The BMW X3 originated the compact luxury SUV segment and is one of the few that actually feels sporty. Handling is agile, making the X3 enjoyable to drive. Helped by a new eight-speed automatic transmission, the powertrain is eager and willing. Fuel economy is also respectable, given the X3's size and power.
Alerts
There are 4 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
0 to 60 mph 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit,
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
NA
2005
NA
2006
NA
2007
NA
2008
NA
2009
NA
2010
NA
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
NA
2005
NA
2006
2007
2008
2009
NA
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
NA
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS and ESC standard. Front side and head protection air bags standard; rear side available.
Road Test

The BMW X3 originated the compact luxury SUV segment and is one of the few that actually feels sporty. Handling is agile, making the X3 enjoyable to drive. Helped by a new eight-speed automatic transmission, the powertrain is eager and willing. Fuel economy is also respectable, given the X3's size and power. Along with a more compliant suspension than the old model, this edition of the X3 got a good dose of lavishness thrown in too. Still, like other BMWs, the controls are more complicated than they need to be.

Seating
2 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
AWD
Warranty

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
4-door SUV
Transmissions Available
  • 8-speed Automatic
Engines Available
  • 3-liter 6 turbo (300 hp)
  • 3-liter 6 (240 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2011 BMW X3 owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

“Normal, Sport, Sport Plus gauges do not work properly”

Ron S., MD (2011 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)
Exterior lights (other than headlights)

“one of the tail lights in the rear deck burned out in 2015, the other in 2016. BMW replaced them, but I was surprised that it happened”

Anonymous, TN (2011 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

“Have had to replace both LED taillight panels. Quit working”

Anonymous, PA (2011 BMW X3 xDrive28i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“Both right and left LED tail lamp assembly had to be replaced and costed close to $800”

Anonymous, PA (2011 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

“The drivers diderear LED tail lights had to be replaced at s cost of $690. Crazy money given the car wasn't even 6 years old and was treated gingerly. That coupled with an engine oil leak and rear differential leak cost almost $3k and all this with less than 60k miles and I was religious on doing routine maintenance. I'm I'm the process of trading in the car fir a GLC 300 4 matic”

Anonymous, IL (2011 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“LED tail lights failed twice. I used to replace myself with a $5.00bulb from an auto supply shop. Now, with zero added functionality, it costs close to $500 including labour, to have the dealer replace the LED module. Some progress!!”

Geoffrey E., ON (2011 BMW X3 xDrive28i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“Rear LED lights are a common failure due to a poorly manufactured control board”

Anonymous, MA (2011 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

“Entire LED tail light assembly needed replacement. No faults were indicated”

Anonymous, WA (2011 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

“The reverse lights need to be fixed. This was shortly after I bought it”

Anonymous, NY (2011 BMW X3 xDrive28i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“left rear tail light assembly had to be replaced”

Charles M., VA (2011 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)
Body control module

“failure of secondary buss box which led a a variety of electrical woes”

R G., MN (2011 BMW X3 xDrive28i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“Headlight visor broken by road debris. Cost to replace was astronomical”

Robert R., CA (2011 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

“Key less entry system doesn't work as advertised by BMW. Locks don't open which requires using key to access interior of car”

Ron S., MD (2011 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

“Alarm has come on several times for electronic features coming out of adjustment”

Anonymous, FL (2011 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

Air or water leaks

“Coolant expansion was replaced”

Donald M., GA (2011 BMW X3 xDrive28i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“Water leak coming thru the sunroof”

Anonymous, CT (2011 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“Both front door leak into the cabin in heavy rain. Bad enough to soak the mats”

Jack S., NC (2011 BMW X3 xDrive28i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“brake light seal in rear window leaked, replaced the seal and all was o.k”

Peter N., NC (2011 BMW X3 xDrive28i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“Rubber lining of front passenger door had to be replaced because water was leaking onto front passenger floor”

Anonymous, NY (2011 BMW X3 xDrive28i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Seals and/or weather-stripping

“Windshield leaked at upper corner in car washes”

Anonymous, MS (2011 BMW X3 xDrive28i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Squeaks or rattles

“Clicking sound in rear hatch area. Dealer unable to solve”

Stanley L., CA (2011 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

“Had to bring car into dealership six times to try and fix rattle with the sunroof. They finally fixed it”

Anonymous, NY (2011 BMW X3 xDrive28i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“The driver-side door when it goes down makes a terrible screeching noise”

Anonymous, NY (2011 BMW X3 xDrive28i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“Rattle from frame around screen in dashboard”

Craig Z., NE (2011 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

What Owners Say

“Overflow coolant reservoir cracked and high pressure coolant escaped until coolant ran too low. Occurred multiple times in a few weeks before dealership fixed under warranty after I yelled at them that filling it every week wasn't acceptable”

Anonymous, CA (2011 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

“Noticed coolant leak on garage floor. Independent garage verified hairline crack in overflow tank. Replaced at cost of $320”

