Alice Poole

Alice Poole

Alice applies her extensive test drive experience and her passion for motors to bring you informed and characterful articles and vehicle reviews.

Read time of 5 minutes.

Please note, this is now a retired model and isn't available to lease due to a newer facelift. But don't worry, you can still find your perfect car by browsing our BMW lease deals. Or, for more choice, head to our best car lease deals to search all brands.

Drive with us: BMW X3 xDrive20d review

It’s time for our next test drive. We’re sticking to 4x4’s this week (in this weather it seems the obvious choice), and also going back to a German manufacturer. However this time it’s the turn of Bavarian Motor Works or BMW to you and me. Time to test out the BMW X3.


What we drove:

Colour: Sophisto Grey Xirallic Metallic 
Interior: Oyster Grey with contrast stitching in Vernasca Leather
Model line and Package: M Sport with M Sport Plus Package and Comfort Package. 
Wheels: 21 inch Bicolour V-Spoke style in Orbit Grey 
Engine: 2.0-litre twin-turbo diesel. 
0-60: 8.0 Seconds
BHP: 190
Price: OTR from £40,355

*Prices and model lines correct at the time of publication

Find out more about our best BMW lease deals


Engines and Drive

Not only limited to a pure diesel engine range, but you can also now get yourself a petrol alternative with the xDrive20i or go for the big guns with the M40i. Want to stick to diesel? Go for the xDrive30d, M40d or what we’re driving, the xDrive20d M Sport.

After a quick lesson on the newest updates (courtesy of our BMW-obsessed Pricing Manager, Simon) I was off. If there’s one thing that the BMW’s are synonymous with, it’s a good driving experience. No longer a brand purely pushing out manual gearboxes, the X3’s 8-Speed Steptronic sports transmission is better than ever.

I’m always worried getting into an SUV that it will feel too big on the road, and I’ll struggle to navigate it down the windy narrow Devon lanes – something it has to cope well with if it’s going to suit our local customers – but I needn’t have been. The X3 stuck to the road like glue and when I did meet the inevitable car down a single track lane, the long reverse back was handled with ease. I always like to initially use the wing mirrors for guidance rather than relying solely on the reversing camera – and this provided a good mix; large (folding) mirrors and a 360-degree camera with a bird's-eye view and obstacle warning made the whole process stress-free.



First off, I really liked the interior; it made the car feel plush and looked great in contrast to the dark grey metallic paintwork. It also had a lovely trim that I find a complete tongue twister to say, 'Aluminium rhombicle interior trim with pearl chrome trim finisher'. Now you try. That being said, as with any car with a light interior, I’d be terrified to muck it up (just this morning I spilt an entire flask of coffee on my own car seat) – and feel like I’d be tempting fate, regardless of how much I like the look.

We did the headroom test, and there is masses of it - well, masses for a 5'4" human such as myself. The room for the front passenger and driver is good too. Although unlike the Mercedes-Benz GLC we drove a few weeks ago, this one didn’t have electronically adjusting seats. If you want that, you’ll have to add a premium package, which gets you: electronic front seats and driver memory, lumbar support for the driver and front passenger and also a panoramic sunroof. Speaking of the GLC, what they do have in common is the same boot capacity at 550 litres.


This X3 comes with the Comfort package, which gets you your heated steering wheel, rear seat backrest adjustment and extended storage. It also has the M Sport Plus package, which upgrades you to the 21" alloy wheels and Harmon/Kardon Surround Sound. This one will also tow a 2,000 kg braked trailer. 

Technology and Connectivity

There’s a really responsive 10.25-inch touchscreen, and the navigation services are incredibly impressive. Zoom right in on a destination and you get a 3D map of local buildings and landmarks. 

One thing still worth pointing out with the BMW range is their lack of compatibility with Android phones. This isn't new information for many of you, but something to consider if you’re someone for whom Android Auto is imperative.


This model did come with the head-up display as an option, which allows you to see your speed and navigation among other elements on the windscreen directly in the vision of the driver. The intent of this is to allow you to keep your eyes on the road and process the information faster. If you’re all about tech, those who go for the M Sport, M40i and M40d models can opt for the Technology package that will add on gesture control, wireless charging and a supped-up sound system. 


Model Lines

The list available on the BMW website is frankly a bit overwhelming, but basically what you get on the SE is what you'll get as standard. As you go higher up, you'll get certain features in addition to, or in replacement of what comes as standard. 

Here's a brief overview of some of the features you'll get within each model line.

SE Highlights:

  • BMW Live Cockpit Plus
  • Connected Package Plus – including Apple CarPlay
  • DAB Radio
  • 18” Alloy Wheels
  • Adaptive LED Headlights
  • Heated front seats
  • Ambient Lighting
  • Acoustic Glazing
  • Drive Performance Control (ECO PRO, Sport and Comfort) 

xLine Highlights:

  • 19” Alloy Wheels
  • Satin Aluminium Exterior Trim
  • LED Foglights
  • Sports Seats (front)
  • xLine exterior body styling
  • Larger fuel tank

M Sport Highlights:

  • BMW Live Cockpit Professional – which gets you a 10.25” touchscreen
  • M aerodynamic body styling
  • M Sport Braking System (only on the xDrive 30d) and suspension
  • Connected Package Professional
  • M Sport multi-function leather steering wheel

M40i/d Highlights:

  • 20” Alloy Wheels
  • Variable Sports Steering
  • Electric Memory Seats
  • BMW Icon Adaptive LED Headlights with high-beam assist

Interested in a BMW lease? View our latest lease deals on the X3