2021 BMW X3

#4
in Suvs
2021 MODEL
$41,950 - $43,950
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2021 BMW X3 Complete In-depth Review & Buying Guide

Updated on: July 20, 2020
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John Bedrow

Automotive Journalist

BMW launched the X3 realizing the potential of compact luxury SUV place before its full-size SUV BMW X5, way back in 2003. Ever since then, it has proven to be a very capable SUV with a luxurious interior, great driving dynamics, and multiple engine options to choose from. It has been selling in big numbers with over 60,000 units sold in 2018. The 2021 X3 will still be in its third generation but will receive a mid-cycle facelift with minor upgrades to the exterior and interior.

See detailed review »

Pros

Best in class handling.

Top safety ratings.

Spacious interior.

Premium interior and seating materials.

New Fully electric variant.

Cons

Option lists are expensive.

Ground closer is a bit low for extreme off-roading.

What's New?

Redesigned lights

Redesigned bumpers

Updated Infotainment

New electric powertrain


Pictures & Videos

Exterior
Interior
Videos
2021 BMW X3 Exterior video

Styles

2021 BMW X3 in Alpine White color 2021 BMW X3 in Donington Gray Metallic color 2021 BMW X3 in Dark Graphite Metallic color
Alpine White

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Fuel Economy

8.0

Exterior

8.0

Safety

9.0

8.3

OVERALL RATING

Trims and Configurations

MSRP


2021 BMW X3 30i

30i

power
248 hp @ 5200 rpm
fuel
Premium unleaded
mpg
23 combined

$41,950 - $43,950


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
sDrive30i 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 8A) Starting at $41,950 MSRP (2/23/27) 248 hp @ 5200 rpm, 2 L, Inline 4, premium unleaded
8-speed automatic rear wheel drive 5
xDrive30i 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl 8A) Starting at $43,950 MSRP (2/23/27) 248 hp @ 5200 rpm, 2 L, Inline 4, premium unleaded
8-speed automatic all wheel drive 5

Expert Review

8.3

Overall Rating


The 2021 X3 is going to receive an update and not a generation change. It is expected to receive slight changes to the exterior which may include new headlights, redesigned bumpers, and new wheels. In the interior, the X3 may receive an upgraded infotainment system with the interior layout remaining the same. 

 But the biggest news of the 2021 X3 will be the introduction of the electric variant, the iX3. Others in the segment like the Mercedes GLC and the Volvo XC60 will only feature a hybrid model. X3 is a very capable and good looking small SUV ready to take on the compact luxury SUV segment with its sophisticated build quality and the BMW badge with tonnes of heritage

2021 BMW X3 SUV Front View
2021 BMW X3 SUV Rear View

 
 

8.0/10
Fuel Economy

 
 

8.0/10
Exterior

 

9.0/10
Safety

 
 
 

2021 BMW X3 Features

The X3 first came out in 2003 when compact SUVs were nothing more than an oddity. Fast forward fifteen years and BMW came out with the third generation of the X3 in 2018, a car that has become one of the bestsellers in their portfolio. Over these years, a lot has changed and the X3 is miles ahead dynamically when compared to the first generation and offers way better handling, ride quality and practicality than the SUVs of the last generation. The 2021 BMW X3 will be offered in similar trim levels as the ones seen with the outgoing SUV.

Trim

BMW X3

MSRP(sDrive30i)

$41,950

MSRP(xDrive30i)

$43,950

Key Features

LED headlights and foglights

 

Automatic wipers

 

Power tailgate

 

Rearview camera

 

Power-folding, auto-dimming and heated mirrors

 

Auto-dimming rearview mirror

 

Tri-zone automatic climate control

 

Simulated leather upholstery

 

6.5-inch central display

 

BMW's iDrive infotainment interface

 

12-speaker audio system

The 2021 X3 is going to be just as capable and better looking than the outgoing version and will without a doubt be one of the most significant players in the compact luxury SUV segment. The X3 is accompanied by some very capable vehicles in this segment including the Mercedes GLC, the Audi Q5, and the Volvo XC60. 

Expected Price and Release Date of the 2021 BMW X3

The 2021 BMW X3 is expected to carry a starting price of around $45,000 which is only a couple of grand more than the outgoing version and taking into account all the changes that are going to be a part of this update, the marginal price hike is completely justified.

BMW will most probably unveil the updated X3 by the end of this year and will go on sale starting 2021. The all-new iX3 which will compete in a whole new segment will be unveiled earlier in 2021.

2021 BMW X3 Engine and Performance

The 2021 X3 comes with multiple engines from 2-liter inline 4 to 3-liter straight 6 both in gasoline and diesel variant as usual. The base model gets the 2-liter inline 4 which produces power figures of 248 HP @ 5,200 rpm and torque of 258 lb-ft @ 1,450 rpm mated to an 8 speed ZF transmission.

