2016 BMW X3 Review


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2016 BMW X3 Overview

Got some extra cash on hand and need a family-friendly luxury compact crossover that does everything well? Take a look at BMW’s 5-passenger, 5-door 2016 X3 mini-ute. With 63.3 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seatbacks folded, a choice of 3 competent powerplants, some heady handling attributes, and a boatload of standard high-end appearance features, creature comforts, and techno-goodies, this classy crossover—or Sports Activity Vehicle as it’s known in Bimmer-land—defines driving pleasure.

Expected to again be available in 4 trims, the base sDrive28i, the midlevel xDrive28i, the diesel-powered xDrive28d, and the top-shelf xDrive35i, the upcoming year’s X3 will offer few, if any, changes from the current version. That’s because the automotive rumor mill is vibrating with hints that the German automaker will debut a next-gen 2017 X3 boasting some significant engine upgrades along with hefty improvements to exterior styling, cabin bling, and infotainment technology. Stay tuned!

Meanwhile, the 2016 X3 sDrive28i will continue to be available only in a rear-wheel-drive (RWD) configuration, while all xDrive variations return delivered with standard intelligent all-wheel drive (iAWD).

Standard power for the sDrive28i, as well as its xDrive28i sibling, remains a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline 4-cylinder (I4) engine that mates with the returning 8-speed shiftable automatic transmission to put out a respectable 240 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. With the standard automatic engine start/stop technology that’s again common to all X3 iterations, this peppy forced-air I4, in both s and x variations, is again estimated to get 21 mpg city/28 highway/24 combined.

Look for the 2016 xDrive28d to return packing the tried-and-true 2.0-liter turbodiesel I4 from the current edition, with the ubiquitous 8-speed shiftable automatic managing 180 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. Mileage, meantime, is again expected to be a miserly 27/34/30.

For those with a serious need for speed, the 2016 xDrive35i will return boasting a 300-hp 3.0-liter turbocharged inline 6-cylinder (I6) powerplant, again with the 8-speed shiftable automatic allowing 300 lb-ft of torque. Alas, mileage drops to 19/26/21, but a 5.8-second scoot to 60 mph might make you forget the extra fuel stops. Oh, and speaking of fuel, Premium unleaded is required for both the I4 and I6 gasoline-burning mills.

As mentioned, no significant changes are as yet in the works for the 2016 X3’s standard appearance and cabin features, thus expect all variants to return sporting 18-inch alloy wheels, a power liftgate, LED fog lights, and auto-dimming mirrors, along with premium vinyl upholstery, full power accessories, and power-adjustable front seats with memory for driver’s settings. Of course, cruise control and telescoping tilt-wheel steering remain standard throughout the X3 stable, as does BMW’s basic iDrive infotainment system with its 6.5-inch display. Furthermore, the X3 will doubtless return packing a single-CD player with 12 speakers, HD radio, and auxiliary audio input.

The xDrive28i additionally throws hill-descent control onto the standard equipment list (as does its xDrive28d compatriot), while the flagship xDrive35i boasts a power panoramic sunroof, LED running lights, and high-intensity-discharge (HID) headlights as standard equipment.

Options, meanwhile, are expected to remain in package form, for the most part, and to include such upgrades as leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel, GPS navigation, sport front seats, smartphone apps, adaptive suspension dampers, and enhanced torque vectoring bolstering the electric power steering system. Additionally, BMW’s available Parking Assistant helps overcome parallel-parking challenges, while an available rear-view camera can be complemented by a top-mounted around-view camera, with all of these extras riding on optional up-styled 22-inch alloy wheels. Of course, all X3 variants also remain eligible for an available Harman Kardon audio system that boasts 16 Surround Sound speakers.

Standard safety features in all X3 iterations for 2016 are expected to include 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, side-mounted and head curtain airbags, daytime running lights, and front fog/driving lights. Also look for emergency alerts and communications to return standard, as well as a post-collision safety system and a remote antitheft alarm, while the xDrive 35i again returns toting standard high-intensity-discharge (HID) headlights.

Optional safety items lineup-wide, meanwhile, should again include front and rear parking sensors, blind-spot warnings, lane-departure alerts, adaptive cruise control, collision-mitigation braking, a head-up display, and upgraded BMW remote emergency telematics.

Both the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) give the current X3 their highest marks for safety, and there’s no reason this tradition shouldn’t be maintained for 2016.

Drivers of the marginally tweaked 2015 X3 tout its ride and handling attributes, as well as its hefty acceleration, especially in the xDrive35i. Drivers also applaud the somewhat simplified iDrive infotainment technology, though most suggest a stationary familiarization process before trying it out on the road. Unfortunately, rear-seat room is still an issue with a number of X3 owners, while others claim that BMW’s fuel-efficiency claims have yet to measure up to real-world numbers.

Look for the 2016 versions of this Teutonic crossover to again challenge the likes of Audi’s similarly equipped Q5, Acura’s spacious RDX, Volvo’s equally roomy XC60, and Mercedes-Benz’s uniquely styled GLK350 sometime in late summer or autumn of this year.


Have Laptop. Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.

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    BMW X3 Questions


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