The 2012 BMW X3 has flown relatively under the radar, with much of the compact luxury crossover attention going to the 2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque. The all-new Evoque was named the Motor Trend 2012 SUV of the Year and winning the 2012 North America Truck of the Year award, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
But the BMW X3 should not be overlooked. The model helped ignite the compact luxury crossover class when it debuted in 2003 and the revisions since then have made it remain a strong model.
X3 Trim Lines & Fuel Economy
The X3 comes in two trim lines: the xDrive28i and xDrive35i. The trim monikers can be a bit confusing as both models feature a 3.0-liter inline 6 engine. The difference is the xDrive35i has a twin-turbo charger boosting power to 300 horsepower, compared to 240 in the xDrive28i. Both models have standard all-wheel drive.
For 2011, the X3 was all-new and introduced an 8-speed automatic transmission as a standard feature in both trims. Despite having 300 horsepower, the 2012 X3 xDrive35i returns relatively good fuel economy of 19-mpg and 26-mpg highway. Surprisingly, this is 1-mpg highway better than the xDrive 28i and several miles per gallon better than many of its competitors such as the Acura RDX, Audi Q5, Cadillac SRX, Infiniti EX, Mercedes-Benz GLK, and Volvo XC60.
The xDrive 35i comes at a price premium, having an starting MSRP of $42,700, $5,600 more than the xDrive 28i. The up level trim does offer a standard panoramic sunroof and available 19-inch double-spoke wheels. BMW also offers a new M sport package for the model. On the side is Consumer Guide’s take on the model:
BMW’s X3 delivers the sportiness and refinement you expect from the brand in a package that’s small but highly versatile. Non-linear throttle response remains an annoyance, at least on the base xDrive28i model, but this premium-compact SUV has enough other positive attributes to make it worth your consideration. Just keep an eye on the bottom line. Base prices are reasonable, but they quickly move upward when options are added.
– Consumer Guide
2013 X3 Changes
For the 2013 X3, BMW will introduce its 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which produces 241 horsepower. It will replace the 3.0-liter 240 horsepower currently featured in the xDrive28i. The xDrive 35i will continue to offer its TwinPower Turbo technology 3.0-liter 300 horsepower inline-6 cylinder engine.
The 2.0-liter engine is much more fuel-efficient, as seen in the 2012 BMW 3 Series, in which it gets EPA estimated fuel economy of 24-mpg city and 36-mpg highway. This should allow the 2013 X3 xDrive 28i similar to the Range Rover Evoque, which is rated at 19-mpg city and 28-mpg highway.
In Europe, the 2013 X3 will also be offered with three diesel engines: the xDrive20d has a 181-horsepower four-cylinder diesel, the xDrive30d has a 255 horsepower engine, and the xDrive35d offers a 308 horsepower six-cylinder diesel engine.
Interior & Cargo Room
The X3 has seating for five and offers good interior room for its class. The model also offers 19.4 cubic feet of cargo room behind the rear seats and 56.5 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down. These attributes along with its agile handling and excellent ride allowed the 2012 X3 to win the ‘Best Compact Luxury SUV for Families‘ award for 2012 from U.S. News and World Report.