BMW X3 Best and Worst Years

BMW X3 Best and Worst Years (Top Picks!)

The BMW X3 is a high-end small SUV initially released in 2003.

Although fundamentally an SUV, this automobile has its sedan rivals’ sporty, nimble, and fashionable demeanor.

This article will examine both its finest and worst years in great detail.

BMW X3 Best and Worst Years
BMW X3 Best and Worst Years

VIDEO: 2022 BMW X3: What It’s Like To Live With

2022 BMW X3: What It’s Like To Live With

BMW X3 Best and Worst Years

The best and worst years for manufacturing the BMW X3 can differ based on the source. The 2013 BMW X3 is regarded as the poorest year for the X3 lineup, claims CoPilotSearch.com. VehicleHistory.com also indicates that the 2013 model year registered the highest number of complaints. Yet, due to its dependability, the 2005 BMW X3 is regarded as one of the most remarkable years, according to WVDOT.com. Using information from the NHTSA and reports from the auto industry, EnginePatrol.com claims that some of the X3’s worst model years are between 2019 and 2004. Lastly, according to MotorAndWheels.com, the BMW X3’s model years from 2017 to 2020 have some of the highest safety and dependability ratings.

What Are The BMW X3’s Best Years?

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What Are The BMW X3’s Best Years?

2023 and 2022 BMW X3

The most recent models are perhaps the greatest, with the most sophisticated powertrains, cutting-edge technology, and safety features.

Modest design updates for the 2022 X3 included:

  • A redesigned grille.
  • Completely new headlights and taillights.
  • Updated bumper designs.
  • New alloy wheels.
  • Significantly altered exhaust tips. 

The original touchscreen display was still 10.3 inches, but BMW has subsequently started to offer a 12.3-inch upgrade.

The level of driver engagement in these cars is highly acknowledged.

2023 BMW X3:

  • Edmunds: 4.61 out of 5
  • 4.4 out of 5.0 on Kelley Blue Book
  • JD Power 2022: 82 out of 100 BMW X3:
  • Edmunds: 4.3 out of 5
  • 4.4 out of 5.0 on Kelley Blue Book
  • JD Power: 82 out of 100

2021 BMW X3

The 2021 X3 is another excellent option, with two powerful and fuel-efficient engines.

A variety of commonplace security and entertainment features were launched for 2021. 

Updates included:

  • SiriusXM satellite radio access.
  • Android Auto smartphone compatibility.
  • A standard Active Driving Assistance package allowing owners access to tools like lane-departure warning and blindspot monitoring. 
  • Edmunds: 4.2 out of 5
  • 4.4 out of 5.0 on Kelley Blue Book
  • JD Power rating: 81/100

2020 BMW X3

The 2020 X3 is a good choice since it is quiet, spacious, and fun to drive.

The xDrive30e plug-in hybrid powertrain was added to the lineup for 2020.

It has a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine with an electric motor that produces 288 horsepower and a range of up to 18 miles. 

This year, navigation became a requirement as well.

  • Edmunds: 3.5 out of 5
  • 4.4 out of 5.0 on Kelley Blue Book
  • 80 of 100 for JD Power

2018 BMW X3

According to NHTSA statistics, the 2018 X3—the first model of the third generation—has established itself as one of the least problematic years to date.

Compared to the previous generation, this model year was completely new from top to bottom.

  • Edmunds: 4.2 out of 5
  • 4.4 out of 5.0 on Kelley Blue Book
  • 80 of 100 for JD Power

2016 BMW X3

The 2016 X3 received excellent marks for its performance, fuel efficiency, premium construction, spacious cabin, and excellent crash test results.

This model year offers three engine options: a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4, a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 diesel, and a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6.

The 2016 X3 was updated with a standard 16-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, but this feature was only available on the xDrive35i model. 

  • Edmunds: 4.1 out of 5
  • 4.4 out of 5.0 on Kelley Blue Book
  • JD Power: 82 out of 100

2014 BMW X3

This is a much better option when compared to the 2013 X3 because it is less complicated.

However, the 2013 X3’s engine has numerous problems.

Owners and reviewers praised this model year for its spacious interior and comfortable back seat.

  • Edmunds: 3.9 out of 5.
  • 4.4 out of 5.0 on Kelley Blue Book
  • JD Power: 82 out of 100

2012 BMW X3

The 2012 X3 is an excellent option if you’re searching for a little older model.

This model year continued mainly like its immediate predecessor, except it had fewer issues.

This model’s comprehensive list of standard safety features includes hill descent control, stability control, antilock disc brakes, and automatic brake drying.

