2021 BMW X3


What kind of vehicle is the 2021 BMW X3? What does it compare to?

The 2021 X3 is a small crossover SUV with a decidedly sporty bent. Its broad lineup squares off against the Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class, Volvo XC60, and Audi Q5, among others. If you’re shopping in a luxury-car showroom, you’ll find an X3 competitor. 

Is the 2021 BMW X3 a good car/SUV?

Review continues below

Overall, the X3 lineup is a solid home run for BMW. Though there’s a lot to take in here in terms of engine choices and optional equipment, the core X3 scores an impressive 7.5 out of 10 on our scale. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What’s new for the 2021 BMW X3?

A new plug-in hybrid added eco-friendly interest late in the 2020 model year with its 18 miles of electric-only range and grunty 288-horsepower turbo-4. Additionally, this year there’s more active safety tech than before, Android Auto finally makes an appearance, and the Competition trim has been shuffled into a line-item package.

No matter the badge on the back, the X3 has conventional two-box styling that fortunately doesn’t stray as far from the norm as BMW has done with its larger SUVs and its coupes.

The X3 range comes in several flavors, with the 2.0-liter turbo-4 in the 30i version the one you’ll find most commonly on dealer lots. With 248 horsepower, it’s plenty quick for real-world use, and it comes in rear- or all-wheel-drive configurations.

About $4,600 separates the xDrive30i from the xDrive30e, and that final letter swap indicates the addition of an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack. Given the relatively modest price hike, the selectable 18 miles of electric range—you pick when you want to access it—may actually pay out for some drivers. 

From there, the lineup gets sporty—and expensive. The M40i swaps in a twin-turbo inline-6 with 382 hp, while the borderline bonkers X3 M shoots out 473 hp and tops $70,000 before you’ve even started to add options. The $7,000 Competition package is costly but fun with race-lite seats, 30 hp more, and a rorty exhaust. 

Base X3s are reasonably frugal; expect mid-20s mpg on premium fuel. More power, more thirst. M versions won’t see 20 mpg. 

All X3s can seat five adults in relative comfort, though the middle-rear seat can be a tight squeeze. Cargo space grows from 30 to 60 cubic feet with the second row folded. The X3 is tech-heavy, with a big infotainment screen, wireless Apple CarPlay, and even gesture controls for the audio system.

Automatic emergency braking is standard fare, though BMW charges extra for adaptive cruise control. 

How much does the 2021 BMW X3 cost?

BMW will sell you a base X3 rear-wheel drive for around $44,000, or $2,000 more with all-wheel drive, though realistically most cars have at least $5,000 in options. Figure $52,000 for a comfortably-equipped X3 xDrive30i, though we’d be tempted to pay the $4,600 premium for the plug-in hybrid.

Loaded up, an X3 M with the Competition Package, extra-cost paint, and a bunch of “well as long as you’re here” options runs upward of $82,000. 

Where is the 2021 BMW X3 made?

In South Carolina.

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