By Keith Buglewicz
KBB Expert Rating: 7.5
BMW calls the 2015 X3 SUV a "sports-activity vehicle." It's a bit of marketing-speak that'd be harder to swallow if there weren't a hint of truth to it. The 2015 BMW X3 continues to stand out against rivals like the Mercedes-Benz GLK, Acura RDX and Cadillac SRX, thanks to a dynamic driving nature that makes it feel more like one of the company's sport sedans than a big SUV. This year, BMW adds a diesel option with the X3 xDrive28d, further enhancing the line's fuel economy. On the other end, the 2015 BMW X3 sDrive28i is a new base model only available with rear-wheel drive, a first for the X3.
If you want your upscale SUV to accent "sport," then the 2015 BMW X3 may just be the ticket. Of course, with plenty of cargo space and a choice of two fuel-efficient engines, it's not short on utility, either.
Prices on the BMW X3 climb quickly as you add options. That $40,000 base price for the X3 sDrive28i can easily climb higher than $50,000 or more – even paint colors cost extra, unless you're happy with black or white. Not everyone is a fan of BMW's odd gear selector, either.
The 2015 BMW X3 gets a new 2.0-liter diesel engine, promising excellent fuel economy without sacrificing performance. A new base model offers rear-drive only for the first time, lowering the entry price for the X3. The X3 also gets a new grille and headlights, among other styling updates.
Driving Impressions Whether you're driving the 4-cylinder or 6-cylinder, the 2015 BMW X3 is a quick SUV. And while we haven't had a chance to sample the new diesel first-hand, the same...... engine in the BMW 3 Series has proven itself no slouch, and we expect the same here. The base turbocharged 4-cylinder propels the X3 from zero to 60 mph in the mid-6-second range. The 6-cylinder does the 0-60 run in about five seconds, and BMW promises the diesel will do it in less than eight seconds. Regardless, expect effortless onramp sprints and plenty of passing power. No matter which engine you choose, it comes with BMW's excellent 8-speed automatic transmission. On top of it all, the 2015 X3 SUV is a luxury car, meaning it's quiet, comfortable, and feature-laden to the point that you might actually look forward to your commute, instead of dreading it.
POWER AND EFFICIENCY
BMW's making a big play with its diesel engines, and we couldn't be happier. The same 2.0-liter diesel in the BMW 3 Series is a gem, with plenty of power and excellent fuel economy. It could make the 2015 X3 a fuel economy leader, and even give hybrids a run for their money.
NEW NOSE AND TAIL
The styling revisions made to the 2015 BMW X3 are subtle, but effective. We particularly like the compact SUV's new headlight design, which extends the lights all the way to the updated grille. It's a more sophisticated look, and it ties in with the current 3 Series sedan design as well.
The 2015 BMW X3 is awash in premium materials...if you're willing to pay extra. For example, if you want upscale wood trim, heated front seats, or even genuine leather instead of the standard "leatherette" upholstery, you'll find them all on the options list. You can bundle a lot of the interior upgrades under the xLine or M Sport packages. Ergonomics are mostly sound, that is, once you make your peace with the odd gear selector and BMW's iDrive system. There's good rear legroom, and the generous cargo space can be expanded by folding down the 2nd-row seatbacks.Exterior
The exterior improvements may not bowl you over, but they nicely update the 2015 BMW X3, and integrate the compact SUV better with BMW's current styling direction. While we particularly like the new nose, the rear end changes are more subtle, but help to tie the appearance in to the rest of the car nicely. For the most part though, the styling is carryover which again is fine with us. The brushed aluminum of the xLine makes the exterior look more luxurious, or you can give the X3 a more aggressive look with the M Sport's bigger wheels and aerodynamic package.
The base 2015 BMW X3 sDrive28i drops standard all-wheel drive for the first time to lower the entry price point. But you still get automatic climate control, 8-way power-adjustable front seats, burl walnut trim, a power tailgate, and rain-sensing windshield wipers. There's also a 12-speaker/205-watt audio system with AM/FM/CD player, with HD Radio and auxiliary input. The xDrive28i adds all-wheel drive to essentially the same package, and the xDrive28d adds diesel to that. The top-line xDrive35i model has a more powerful 6-cylinder engine, xenon headlights and panoramic moonroof. All BMW X3 models get complimentary maintenance for the first four years or 50,000 miles.
There's a lot of room to build your 2015 BMW X3 just the way you want it, as long as you have the cash. Many features come in packages costing thousands of dollars. For example, a handling package tightens up the suspension and adds sport steering for $1,400. A $3,250 premium package adds adjustable lumbar support, keyless entry and a panoramic moonroof. The Technology Package costs $3,150 and adds a head-up display, real-time traffic info and a navigation system, and BMW apps. Even red paint adds $550.