  • Edmunds: 3.8 out of 5
  • 4.4 out of 5.0 on Kelley Blue Book
  • JD Power: 79 out of 100

2010 BMW X3

It should not be surprising that the 2010 X3, the final model of the first generation, was also one of the least problematic.

The conventional moonroof was removed in 2010 but was replaced by an HD Radio system.

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This model has a powerful 3.0-liter in-line six engines that produce 260 horsepower.

  • Edmunds: 4 out of 5
  • 4.2/5.0 on the Kelley Blue Book
  • 72 out of 100 JD Power

2009 BMW X3

The 2009 BMW X3, which has a classic design and xDrive full-time all-wheel drive as standard, was the most dependable vehicle from the first generation.

Despite its advanced age, the 2009 X3 still offers excellent handling, superb power delivery, and a high-quality cabin.

Any model older than the 2009 X3 is not recommended because they are noticeably more problematic.

  • Edmunds: 4 out of 5
  • 4.2/5.0 on the Kelley Blue Book
  • JD Power: 74 out of 100

Consumer Scores For Best BMW X3 Years

Model YearEdmundsConsumer RatingKelley Blue BookConsumer RatingJD PowerConsumer Rating
2023 BMW X34.6 / 5.04.4 / 5.082 / 100
2022 BMW X34.3 / 5.04.4 / 5.082 / 100
2021 BMW X34.2 / 5.04.4 / 5.081 / 100
2020 BMW X33.5 / 5.04.4 / 5.080 / 100
2018 BMW X34.2 / 5.04.4 / 5.080 / 100
2017 BMW X33.9 / 5.04.4 / 5.082 / 100
2016 BMW X34.1 / 5.04.4 / 5.082 / 100
2014 BMW X33.9 / 5.04.4 / 5.082 / 100
2012 BMW X33.8 / 5.04.4 / 5.079 / 100
2010 BMW X34.0 / 5.04.2 / 5.072 / 100
2009 BMW X34.0 / 5.04.2 / 5.074 / 100

What Are The BMW X3’s Worst Years?

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What Are The BMW X3’s Worst Years?

Despite its outstanding features and stellar reputation, the X3 has experienced some problematic model years. 

2019 BMW X3

There was an increase in complaints about numerous equipment issues with the 2019 BMW X3. The sunroof randomly shattering without cause was a regular complaint.

Here are some of the comments made by other owners who complained that the tailgate would open on its own:

The back hatch door randomly opens. Although stationary and parked overnight, a neighbor saw it open this morning.

Our car’s trunk flew up as we were reversing into our garage, hitting the roof and leaving scratches and peeling paint on the trunk lid.

There were five issues with the 2019 X3 on CarComplaints.com and 81 with CarProblemZoo.com.

Common issues:

  • Unexpected acceleration
  • Hatch randomly opens
  • Not working air conditioning

2015 BMW X3

According to NHTSA reports, the 2015 X3’s engine was particularly problematic.

According to owner complaints, the engine and coolant warning lights would turn on and stay on.

Various engine problems, such as stalling and smoke emanating from the car, would frequently accompany this.

Total complaints for the 2015 X3 were five at CarComplaints.com and 91 at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common issues:

  • loud with the back windows open
  • Inoperative frontal collision warning system (FCW)
  • Inoperative Comfort access and the Check Engine light

2013 BMW X3

Online statistics show that the 2013 X3 is the most problematic model year.

The biggest and most common complaint from owners of this model was timing chain failure, which frequently led to engine failure and high repair costs.

Total complaints and difficulties for the 2013 X3 were 54 at CarComplaints.com and 281 at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common issues:

  • Timing chain guide damage
  • motor failure

2011 BMW X3 

Although the 2011 X3 may not have experienced as many faults as some of the other models on this list, allegations of engine stalling and transmission problems were severe enough to merit a spot on this list. 

The loss of power steering was another issue that was frequently mentioned.

Owners claimed that the steering wheel would seize and display warning warnings while driving.

Total complaints and difficulties for the 2011 X3 were one at CarComplaints.com and 113 at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common issues:

  • LED lights not working
  • faulty power steering

2008 BMW X3

One of the giant airbags recalls in automobile history, the Takata recall, affected the 2008 X3.  

These airbags were known for detonating and spewing metal fragments into the cabin, possibly deadly effects.

Additionally, several engine-related complaints were made by owners who claimed that the engine would shut off while they were driving.

Total complaints for the 2008 X3 were three at CarComplaints.com and 108 at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common issues:

  • loose engine bolts
  • The transmission stutters

2007 BMW X3

Cooling system flaws caused the 2007 X3s.

