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2014 BMW X3

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2014 BMW X3 Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.6

BMW doesn't really want you to think of its X3 as an SUV. The German automaker calls its 5-passenger compact sport-utility vehicle a "sports-activity vehicle." You may sneer at the marketing-speak, but there is substance behind the 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. The 2014 X3 is also fuel-efficient thanks to the turbocharged 4-cylinder engine standard in the xDrive28i model. For those who want more power, a turbo 6-cylinder comes in the xDrive35i.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're looking for a premium carryall that truly puts the "sport" in sport-utility vehicle, the 2014 X3 is hard to beat. If you need extra traction in inclement weather, the X3 comes with all-wheel drive as standard.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Aesthetically, the 2014 X3 isn't as viscerally exciting as some competitors. The iDrive command module and gearshift lever may confuse some drivers, and when optioned up the X3 can approach $60,000. Even paint colors cost extra unless you're okay with non-metallic black or white.

What's New for 2014

After the introduction of the turbocharged 4-cylinder engine in the xDrive28i last year, there is little change in the line for 2014. The Technology Package now includes USB connectivity and Bluetooth with smartphone integration. The Navigation/iDrive system gets some further refinements. Some packages and availability are shuffled.

Driving the X3

Driving Impressions Take off up the road in a 2014 BMW X3 and the first thing you'll notice is that it's quick. And it doesn't matter which model and engine you have....

Even the base turbocharged 4-cylinder can propel the vehicle from 0-60 mph in the mid-6-second range. Step up to the more powerful turbo 6-cylinder, put the transmission into the second of two "sport" modes, and you're looking at the same sprint taking place in the 5-second range, quicker than many quite sporty sports cars. This translates to effortless on-ramp sprints and prodigious passing power. But speed and agility in corners aren't the only high points here. The X3 is also a comfortable, quiet vehicle that eases the rigors of long commutes. Purists may decry the lack of a manual-transmission option, but we're happy with the standard, buttery smooth 8-speed automatic.

POWER AND EFFICIENCY
With the turbo 4-cylinder engine, performance and fuel economy are not mutually exclusive. This bulldog of a powerplant easily boots the X3 around, yet still attains 28 mpg on the highway.

INTERIOR FIT AND FINISH
From the metallic, sliding cargo hooks in the hold to the available wood-grain trim up front, the 2014 X3 is one polished vehicle.

2014 BMW X3 Details
Interior

Fine materials and lots of gee-whiz technology abound in the 2014 BMW X3, though some of it costs extra. So if you want the Fineline Wave Wood trim, heated front seats or, yes, just leather instead of "Leatherette" upholstery, you'll have to check options boxes. As long as you're prepared for the extra charges, though, it's easy to appreciate the X3's comfortable amenities. Most functions work well, though the jet-fighter gear shifter and iDrive command module can still prove a little confusing. Rear legroom is adequate and the seat easily folds to increase cargo space.

Exterior

Smoothly contoured sheet metal and aggressive creases define the BMW X3's appearance. In a head-on view it can look pretty sinister, with BMW's trademark twin-kidney grille. The sides and rear of the 2014 X3 are more conservative yet still attractive thanks in part to deep side creases that run from the front wheel arches all the way back to the taillights. These lines plus the overall proportions give the X3 an athletic stance that nicely mirrors its dynamic capabilities. In back are twin tailpipes tucked neatly beneath the lower-left bumper and nicely subtle badging.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

A base 2014 BMW X3 xDrive28i comes with AWD, 8-way power front seats, automatic climate control, power-operated tailgate, rain-sensing wipers, and a 12-speaker/205-watt audio system with AM/FM/CD player with HD Radio and auxiliary input. The higher-trim xDrive35i model has a more powerful 6-cylinder engine, xenon headlights and panoramic moonroof. Like other BMWs, the X3 comes with complimentary maintenance for the first four years or 50,000 miles. Roadside assistance is offered for the first four years, with no mileage limitation.

Optional Equipment

When it comes to configuring a 2014 BMW X3, the options and choices are plentiful. But purchase price rises fast, especially since some features come in packages that cost thousands of dollars. Among the add-ons available are leather seating, navigation, heated front and rear seats, a 40/20/40 folding rear seat, heated steering wheel and lane-departure warning. For audio buffs, a 16-speaker, 600-watt sound system is available. Driver's wanting even better performance can opt for packages that tighten the handling and employ larger wheels, most notably the $1,400 Dynamic Handling Package and the $3,000 M Sport Package.

