2019 BMW X3 SUV review – better than an Audi Q5? | What Car?

2019 BMW X3 SUV review – better than an Audi Q5? | What Car?

Chances are, you’ve seen many BMW X3’s on
the road. Over 1.5 million of them have been sold worldwide, and a fair chunk of
those have found their way onto UK driveways. This third generation, though,
faces some stiff competition. Primarily from the likes of Audi’s Q5 and the Land
Rover Discovery Sport, and then again it is fitted with the latest gadgets to
amuse and schmooze, and it’s lighter and more efficient than before. In this video
review we’ll tell you what it’s like to drive, how easy it is to live with, and
remember if you’re interested in buying one, at the end of this review head to
whatcar.com to our New Car Buying service where we can potentially save
you thousands. First though let’s see what this car is like on the open road. The 2-litre xDrive 20d diesel engine
that we’re testing today is the most popular in the UK, and it’s easy to see why because
it offers strong performance whether you’re driving around city streets, or in
the outside lane of the motorway, and is far punchier than equivalent diesels you’ll
find in its rivals. If you’re after more pace then the straight six engined
xDrive 30d is pleasantly quick, and for breathtaking performance go for the
range-topping M40i. But note it also has breathtaking fuel
economy, and if you’re doing mainly urban miles then the two litre petrol is a
good choice. The two-litre diesel engine isn’t the smoothest in its class, but it is better than the Discovery Sport. There’s very little wind and road noise,
so this cabin is a very quiet place to be – most of the time. Most versions of the
X3 get passive non-adjustable suspension as standard while M Sport versions get
stiffer springs and the M40i has a lowered adaptive setup by default.
On most versions though, you can also opt for adjustable dampers for an extra fee and
with this chosen, and its most comfortable setting the X3 rides fairly
well and copes with lumps and bumps in the road amicably. It’s only when there
are lots of small dimples that it tends to fidget. Most SUV buyers will not be
looking for agile handling as their top priority, that said on adaptive
suspension the X3 does keep it’s chunky body nicely in check through tight
corners. Although Audi’s Q5 offers a little bit more grip. If you’re buying an SUV because you’d like a lofty driving position and a great commanding
view of the road then the X3 definitely delivers. That said, you still get front and rear
parking sensors as well as a reversing camera as standard – on all models. This
driver’s seat is comfortable and supportive and holds you in place around
the corners – even more so if you go for the M Sport or M40i version.
The steering wheel is plenty adjustable, and so is the seat, so you should be able to
find a comfortable driving position. BMW doesn’t give you adjustable lumbar support
as standard though, so as a relatively cheap option we recommend that you do go
for that. If you run your hands over this interior you’ll feel why we believe this
is one of the best premium SUVs. It shares a lot of its interior with the
5 Series – which is our favourite premium saloon car. That said Audi just manages
to make it a little bit better, and we do wonder if BMW has gone slightly
overboard with this key. Which does have a lot of functions on it, although we
would prefer to see this in an app, and not on a key that’s about the size of a
mobile phone. This infotainment system though, is miles ahead
of anything else in its class, it’s displayed on either a 6.5 or 10.3-inch touchscreen,
depending on which one you choose, and it comes with Bluetooth
connectivity, DAB radio, and USB input as standard. You have to pay extra for Apple
CarPlay and Android users it’s worth noting now you cannot get Android Auto at all.
It’s all controlled with this central dial here – in between the two front
seats – or you can just select on the screen like so.
There’s lots of space here in front of the BMW X3 and thanks to its high roofline six-footers amongst
you will find there is plenty of headroom and plenty of legroom. And if
you really want to invade your passengers personal space you’re going
to have to lean quite far. Move into the second row, and a couple of
tall adults will be able to sit here in quite a lot of comfort. Go for a third
adult though, and it’s a bit more of a squeeze than it is in the Land Rover
Discovery Sport or Audi Q5. There’s some decent storage because there’s somewhere here for healthy snacks, decent sized door bins, very useful. And if
you are carrying people in the back here regularly, it’s worth going for the extra
reclining back rests, which are actually very comfortable. This boot is truly fit for a family, it’s large, and the square shape means there’s easy
access to all the luggage you can fit in here. And the lack of load lip is perfect
for carrying those extra heavy items. Then, you can fold down the rear seats if
you need an even larger boot. There’s little to separate the BMW X3 from its
main rivals in terms of price, and dealer discounts may seem appealing. But they
are offset by the fact the X3 will depreciate faster than the Land Rover
Discovery Sport and Audi Q5. The xDrive 20d version that we recommend is also a
good choice for company car drivers, thanks to its CO2 emissions matching the
best-in-class. The good news is that there’s no need to look past the
entry-level SE trim, because this comes with everything you’re likely to need.
Including heated leather seats, automatic tailgate, climate and cruise
controls, and sat-nav. In fact, now all X3s come with six
airbags and automatic emergency braking, and if you’d like to add to that safety
package, you can get lane keeping assist and blind spot monitoring.
The new X3 is great to drive, and has a spacious, high quality interior. In fact, we think
it’s one of the best SUVs you can buy. And if you buy through whatcar.com
New Car Buying service we can help save you thousands! Head to whatcar.com for our
full online review, and remember to catch every video hit subscribe! [Music]

About the Author: Michael Flood


  1. Rebecca did not mentioned about the X3 rear bench seat length ( short of tight support) compare to that of XC60 and Q5 . Many buyers knows X3 is shorter even Rebecca did not disclose.

    X3 cockpit design is either you like it or hate it , nothing to shout about. it would be a more valuable review if X3 is mentioned against XC60 , Q5 and GLC on
    the Pros and Cons which would be more interesting and informative.

  2. Am comfortable and supportive and could hold you around the corners too Becks…just sayin'… I stopped tuning into what car was being reviewed when you started stroking the interior 🙂

  3. What a load of sexist pigs in the comments below. It's a good review because she's good at her job, not because she is good looking. Sad you all have to get your kicks from watching car reviews – there are other websites for that kind of thing.

  4. No nonsense revue, honest and thorough all delivered professionally and with class, others could learn lessons from this review.

  5. I'm curious, and this only a small point but my 2019 BMW X3 has the model insignia along the lower edge of the tailgate – have they now moved back up to the original position ? or is this actually a 2018 model ?

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