Additionally, reports have shown that some support components did not adequately sustain the engine, resulting in vehicle breakdowns. 

Other owners have mentioned various transmission problems, like stuttering when accelerating.

It was also frequently reported that defective heating elements caused seats to burn.

Total complaints for the 2007 X3 were nine at CarComplaints.com and 241 at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common issues:

  • Noise from the engine and oil leaks
  • failure of an engine mount bolt
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2006 BMW X3

Many concerns were made about the airbag system in the 2006 X3.

According to numerous owners, the airbag warning sign would illuminate and remain on.

This was connected to a malfunctioning occupant mat sensor on the passenger side.

Another frequent issue that caused some owners to sustain burns was overheating chairs.

There were three complaints and 163 issues for the 2006 X3 on CarComplaints.com and CarProblemZoo.com, respectively.

Common issues:

  • oil spill
  • Open sunroof becomes trapped
  • the odor from the heater and air conditioner
  • The heater seat is heating up too quickly

BMW X3, 2005 and 2004

The first models of the model were the 2004 and 2005 X3, and it’s no surprise that they had a few growing pains.

Some of the more frequent concerns included electrical problems, overheating seats, and airbag problems.

What Years Have The Most Complaints?

Model YearComplaints(CarComplaints.com)Problems(CarProblemZoo.com)
2023 BMW X3NANA
2022 BMW X3NA13
2021 BMW X3128
2020 BMW X3424
2019 BMW X3581
2018 BMW X3133
2017 BMW X3350
2016 BMW X3854
2015 BMW X3591
2014 BMW X3661
2013 BMW X354281
2012 BMW X3655
2011 BMW X31113
2010 BMW X3235
2009 BMW X3123
2008 BMW X33108
2007 BMW X39241
2006 BMW X33163
2005 BMW X310132
2004 BMW X38168

How Safe Is BMW X3?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have given the BMW X3 excellent safety ratings. (IIHS). The NHTSA awarded the 2020 BMW X3 a 5-star overall safety rating, and the IIHS gave it a “Good” rating.

In addition, the IIHS gave the 2022 BMW X3 “Good” grades for moderate overlap frontal crash tests. Regarding crashworthiness, crash avoidance and mitigation, seat belts, child restraints, and LATCH convenience, the 2021 BMW X3 achieved “Good” ratings.

In addition, the BMW X3 has cutting-edge safety technologies like lane departure warnings, blind spot recognition, and daytime running lights.

Reliability of BMW X3

There are conflicting reports on BMW X3’s reliability. The 2020 BMW X3 has undergone ten formal recalls, according to VehicleHistory.com, one of which was due to battery debris that might ignite an electrical fire.

But according to Vehicle History, the 2020 BMW X3 has a 4.49-star owner rating and a 4.4/5 expert review rating. Additionally, Edmunds.com says the 2022 BMW X3 has garnered favorable customer feedback. The 2018–2023 BMW X3 received “Good” ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for frontal ratings with a moderate overlap and frontal ratings with a slight overlap.

In addition, the 2020 BMW X3 has received 5-star overall safety certification from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). So despite some recalls, the BMW X3 has garnered high safety scores from the IIHS and NHTSA.

How To Find The Best Deals on BMW X3?

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How To Find The Best Deals on BMW X3?

It is advised to check many dealers’ leasing offers, incentives, and rebates to discover the best prices on a BMW X3. For example, U.S.U.S. News Best Cars detail the 2023 BMW X3’s lease offers, costs, and incentives.

Additionally, Edmunds.com provides information on discounts and incentives for the BMW X3 models from 2022 and 2023.

Additionally, VehicleHistory.com details the BMW X3’s dependability and safety, including reports of official recalls and crash test results.

Customers may obtain the most excellent price on a BMW X3 by comparing the available offers and considering the durability and safety of the car.

Tips for Maintaining your BMW X3

It’s crucial to adhere to a routine maintenance schedule and make the required repairs to preserve a BMW X3. At the absolute least, oil and air filters need to be replaced every 15,000 miles, according to Four Wheel Trends.

For BMW X3 maintenance jobs that the owner may perform himself, Autodoc.co.uk offers a variety of repair manuals and video lessons.

Additionally, VehicleHistory.com advises searching for official recalls and having the car fixed for free at a BMW dealer if one is issued.

Given that the 2020 BMW X3 obtained a “Good” rating from the IIHS and a 5-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA, it is also crucial to put safety and dependability first.