2021 BMW X3 SUV has 2L Engine

The 2021 iX3, however, will be powered by a new generation electric motor. It can generate power of 265 HP with the 70Kwh battery. This will result in a decent mileage of 249 miles on a full charge.

Models

2021 BMW 

X3 (Expected)

2020 Audi

Q5

2020 Mercedes Benz

GLC class

2020 Volvo

XC60

MSRP

$41,000

$42,950

$42,000

$39,200

Engine

2-liter twin-turbo Inline 4

2-liter TFSI Inline 4

2-liter twin-turbo Inline 4

2.5-liter inline 5

Drivetrain

AWD

AWD

AWD

AWD

Transmission

8 speed automatic

7 speed automatic

9 speed automatic

6 speed automatic

Power (hp @ rpm)

248 hp@ 5,200 rpm

248 hp@ 5000 rpm

241 hp@ 5550 rpm

250 hp@ 5400 rpm

Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)

258 lb ft@ 1,450 rpm

258 lb ft@ 1,500 rpm

273 lb ft@ 1,600 rpm

266 ft-lbs.@ 1800 rpm

All the cars in the segment produce similar power figures. But the X3’s torque curve will start at as low as 1,450 rpm. This makes city driving a smooth experience without any frequent gear changes. All of these vehicles are powered by 2-liter 4 cylinder engines producing roughly the same amount of power and torque but out of all these vehicles, the outgoing GLC 300 from Mercedes is the most powerful.

How quick is the 2021 BMW X3?

BMW’s 2-liter twin-turbo inline-4 will be powering the 2021 X3. This engine in its current iteration is capable of pumping out a maximum of 248 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. The engine is complemented by an 8-speed automatic transmission unit but this setup might witness a slight power boost for the 2021 model year.

2021 BMW X3 SUV  has 8 Speed Automatic Transmission

Models

2021 BMW X3 xDrive30i (Expected)

2020 Mercedes Benz GLC 300 4MATIC

2020 Audi Q5 Premium Quattro 

2020 Volvo XC60 T5 Momentum

MSRP 

$43,950

$44,500

$43,300

$40,195

Engine

2.0L inline-4 twin-turbo

2.0L inline-4 bi-turbo

2.0L Turbocharged inline-4

2.0L Inline-4 Turbocharged

Transmission

8 Speed automatic 

9 Speed automatic

7 Speed DCT

8 Speed A/T

Power (hp)

248hp @ 5200rpm

255hp @ 5800rpm

248hp @ 5000rpm

250@5500rpm

The BMW, when compared to the competition, is pretty slow. The Volvo manages to beat the GLC in terms of 0-60 acceleration. The Audi manages to run the quickest quarter-mile in the group mainly due to its Quattro all-wheel-drive system. The Audi takes 14.5 seconds followed by the Merc’s 14.6, then the Volvo at 14.9, and BMW comes last at 15.1 seconds. 

How well does the 2021 X3 brake?

These might be compact SUVs but they are still pretty hefty for their size and it is important to ensure that they possess the braking prowess to manage all that weight. The 2020 BMW X3 is equipped with 13-inch rotors in the front and in the rear. These brakes manage to bring the X3 to a complete stop from 60 MPH in 114 feet, for the 2021 BMW X3, this braking setup will most likely be carried over without any changes.

Model

2021 BMW X3 xDrive30i (Expected)

2020 Mercedes Benz GLC 300 4MATIC

2020 Audi Q5 Premium Quattro 

2020 Volvo XC60 T5 Momentum

Front Brake Rotor(in.) 

13

13.5

13.3

13.6

Rear Brake Rotor(in.)

13

12.6

13

12.6

60-0 MPH(ft.)

114

115

112

114

Curb Weight (lbs.)

4034

3891

4057

4109

The Volvo has the largest front brake rotors in this group. At 13.5 inches, the GLC’s rotors are only a tiny bit smaller than the Volvo’s. Even though the Mercedes weighs the least in this group, it takes the longest distance to stop. The Benz could have been equipped with better brakes. All in all, the BMW is equipped with pretty decent brakes.

How well does the 2021 BMW X3 Handle?

The outgoing BMW X3 is known for its exceptional ride quality and the 2021 X3 should be a considerable improvement over the outgoing model. The updated 2021 BMW X3 should be able to offer a very calm and composed ride on almost every terrain. The car feels planted all the time. 

The car feels planted all the time. 

The suspensions manage to soak up most of the bumps and even big impacts. Without the dynamic taking care of choices, this X3 isn't as adept at handling bends as you would anticipate. It can even now be driven with direct energy and hold its level-headedness, yet with its all-season run-punctured tires, this BMW SUV inclines more "utility" than "sport."