You now have three choices of powerplants under the hood of the 2015 BMW X3. In the rear-wheel-drive X3 sDrive28i or all-wheel-drive X3 xDrive28i, you'll enjoy a turbocharged 4-cylinder that makes 240 horsepower. The top-level xDrive35i gets a 300-horsepower turbocharged 6-cylinder. New this year is the xDrive28d with its 2.0-liter diesel engine. All three come connected to a smooth-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission, and all but the sDrive28i come standard with all-wheel drive. The 2015 X3 also features automatic engine start/stop, which shuts down the SUV's 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
2.0-liter turbocharged diesel inline-4
180 horsepower @ 4,000
280 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-2,750
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/34 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
The 2015 BMW X3 sDrive28i has a base Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) just over $39,000. If you want all-wheel drive, the 2015 xDrive28i starts at just under $41,000. The diesel-powered X3 will run you just under $43,000. The top-line xDrive35i starts right at $46,000. However, note that with options, any of these prices can escalate quickly, and it's not hard to option up an xDrive35i to be nearly $60,000. However, the base prices are in line with compact-SUV competition like the Mercedes-Benz GLK, Audi Q5, Acura RDX, Infiniti EX35 and Volvo XC60. Be sure to check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are actually paying for the 2015 BMW X3. While that entry price may be high, you can expect the X3 to hang onto a good chunk of its value over the years, similar to the Audi Q5 and Lexus RX.
By EF on Wednesday, September 03, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,600overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Quick, Fuel efficient, and comfortable"
Cons: "None so far"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Traded in a 2013 Ford Edge Ecoboost for the 2015 X3, same horsepower numbers, entirely different driving experience. Ordered the vehicle from my local BMW dealer and got it exactly the way I wanted (M Sport package, Premium package, Nav system, driver's assistance package, Harmon Kardon audio), had to wait almost 3 months, due to ordering right when the 2015 became available. First impressions are very good, have had the vehicle for slightly over 3 months. Handling is great for a near mid-size SUV, it corners like a 3 series sedan. Acceleration is very good in Sport mode (acceptable in Comfort mode as well and it saves on fuel), no discernible turbo lag, the 4 cylinder is a great engine. Have taken it on a long family trip and returned an average of 25-28 mpg (this is with a full cargo hold of luggage). Cargo space was more that adequate for 3 people and their luggage (along with all the stuff a 4 year old drags with). The M Sport seats are worth their weight in gold, no fatigue even from 12 hour stints in the vehicle. This is my first luxury brand car (not my first German vehicle) and I am very pleased with it. Depending on how this vehicle holds up reliability wise, I may become a BMW buyer from here on out. (Side note: I am a female, but a car nerd, and horsepower and handling matter more to me than the amount of cup holders or vanity mirrors)."
11 people out of 15 found this review helpful
By Cynthia on Saturday, August 23, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 72,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "joy of driving, attractive design inside and out"
Cons: "gas mileage, repair costs"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I was lucky to find a low-mileage, used X3 with an odd configuration: no bells and whistles except just what I wanted: climate package and navigation, plus roof rails for my crossbars. That's all I wanted beyond the beautifully tuned 6-cylinder classic BMW engine and the 8-speed transmission that I think make this car special. I love driving this car, especially on winding, rural roads in the places in the northeast that I visit regularly. Aside from one major repair to a steering component, there have so far been no repairs -- just routine maintenance. I do think the extended service warranty to 100,000 miles, expensive as it is, may be worth it because, when a BMW starts getting older it gets much more expensive to take care of out of warranty. I'm lucky to own one of the last 6-cylinder xDrive28i cars. It should become a classic."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By dqv2000 on Tuesday, August 12, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Diesel, MPG, Torque, M sport look, comfort."
Cons: "Auto start stop hesitate."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I owned a 2011 X3. I was in the market to traded in for a sporty car. I considered Fusion, Edge, Murano, VW CC, Touareg, Volvo S60, V60, XC60, Q5, GLK, and X5. I wanted to maximize Utility, Quality, Performance, and Efficiency out of my budget. In conclusion, I, again, choose 2015 X3, now with M sport look. Value: I traded in my 2011 X3 on June 2014 at 53.6% of original MSRP. I think that is not bad. Driving Dynamics: No doubt, every professional car reviewer agrees BMW has best overall driving dynamics. X3 is one good example of it. Reliability: I owned my first X3 for more than 3 years. I never paid any maintenance, fixing, etc.... Never have any problem. This is one big reason why I want BMW again. Interior : Thanks to the LCI treatment for 2015 model, I am sure BMW has the best interior material quality of the segment. Exterior: this is the part I love my car the most. I have been dreaming to get a M sport Package BMW for years. Finally, I drive one now. Quality: Some said GLK has best built quality of segment. I said X3 is not any worse than GLK. Comfort & Convenience: X3 has best cargo space of the segment, so I don't need to put further explanation. My wife love the comfortable sport seat and minimal wind noise. At 80 MPH, the wind noise is still very low. In conclusion, how to define a car of your dream? I think it is that every morning you get ready to work. You go to garage about to drive. You see your car and you feel this is going to be a wonderful day. That is how I feel. By the way, thanks to its diesel engine, I average 32.3 MPG on my entire 2500 miles. I am very happy at this result."
18 people out of 22 found this review helpful