Lastly, Edmunds.com provides details on BMW X3 incentives and rebates for 2023, which can help drivers save money on maintenance costs.

How Can You Tell Whether Something Is a Lemon?

Purchase a vehicle history report.

There is no better initial step when purchasing a used car than to obtain a car history report. Two well-known services offer this information for little money: Anyone looking to purchase a used car will find the information provided by CarFax and AutoCheck extremely helpful.

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The reports let you know the number of past owners, whether or not it had any accidents, how frequently it required maintenance, and the current title.

The final section is among the most crucial since it contains the lemon label, which attests that the car followed the correct legal procedures to be designated as a lemon.

However, in some areas, dealers must inform a customer if the vehicle is a manufacturer buyback, which is a reliable way to determine whether a vehicle has a lemon title.

However, it is the responsibility of the buyer to conduct a thorough investigation into the vehicle’s history.

Therefore, consumers may need help if they accidentally purchase a secondhand lemon because they must inspect it first.

Owner Background

You can view the owner’s history on the vehicle history report, which should indicate whether the manufacturer has purchased the vehicle back.

While owners can claim a car is a lemon in a legal dispute and ask the automaker to buy back the problematic vehicle, that is a guaranteed technique to determine if the car was labeled a lemon.

You can also determine if the vehicle was sold or traded before it was given a lemon tag if the prior owner may have missed an issue. It also implies that the car’s persistent issue must be apparent.

Repair Record

Look carefully at the vehicle’s repair record and try to identify any recurring issues. Recurring problems in cars with lemon histories are simple to spot.

You can determine whether the issues with the car are minor wear and tear concerns, such as those with the clutch or brakes, or a more severe problem. Check to discover if the repairs were necessary or carried out even when the car was brand new.

It can assist in determining whether the car is a lemon or if an incident like a collision or modification caused a misdiagnosed issue.

Are the repairs significant or minor? A severe repair would deal with the drivetrain or suspension, whereas a superficial one would address non-driving-related issues like window or seat controls.

Severe repairs would be more challenging, but handling a car might not be a hassle if a car was considered a lemon for a less severe cause.

The report also shows whether repairs are being made at a dealership or a general shop. Like you would with any used car, examine the vehicle’s general condition and health and determine whether routine maintenance has also been carried out.

This will assist you in deciding whether or not you should consider purchasing this car.

Inspection before purchase

Is the car still a good investment? You should get a pre-purchase inspection if the flaws are not too concerning or if you believe the automobile may have been incorrectly labeled as a lemon.

A mechanic can determine whether the problems are repairable and why the car was considered a lemon.

A technician can assist you in determining whether or not a recurring issue is indicative of more severe problems or worries about the quality of the vehicle.

Their satisfaction with the car might help determine if it is a worthwhile investment or a lost cause.

BMW X3 FAQ’s

What BMW X3 model is the best?

What is the finest BMW X3 model? The xDrive20d in xLine trim is our top pick. The 48V mild hybrid assistance, four-cylinder, 2.0-liter diesel engine with 190 horsepower sprints from 0 to 60 mph in 7.9 seconds. It’s an effective option, and the base xLine trim comes well-equipped.

Is buying a used BMW X3 worthwhile?

Even while it is being used, the car is coveted due to its dependability, speed, and opulent features. For people who don’t need the newest and flashiest car, buying used is a terrific alternative because new cars are so pricey. Other aspects in addition to the vehicle’s price must be taken into account.

The BMW X3 series: is it dependable?

The BMW X3’s overall reliability score is 50.3, which indicates that it is not very reliable. The exact rankings of this car in relation to various other cars are shown in the chart below, however as a point of reference, the average overall rating is 57.

What is the lifespan of a BMW X3?

In a BMW, it’s typical to be able to reach 150,000 or 200,000 miles on the odometer as long as you’re taking good care of your X3. Our skilled service team is available and prepared to give your car the care it needs.

Is buying a BMW X3 wise?

The projected dependability rating for the 2023 BMW X3 is 85 out of 100. A predicted reliability score from J.D. Power of 91 to 100 is regarded as the best, 81 to 90 as great, 70 to 80 as medium, and 0-69 as fair and below average.

Lead Writer and Editor at Discover Seldric | + posts

John Valdez - Passionate Car Enthusiast and Accomplished Writer

Meet John Valdez, a dedicated car lover and seasoned writer whose passion for automobiles is as vibrant as his words are eloquent. With a keen eye for detail and a heart that beats to the rhythm of engines, John brings a unique blend of expertise and enthusiasm to the world of automotive journalism.

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