2018 BMW X3 Complete In-depth Review & Buying Guide
Just as the fuzz about the second generation X3 was starting to wear out, BMW took their largely successful SUV and gave it a complete makeover. The 2018 BMW X3 is the answer to the likes of Mercedes-Benz GLC, Audi Q5, Jaguar F-Pace, and all other luxury SUVs. Carrying forward what X3 had perfected and correcting what it lacked, the BMW X3 is back to take its place as a class leader.
The BMW X3 2018 model starts at $42,650 for the xDrive30i trim and $54,500 for the M40i trim. The two trim levels use different engines: a 2-liter turbo-4 for xDrivex30i and a 3-liter turbo-6 for the M40i trim. Both use an 8-speed automatic transmission and All-Wheel-Drive.
Though the 3rd generation X3 is not exactly cheap, its price lines-up with its key rivals. The X3 has all the modern amenities you would expect from a luxury SUV and should be one of the top consideration for any SUV shopper.
7.5/10 Fuel Economy
2018 BMW X3 Features
The BMW X3 is all-new for 2018, complete with a roomy and luxurious interior, two powerful engines, and sporty driving dynamics. It is available in two trims, each with its own powertrain. The xDrive30i uses a turbocharged 2-liter I-4, while the M40i uses a turbocharged 3-liter I-6. An 8-speed automatic transmission is standard along with an all-wheel-drive.
LED headlights and foglights
All Features of xDrive30i, plus:
adaptive LED headlights
Automatic high beams
Power-folding, auto-dimming and heated mirrors
Front and rear parking sensors
auto-dimming rearview mirror
Launch control feature
Adjustable driving modes
Tri-zone automatic climate control
M Sport Package
Simulated leather upholstery
Dynamic Handling Package
6.5-inch central display
BMW’s iDrive infotainment interface
12-speaker audio system
The base X3 works well for all situations, and you won't ever miss the extra power of the M40i variant.
2018 BMW X3 Engine
"It responds quickly and smoothly, so it feels as if you have a little more power than you need." -Edmunds
Engine and Transmission
There are two trim levels for the 2018 BMW X3 with their own engine. The xDrive30i uses a 2-liter turbocharged I-4 that produces 248hp and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. The M40i uses a 3-liter I-6 producing 355hp and 369 lb.-ft. of torque. Both use an 8-speed automatic transmission that powers all four wheels.
Mercedes GLC 300
Intercooled Turbo Premium Unleaded I-4 2.0 L/122
2.0 Liter Turbocharged Inline 4
2.0 Liter TFSI Inline 4
2.0 Liter turbo Inline 4
8 Speed Automatic
7 Speed Dual Clutch Automatic
9 Speed G-Tronic Automatic
240hp @ 5000rpm
247hp @ 5500 rpm
252hp @ 5000 rpm
241hp @ 5500 rpm
258lbs-ft @ 1450 rpm
269 lb.-ft. @ 1,200 rpm
273 ft.-lbs. @ 1600 rpm
273 ft-lbs. @ 1300 rpm
X3’s base engine is strong, but not as strong as the base engines of some of the rivals. Audi Q5’s engine produces the most power and torque, and is about $2,000 cheaper than X3. Even though the X3 is more expensive than the rest, it produces the least power and torque.
The BMW X3 2018 model comes with two powerful engines. The base engine is in par with the rest of the rivals in the class, whereas the peppier 3-liter engine is by far the quickest in the class with its 0-60mph time of 4.5 seconds.
Mercedes GLC 300
14.8 sec @ 80mph
13.8 sec @ 99.6mph
13.5 sec @ 94.6mph
15.2 sec @ 89.6mph
Emission (Tons/year CO2 Emissions @ 15K mi/year)
The quickest to reach 60mph from standstill is the Audi Q5 with a time of 5.9 seconds. The x3 remains on the slower side with a time of 6.2 seconds, beating Jaguar F-Pace by one second. At the quarter-mile mark, Q5 maintains its lead. Jaguar was behind the pack at 0-60 test, but finishes strong with a time of 13.8 seconds at the quarter-mile mark.
Ride and Handling
If there is one thing BMW is known for, it is its fun handling. The X3 delivers a sporty handling regardless of the engine choice. It handles corners well and pulls hard. The 8-speed automatic transmission is smooth and shifts quickly. The sports steering wheel could use a little work, though. It feels a little too meaty in everyday commute and could be painful for the palm under continuous driving.
Braking is one department where the Beemer has improved even further. While the 2017 BMW X3 took about 119 feet to come to a stop from a speed of 60mph, the 2018 model takes just 114 feet. There is barely any instability at maximum braking. The brake pedal does require a little more pressure than average though.
Mercedes GLC 300
Brake pads-front (in)
Brake pads Rear (in)
Curb weight (lbs.)
With its new and improved brakes, X3’s stopping distance is at par with Q5 and Mercedes, though they are still a couple of feet quicker at stopping. The Jaguar F-Pace is the lightest SUV amongst the rivals but still takes a mammoth 121 feet to come to a stop.
The 2018 BMW X3 has a maximum towing rating of 4,400 pounds. While the trailer hitch was an option in the previous X3, the new BMW X3 has a factory installed trailer hitch.
Mercedes GLC 300
Towing Capacity (lbs.)
The X3 and Q5 both have a tow rating of 4,400 pounds. The Mercedes is behind the competition with just 3,500 pounds. The Jaguar F-Pace has the maximum rating of 5,290 pounds.
2018 BMW X3 Fuel Economy
Even though the 2018 BMW X3 takes the performance-oriented nature of its predecessor to a new level, it doesn’t come at a cost of fuel economy. The X3’s engine is more fuel efficient than before, delivering a combined economy of 25mpg, which is towards the upper end of the class.