Under the Hood

The engine in a 2014 BMW X3 xDrive28i is a turbocharged 4-cylinder that makes 240 horsepower – the same figure as the 6-cylinder it replaced last year but with more torque and better efficiency. In the higher-trim xDrive35i is a 300-horsepower turbocharged 6-cylinder. Both are connected to a smooth-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission and offer all-wheel drive as standard. To stretch fuel efficiency, the 2014 X3 features automatic engine start/stop, which shuts down the engine when the vehicle is stopped and instantly restarts it when the driver's foot is lifted off the brake pedal.

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
240 horsepower @ 5,000 rpm
260 lb-ft of torque @ 1,250-4,800
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/28 mpg

3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6
300 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm
300 lb-ft of torque @ 1,300-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/26 mpg

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2014 BMW X3 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.8
Out of 10

Based on 65 Ratings for the 2011 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.4/10
    Quality
    9.1/10
  • Reliability
    9.0/10
    Performance
    9.2/10
  • Comfort
    8.9/10
    Styling
    8.9/10

Very Good Condition

By on Monday, January 25, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 79,800

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Very good vehicle in very good shape."

Cons: "High miles"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Vehicle has a clean record of no traffic collisions, no body damage,, no fluid leaks, and new tires, brakes and drive belt at 70,000 miles. Completed regular maintenance as required. Runs great and looks fantastic. Single driver. No pets and no kids."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

20,000 miles & loving it!!!!!

By on Sunday, January 17, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,030

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "blast to drive, good mpg, SC built"

Cons: "sunroof rattles, some quality issues"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I love this suv. its truly amazing. it drives great, handles great & great gas mileage. very comfortable for long trips. the base stereo is awesome!! things in the car just operate with a certain grace. I love the way the buttons feel and the way the door souds when it shuts. on the down side my x3 baby has been to the dealer a couple times for warrenty issues, deformation of a trim piece drivers upper door, sunroof rattles, rearview camera stopped working. those issues were all fixed except the sunroof still makes a rattle noise every now and then. all in all this is a truly great suv and I love it to pieces. I would have no problem recommending this x3 to any one!!!!"

Surprised at how much I enjoy this car

By on Thursday, December 31, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, reliable, decent fuel economy"

Cons: "Price when adding options, interior color choices"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I never thought I would get a crossover or SUV but some how I was talked into looking at them. So far I am pleasantly surprised at how well this car has turned out for me. It's not quite at three series like some say it is however the driving dynamics are not matched in this field my other competitors. The options add up quickly and if I had the options to pick again I would choose Xeon headlights and heated seats and forgo the navigation. Although with the navigation you get a top-down camera which works really well. I have not had any issues with this Carsons I owned it and if you're coming to me is a horrible however it's not as good as a sedan or economy car by any means. If you're in the market for A crossover you'll enjoy driving every day and won't beat you up I would definitely go for the x3. Maybe you'll be as pleasantly surprised as I was."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Very Concerned

By on Saturday, December 19, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 800

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Comfort"

Cons: "Problems from day one!"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"Just purchased a new 2016 X3 xDrive28i. Less than 800 miles we get a drivetrain malfunction error. Can't drive over 20MPH and won't shift. Very disappointing to have such a serious issue with a brand new BMW. Traded out of a GMC Acadia that was just a service nightmare. Hopefully this is a one time thing but from what I have read, it seems to be relatively common. We shall see......"

7 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Great Performer, but Uncomfortable

By on Wednesday, October 14, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
5/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
1/10
Comfort
1/10

Pros: "Perfected engine, transmission, suspension"

Cons: "Too much wind noise, very uncomfortable seats"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"Pros: 1.) The inline six is perfected and has way more power than is needed, while getting 28 MPG on mostly highway driving. 2.) The X3 handles and performs exceptionally. The transmission is perfect - it is always in the right gear. 3.) Very nice styling. Cons: 1.) The standard seats are very uncomfortable (no lumbar support on a $50K car?). For short trips it is fine, but after 45 minutes, it's better to rent a Kia. 2.) There is always a lot of wind noise in the car. 3.) HIDs are too bright and other cars are always flashing. 4.) No spare tire (so don't venture too far from civilization) BMW spend most of the engineering dollars perfecting the engine, transmission and suspension, but spent very little on interior comfort or air leaks."

29 people out of 41 found this review helpful

Better than 2012 Audi Q5 2.0T

By on Tuesday, August 04, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Fun to drive."

Cons: "Radio volume placement."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Traded my 2012 Q5 2.0T for BMW X3. Transmission is smooth and no jerking like the Q5. No issues at all. Run flat tires still have life at 21K. No squeaks and rattles. Towing hitch is completely removable. Everything about this car is great. Service and sales experience have been great. Two small improvements would be nice: I phone 6 does not connect to car for e-mail and texting. Cup holder with radio volume knob position causes you to put car into N. You will only do this once..."

16 people out of 24 found this review helpful

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