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BMW X3 Test Drive Review

Date: 20 November 2014   |   Author:

BMW's small off-roader has been given a subtle revamp, with new headlights, bumpers and tweaks to the interior joined by standard kit improvements that see the SE level gain BMW's Business Navigation system, a powered tailgate and heated front seats.

The entry-level 150hp 18d SE is the only rear-wheel drive model in the range, and offers CO2 of 131g/km - just the wrong side of the capital allowance writing-down boundary of 130g/km.

The 18d in SE trim is 12g/km more efficient and £1985 cheaper than the 20d 4WD that will be the most popular engine in the range, which means a nut unsubstantial £36 per month difference to BIK rates for company car drivers.

The X3 retains best-in-class status for handling, but the 150hp engine isn't the most refined, and the volume cranks up significantly when trying to make serious progress. The 17-inch wheels on the SE also don't have the visual appeal of those fitted to the pricier M-sport and new X-line trims.

This 18d SE stacks up well for running costs as there's no equivalent Audi due to all Q5 models being 4WD. The extra £590 the 150hp 4x4 Q5 costs, plus the 23g/km emissions deficit and 4.5 percentage point RV disadvantage means it loses out to the BMW by 5.6ppm. The X3 18d is also 4.8p less than its 190hp 4x4 X3 20d sibling, and while Land Rover's new Discovery Sport doesn't have an engine below 150hp, it can't get close for CO2 or RV.

The X3 is still the best all-rounder in the small off-roader class, and RVs of just under 50% combine with great dynamics, practicality and improved kit levels to offer a compelling package, although the more powerful and higher-specced versions feel a noticeable step up from this entry 18d SE.

P11D price £30,810
Model price range £30,810-£46,060
Residual value 49.0%
Depreciat­ion £15,710
Fuel £6410
Service, maintenance and repair £2525
Vehicle Excise Duty £390
National Insurance £2934
Cost per mile 59.9p
Fuel consumption 56.5mpg
CO2 (tax) 131g/km (22%)
BIK 20/40% per month £113/£226
Service interval variable miles
Insurance (1-50) group 26
Warranty 3yrs/unlimited miles
Boot space (min/max) 550/1600 litres
Engine size/power 1995cc/150hp
Top speed/0-60mph 121mph/9.5secs
On sale October 2014


Good costs but not the best all-round X3