longer than a lease agreement.

Interior

The interior of the 2013 BMW X3 is elegant and refined, just like the rest of the BMW line. If you decide on the wood trim accents you'll find that they add a nice, sophisticated feel to an already-pleasant cabin. The cockpit features a dashboard that sets up off the driver's legs without setting so far back as to be inconvenient. All heater and radio controls are simply placed and easy to use. Steering wheel audio controls are well-placed and handy.

Seating is comfortable and supportive all the way around in the X3, but the rear seat isn't quite as spacious as one may expect from a luxury SUV. Headroom is ample and the front seats sit high enough that forward visibility is excellent; however, the upward slope of the rear-end leads to some blind spots in the rearward visibility of the X3. Materials quality is excellent - even the leatherette-vinyl feels quite nice.

Cargo capacity for the 2013 X3 with rear seats folded is 63.3 cubic feet. That's a pretty good number for a small SUV. If there is a drawback to the X3's interior it is with the iDrive system. Although it does give the driver access to systems and features that weren't previously available, it is difficult to use at times and doesn't provide the easy functionality that some rivals' systems do.

Performance

The 2013 BMW X3 xDrive28i is powered by a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder engine that pumps out 240 horsepower and 260 ft.-lbs. of torque. All-wheel drive is standard, as is the eight-speed automatic transmission. An automatic stop-start system has become a regular in the X3's lineup as well. The EPA estimates the X3's fuel efficiency with the turbo 2.0L is 21/28 mpg (city/highway). This engine is actually one of the better performers for this segment.

The xDrive35i goes a bit bigger and gets a turbocharged 3.0L inline-six-cylinder engine that produces 300 horsepower and 300 ft.-lbs. of torque. The all-wheel drive and eight-speed automatic tranny are standard here as well. Fuel economy will drop a bit with this engine choice to 19/26 mpg, which is still very good when compared to competitors.

No matter what trim level or equipment you choose, you'll get a performance-oriented SUV in every aspect. The acceleration is more than you'd normally get from a small SUV. Handling is tight in whatever situation you're driving, and suspension is firm but supple enough as to not be rigid. The auto stop/start feature can delay upon restart from time to time, but thankfully this feature can be disabled.

Safety & Reliability

The 2013 BMW X3 is an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick, meeting every one of their crash tests with a perfect score. Standard safety features on the X3 include antilock disc brakes with automatic brake drying, airbags galore, active front head restraints, stability control and hill descent control. Optional equipment includes a lane departure warning system, front and rear parking sensors, top- and rear-view parking cameras, and BMW's Assist emergency communication system.

There are currently no major safety recalls on the 2013 BMW X3. It earned 3 out of 5, which is an average score, in J.D. Power and Associates' Vehicle Dependability Study. It is covered by a 4-year/50,000-mile manufacturer's limited warranty, as well as a 12-year/unlimited mileage warranty against rust damage. MSRP on the 2013 X3 ranges from $38,850 to $43,950.

Trim Style Engine Drive Train MSRP
SUV - AWD
xDrive28i AWD 4dr SUV 4 Cylinder AWD 38850
xDrive35i AWD 4dr SUV 6 Cylinder AWD 43950

Comparison of 2013 BMW X3 with Similar Cars

2013 BMW X3 MSRP Invoice
2013 BMW X3 $38,850 $35,740
Similar Cars to Consider MSRP Invoice Compare
2013 Chevrolet Tahoe $40,405 $37,577 2013 BMW X3 VS 2013 Chevrolet Tahoe
2013 Buick Enclave $38,445 $36,523 2013 BMW X3 VS 2013 Buick Enclave
2013 Ford Expedition $40,605 $37,864 2013 BMW X3 VS 2013 Ford Expedition
2013 Lexus RX 350 $39,660 $37,083 2013 BMW X3 VS 2013 Lexus RX 350
2013 Cadillac SRX $37,330 $35,277 2013 BMW X3 VS 2013 Cadillac SRX

Car Rankings

Interested to see how the 2013 BMW X3 ranks against similar cars in terms of key attributes? Here are the 2013 BMW X3 rankings for MPG, horsepower, torque, leg room, head room, shoulder room, hip room and so forth.

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