2021 BMW X3 Fuel Economy

8.0/10

Since the 2021 model will pretty much have the same powertrain options, mileage figures will not see a huge difference. As it is, the 2.0-liter engine in the X3 will return 23 mpg in the city, 30 mpg in the highway, and 26 mpg overall.

The iX3 will be powered by a single motor unit with a 70Kwh battery. It is expected to give an overall driving range of 249 miles.

Model

2021 BMW X3 xDrive30i (Expected)

2020 Mercedes Benz GLC 300 4MATIC

2020 Audi Q5 Premium Quattro 

2020 Volvo XC60 T5 Momentum

MPG (City)

24

21

22

22

MPG (Highway)

29

28

27

29

MPG (Combined)

26

24

24

24

The X3 has the highest overall mileage in the segment of 26 mpg. But it’s lower sized fuel tank of 17.2 gallons compromised its driving range slightly. The Volvo XC60 has the best driving range.

2021 BMW X3 Interior

Much like the exterior of the 2021 X3, the interior will mostly remain the same. There will be minor changes to the interior such as a different trim material and an updated infotainment system. The iX3 will receive its own different interior treatments with a unique interior system with the blue theme and light shades as seen in other all-electric BMW products like the BMW i3 and i8.

2021 BMW X3 SUV Rear Seats

Model

2021 BMW X3 xDrive30i (Expected)

2020 Mercedes Benz GLC 300 4MATIC

2020 Audi Q5 Premium Quattro 

2020 Volvo XC60 T5 Momentum

Passenger capacity

5

5

5

5

Front (Head/Shoulder/Leg)

(In.)

41.1/57.6/40.3

37.8/57.3/40.8

41.7/57.7/41.0

38.0/58.2/41.5

Second (Head/Shoulder/Leg)

(In.)

39.1/56.0/36.4

38.5/56.5/37.3

39.3/56.5/37.8

38.0/56.3/38.0

The X3 can seat 5 people comfortably. There is plenty of space available inside the X3, particularly in the rear. The front seats consist of power seats with memory functions. The //M trim comes with its own set of interior trim such as M badges on the door sills, emblems in the seat, and //M sport steering wheel. Behind the steering wheel, the instrument cluster can either be the normal BMW gauges but also con be opted for the Live cockpit system which consists of a huge LCD display that offers a wide variety of information and also customizable options.

2021 BMW X3 SUV Dashboard

Some of the noteworthy interior features include:

  • 10-way power front sport seats including 2-way power side bolster, with 2-way manual headrests and memory system for driver's seat
  • Automatic 3-zone climate control
  • 40/20/40 split-folding rear seats
  • Tilt/telescopic steering wheel column
  • Interior courtesy lights with automatic-dimming function
  • Privacy glass
  • Power outlets in the front center console storage compartment, rear center console, and in the trunk
  • Front-seat center console with armrest and storage compartment

What about the infotainment system of the 2021 BMW X3?

The infotainment system will remain the same consisting of the 6.5-inch I-Drive system but will receive the 2021 software upgrade. The I-Drive is as usual smooth and easy to operate. The audio system consists of a 12 speaker system and can be upgraded to a Harman Kardon premium audio system. 

The interior features of the X3 include:

  • Optional 10.4-inch touchscreen
  • Live cockpit.
  • Advanced vehicle and key memory
  • Apple CarPlay Compatibility with 1-year trial
  • BMW TeleServices
  • ConnectedDrive Services
  • USB audio connection and hands-free Bluetooth including audio streaming
  • Real-Time Traffic
  • Stolen Vehicle Recovery
  • Remote Door Unlock

How much cargo can the 2021 BMW X3 carry?

The point of having a small SUV is the practicality associated with it, and the cargo capacity matters a lot in this regard. The 2021 BMW X3 will offer the same 28.7 cubic feet of cargo capacity. Considering the class and size of the vehicle, it is actually pretty impressive. The rear seats can be folded down to release around 62 cubic feet of cargo volume. What adds to the cargo capacity is the comparatively lower load height. The underfloor storage is very limited due to the full-size spare wheel on offer. 

Model

2021 BMW X3 xDrive30i (Expected)

2020 Mercedes Benz GLC 300 4MATIC

2020 Audi Q5 Premium Quattro 

2020 Volvo XC60 T5 Momentum

Volume (ft cube)

28.7

19.4

25.1

29.7

Out of this bunch, with 29.7 cubic feet, the Volvo XC60 offers the most cargo-hauling capacity. The BMW closely follows and then the Audi at 25.1 cubic feet. The German “Freund” Mercedes probably offers the least amount of storage in this segment- 19.4 cubic feet. 

