After getting significant updates last year, the 2016 BMW X3 returns sans major changes for the new model year.
The X3 is the middle child of BMW’s lineup of “sports activity vehicles” (what they call SUVs), slotting in between the smaller X1 and the midsize X5. It competes with the Audi Q5 and Lexus RX 350, other luxury SUVs that seat five across two rows. Last year’s styling updates carry over; there are new bumpers front and back, and X5-like headlight clusters with a two-ring look in each headlamp. Full LED headlights are optional as is the M Sport Package, which adds minor bodywork pieces to make the X3 look more aggressive. For added convenience, the “Smart Opener” is optional on the tailgate, which allows the operator to open the rear hatch by waving their foot under the bumper.
The X3 is offered in four trim levels with three different engine options. The rear-drive sDrive28i and the xDrive28i (models with xDrive in the name feature all-wheel drive) share a 240-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. xDrive35i models get a larger 300-hp, turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder. Rounding out the X3 family is the xDrive28d which gets a 180-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo-diesel that makes 280 pounds-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard on all models. Diesel models get the best fuel economy of the bunch, with an estimated 27/34 mpg city/highway.
Inside, the center console is highlighted by a standard 6.5-inch display with the iDrive controller seated below it, between the front seats. The controller also doubles as a touchpad, which makes entering destinations and other information a breeze by allowing users to simply draw the letters or numbers with your finger. Behind the rear seats is 27.6 cubic feet of cargo room, which expands to 63.3 cubic feet with the 40/20/40-split rear seat folded down. Powered front seats, automatic climate control, HD radio, and enhanced Bluetooth connectivity are also standard. Enhanced Bluetooth comes with an additional microphone, the ability to sync two phones, voice control for contacts and music, and the ability to read texts, emails, calendar, and task notifications.
Standard safety features include antilock brakes, six airbags, and active head restraints. Also standard is BMW’s Assist eCall service which includes an emergency request button and automatic collision notifications (new X3’s come with a 10 year subscription). A rearview camera and Active Blind Spot Detection are available.