Mercedes GLC 300
All of BMW X3’s main rivals are quite fuel efficient. The Q5 is slightly ahead of BMW in the city, but a little shy on the highway. Jaguar F-Pace matches BMW’s city mileage, but trails by 2 mpg on the highway. Mercedes also matches X3’s city mileage but is 1 mpg behind on the highway.
2018 BMW X3 Interior
"The X3's cabin is spacious and smartly arranged. Most controls are immediately understandable, and BMW's shifter makes sense once you get used to it. The driver has a good view outward and of the instrumentation." -Edmunds
Seating and Comfort
The driver and passenger of the 2018 BMW X3 are treated to exceptionally comfortable seats, and they include manually extendable thigh supports for longer trips. There is enough space in the rear seats, but the taller passengers may complain about the hard plastic trim where the shins contact the back of the seats.
Mercedes GLC 300
Front (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.)
Second (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.)
The front seat cushions are a little flat and firm, but the plush padding on the armrest is a nice addition. The rear seats sit a bit too close to the floor, which makes for an awkward angle at the knees for the taller passengers.
The standard interior features include:
10-way power front sports seats including 2-way power side bolster, with 2-way manual headrests and memory system for driver’s seat
Rear seat back adjustment
Dark Oak Wood trim
40/20/40 split-folding rear seats
BMW has installed the latest iDrive in the X3. It is a significant improvement over the last one. Standard features include:
BMW’s iDrive does not offer android auto, which is quite a shame in 2018.
The 2018 BMW X3 has one of the largest trunks in the class. There is no load lip so you won’t have a problem loading or unloading. The rear 40/20/40 seats fold down completely flat with just a push of a button. This gives the X3 a massive cargo volume of 62.7 feet, a class-leader.
Mercedes GLC 300
Volume (ft.3) in Trunk
Volume (Ft.3) with the second row folded
The Mercedes GLC has the least amount of space behind the second row. The only one ahead of X3 in cargo space is the Jaguar F-Pace with its massive 33.5 cubic feet of boot space. That’s almost 5 cubic feet more than the X3, but after folding the rear seats, BMW and Jaguar have almost the same cargo space, with Jaguar being 0.8 cubic feet ahead.
2018 BMW X3 Exterior
"The X3 itself is longer and wider, though, and the size boost produces tangible increases in head- and legroom for all passengers. Like the outside, the inside of the X3 is massaged rather than overhauled." -Edmunds
Dimension and Weight
The 2018 BMW X3 is on the heavier side in the SUV class. It is about 276 pounds heavier than Jaguar F-Pace. It has the least ground clearance amongst the rivals, but is the tallest, which gives it a strong stance.
Mercedes GLC 300
Curb Weight (lbs.)
Width (in.) (w/o mirror)
Ground clearance (in.)
Track width (in.) F/R
Jaguar F-pace is the lightest car here, which helps it in handling, but not much in the braking department. The Q5 is the smallest car here, and its tiny wheelbase aids maneuverability.
Y Spoke light alloy wheels (Style 688), 18 x 7.0; and 225/60 run-flat all-season tires
LED low-beam and Halogen high-beam headlights
LED fog lights
Power-folding, heated side mirrors
Satin Aluminum roof rails
Roof spoiler with center brake light
Chrome exhaust tips
Satin aluminum exterior trim
2018 BMW X3 Safety
2018 BMW X3’s safety features include:
Front and rear Head Protection System (HPS)
Active Protection System
Fatigue and Focus Alert feature
Programmable LED Daytime Running Lights
Anti-theft alarm system
BMW Assist eCall™ includes Emergency Request (SOS button)
Enhanced Automatic Collision Notification
2018 BMW X3 Competition
BMW X3 Vs. Jaguar F-Pace
Jaguar is a newbie in the segment and hence lacks some of the key features BMW, Audi and Mercedes offer already in the market. But the Jaguar legacy on this car is all over it dripping down the last bit. It's a great premium feeling soft-roader with impressive aesthetics. The F-Type-esque design ques are gorgeous to look at which is a departure from crisp looking Germans. A sporty intent in your driving style? F-pace is the car to step into.
BMW X3 Vs. Audi Q5
The new 2018 BMW X3 is costlier than the Audi Q5, but doesn’t quite match all that the Q5 has to offer. It has more safety features and offers tech goodies like Audi’s virtual cockpit. Both the SUVs have a potent engine lineup and sporty handling, but the Q5 is ahead in terms of feature availability and cabin luxury. The X3 does have a bigger boot, though.
BMW X3 Vs. Mercedes-Benz GLC
The Mercedes-Benz GLC and the BMW X3 have similar starting prices, but the GLC offers a lot more in that price than the X3. GLC has many more standard safety features and advanced features like crosswind assist and attention assist that the X3 does not have. Mercedes also has a wider range of engine choices, and its higher engines are more powerful than the X3’s.
Although both cars have a lot to offer and would be a worthwhile buy, the Mercedes has a little more to offer at that price. As far as interior luxury goes, the Mercedes does feel a bit posher than the X3, but the X3 handles more energetically than the GLC.
2018 BMW X3 Final Verdict
BMW cars have always been known for their fun and engaging drive, which even gave the brand a bad name because of rowdy drivers. But the X3 takes that fun handling and adds it to an SUV that exudes sophistication and class. The 2018 BMW X3 is a perfect family-friendly SUV that is engaging as well as practical.
The X3 is not cheap, to begin with, and adding packages and options quickly skyrockets its price. But compared to the key rivals, the price hike is not that high. The X3 has powerful engines, great driving dynamics, and a large cargo capacity. If you are in the SUV market, the BMW X3 should definitely be on top of your list.