What are the other storage spaces inside?

The 2021 BMW X3 will come with a vastly practical cabin that has plenty of cleverly placed spaces to hold knick-knacks. The glove com[artment is deep and the armrest has a deep cubby to hold and store relatively large items, there are dedicated cup holders for both the front and rear-seat passengers along with deep door pocket storage on all four corners.

2021 BMW X3 Exterior

8.0/10

Since the X3 is undergoing a life cycle refresh and not a generation change, the exterior will only receive some small styling tweaks. Changes may include a slightly redesigned grille, newer headlights, and new bumpers. The iX3 will receive different exterior tweaks, particularly in the front since it is not an IC engine car anymore. There will be a different grille and air vents. At the rear, the bumpers will be slightly redesigned to fulfill the absence of an exhaust pipe.

2021 BMW X3 SUV Three Quarter View

The X3 has a very dominant road presence with its lengthy and tall body style. The tall ground clearance of 8 inches not only helps to tackle rough roads but also helps in giving it an even mature look. 

Model

2021 BMW X3 xDrive30i (Expected)

2020 Mercedes Benz GLC 300 4MATIC

2020 Audi Q5 Premium Quattro 

2020 Volvo XC60 T5 Momentum

Curb weight(lbs)

4034

4057

4057

4109

Length(in)

185.9

183.3

183.6

184.6

Width(in)

74.4

74.4

74.5

78.7

Height(in)

66.0

64.5

65.3

65.3

Ground clearance(in)

8.0

5.0

8.2

8.5

In terms of size, all the vehicles in this segment are evenly matched. All the vehicles size up to 185 inches in length and 74 inches in width with the exception of the Volvo XC60 which measures up 78 inches in length. The Mercedes disappoints with the ground clearance at just 5 inches. While you might not have to think before taking these vehicles off-road, the Merc might scrape its front bumper even over small rocks. There are several exterior features on the X3 that makes it stand out from the rest. They are:

  • New headlights.
  • Optional LED taillights.
  • 19 inch //M alloy wheels.
  • Aluminum kidney grille.
  • Roof rails.
  • Chrome exhaust trim.
  • Roof spoiler.
  • iX3 specific exterior trims.

2021 BMW X3 Safety

9.0/10

The 2021 X3 is only the facelifted version of the 2020 model and will carry out similar safety features which are not a bad thing since the 2020 model has already received excellent safety ratings by both the NHTSA and the IIHS agencies. The X3 comes with a long list of safety aids apart from the confidence-inspiring safety ratings.

  • Active Blind spot system.
  • Lane departure warning.
  • Park distance control (front and rear)
  • BMW assist eCall.
  • Active front guard with Collision warning.
  • Impact sensors.

The 2021 X3 comes with a typical BMW warranty along with the complimentary scheduled maintenance package. It comes with a standard warranty such as:

  • 4 years or 50,000 miles limited warranty.
  • 4 years or 50,000 miles of powertrain warranty.
  • 3 years or 36,000 miles of complimentary scheduled maintenance.

2021 BMW X3 Competition

BMW X3 vs Mercedes-Benz GLC 

When Comparing the BMW X3 to the Mercedes Benz GLC, there is not a lot to differentiate. Both the GLC and the X3 are very impressive vehicles. Both of them offer a good amount of luxury and comfort to the passengers. Even in terms of money, there is not a lot to differentiate these vehicles. As far as ride quality is concerned, the GLC is slightly better. In terms of tech, both the Merc and the BMW are very well matched. 

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC SUV 

BMW X3 vs Audi Q5 

Picking between the Q5 and the X3 is troublesome. They are similarly valued, convey a satisfying driving background, and offer a far-reaching set of highlights. If you want a feature-loaded cabin without paying a lot, the BMW will be the best. In case you're after a more pleasant interior and tech-laden cabin with the best in class Infotainment System, the Audi Q5 could be your SUV of decision.

2020 Audi Q5 SUV

2021 BMW X3 Final Verdict

The 2021 X3 will not receive a generation change, but it will be the year where the BMW will introduce the much anticipated electric iX3 model. It will be the third only vehicle to be launched under the BMW’s “I” electric sub-brand. With the launch of the electric variant, the X3 will now compete in a whole different segment consisting of the Jaguar I-Pace, Audi e-Tron, and the Mercedes EQC.

Be it a normal gasoline variant or the new electric one, the X3 will remain as the very competitive SUV as it ever was. With its car-like handling and ride quality, it will continue to be a favorite among the segment. With the introduction of the electric variant, the iX3 will attract an even larger customer segment and maybe the highlight of the BMW for 2021.

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