Mark S., ON (2011 BMW X3 xDrive28i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“Water pnmp failed”

Anonymous, OH (2011 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

“engine overheated and the car stopped in the middle of the road when the engine simply cut out”

Anonymous, FL (2011 BMW X3 xDrive28i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“Several times a year the car gives a warning for low coolant fluid”

Anonymous, NC (2011 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)
Thermostat

“Engine thermostat had to be replaced”

Anonymous, WA (2011 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“Failure , very exoensive to repair, 70000 km only”

Michel C., QC (2011 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

“Engine overheat warning message and stop to cool down engine messages came because of failed water pump $1135”

Anonymous, PA (2011 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

“failed prematuraly”

Anonymous, OH (2011 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

Bushings

“Bushings exhibited routine wear and were replaced”

Edward R., AZ (2011 BMW X3 xDrive28i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“Noisy squeeking worn out”

Carmine R., QC (2011 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)
Shocks or struts

“bent strut made it impossible to align the car correctly resulting in uneven wear and requiring 4 new tires, as well as replacijg the struts and shocks”

Richard C., PA (2011 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

“There was noise on rough roads, It was simply normal wear and tear”

Anonymous, ON (2011 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Electrical failure

“Gearstick gear changer suffered electrical failure. Car would not go into gear and was useless until replaced under warranty. Was in the shop for several days”

Anonymous, CA (2011 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

“Accelerator pedal assembly electrical failure caused near-total loss of power rendering vehicle undrivable. Cost of repair (parts and labor) $500, at owner's expense (vehicle owned 3.5 years but over 80,000 km). BMW provided towing under warranty”

Mark S., ON (2011 BMW X3 xDrive28i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Differential

“Differential”

Anonymous, IL (2011 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Driveshaft or axle

“had to replace the rear main seal”

Anonymous, FL (2011 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

What Owners Say

Engine computer

“The eccentric shaft sensor failed. 2300 to fix at the dealer. Fixed myself for 750 in parts and tools”

Guy G., WI (2011 BMW X3 xDrive28i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“Same as previously stated”

Anonymous, SC (2011 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Oil leaks

“Valve covers all needed replaced. The car is a maintenance nightmare. It only has 57000 miles!”

Jesse C., VA (2011 BMW X3 xDrive28i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

“X3 was wrapped with plastic which checkered the paint on hood”

Anonymous, MS (2011 BMW X3 xDrive28i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“The paint in the wheels was peeling and after a lot of effort BMW replaced them”

Robin M., MA (2011 BMW X3 xDrive28i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Loose interior trim or moldings

“glove box trim is separating from hard plastic shell -- glue is failing. Hope the rest of the trim does not come loose”

Michael W., AZ (2011 BMW X3 xDrive28i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

What Owners Say

Cylinder head

“I had gone to step down on the gas to merge, and the car almost stalled on me. Then, as I was driving it, it felt like the transmission was slipping. I was told by a friend that was a mechanic what it was, and to not drive it over 45MPH, so I could get it to the City. The next day, I had it in to the BMW shop, and they said that was the problem, but had some other things to make sure that they didn't break down in the next few months. Then all was fixed”

Anonymous, NY (2011 BMW X3 xDrive28i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“Terrible hesitation when moving from a stopped position, a very jerky and unpleasant ride”

Anonymous, NC (2011 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

What Owners Say

“replaced all 6 ignition coils. Apparently Bosch forgot how to make them ...again. Done under extended warranty”

Anonymous, TX (2011 BMW X3 xDrive28i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“Battery had to be replaced. Since being replaced, some electronic convenience items don't work properly. Display does not correctly show when service is required”

Anonymous, SC (2011 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

Display screen goes blank

“The top of half screen containing the tachometer and speedometer would go blank. Usually by moving the headlight switch it will resolve and return to normal.. Not a big issue”

Anonymous, AZ (2011 BMW X3 xDrive28i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Radio

“Intermittently stopped working”

Anonymous, CA (2011 BMW X3 xDrive28i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

What Owners Say

Rough shifting

“Car makes a rough grinding sound at slow speeds and dealer is unable to diagnose the cause”

Anonymous, CA (2011 BMW X3 xDrive28i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Transmission computer

“Eight-speed transmission suddenly stopped working. Turned off car then turn it on and it worked again. Dealer did a reprogram”

Michael W., AZ (2011 BMW X3 xDrive28i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

Transmission rebuild or replacement

“Differential”

Anonymous, OH (2011 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Torque converter

“Crankcase broken, was replaced”

Anonymous, FL (2011 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

“Needed brakes”

Anonymous, OH (2011 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

“Rotors are automatically replaced when pads are worn. Rear pads have been replaced twice”

Robert R., CA (2011 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

What Owners Say

Fuel injection system

“Clogged injectors”

Anonymous, NY (2011 BMW X3 xDrive28i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

Glass defects

“The Halogen headlamps developed condensation inside the headlamps and had to be replaced”

Robin M., MA (2011 BMW X3 xDrive28i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

Change Vehicle