BMW X3 sDrive20i xLine Review
Base-Spec Respec

5 Aug 2019

Built upon BMW’s rigid and extensively utilised Cluster Architecture (CLAR) platform, the X3 is penned by Australian, Calvin Luk, who is also responsible for the styling of their all-new Z4.

We have test driven various models of the BMW X3, and have always marvelled at how it handles. There is plenty of praise to be given, from how well their range of four and six-cylinder engines deliver the drive through a well-ratioed 8-speed Steptronic automatic transmission. 

Well for sure, the (Singapore) entry level X3 model has less than the next car above it; the mid-of-range X3 xDrive 30i model. And you wouldn't even smell performance close to that of the stonking M40i with its straight-6 under the hood… Heck… you don't even get all-wheel drive (AWD)! Then again, are we missing anything here?

Certainly we are. Well you see, We should not view the base X3 for the things it does not have… like its lack of AWD. Instead, we should see what BMW’s base “3 Series SUV” can bring to the table. 

Built upon BMW’s rigid and extensively utilised Cluster Architecture (CLAR) platform, the X3 is penned by Australian, Calvin Luk, who is also responsible for the styling of their all-new Z4

Like most modern BMWs, there is quite a bit of grille in the front (but unlike that of their recently facelifted 7 flagship); flanked by neatly-designed LED headlamps, which feature daytime running lights (DRL), shaped to complement the puffed-out edges of the lower bumper. 

Squared off front and rear wheel-arches convey a sense of strength, though the front wheel arch does look a little off when viewed from the rear. 19” Y-spoke rims are one of two same-size options available. 

In making the X3 easily distinguishable from the smaller X1, a faux vent has also been cut into the front fender (to whichever X3 I drive, I’d slip my finger into the gap for a good laugh). Under the windows, a thick accent line visually breaks the top and bottom half of the car for visual balance.

An integrated wing at the rear end extends the mildly-sloping roofline, and complements the rear styling. 3D tail lights also reflects BMW’s SUV design language (sedans and coupes on the other hand now get L-shaped tail lights).


Simplified interior accents aside, build quality is superb. A driver-oriented centre console, which features BMW’s Navigation System Professional with a 10.25” Touch Display, sits proud on the top of the dash. The base car does however lack gesture controls, which allows you to use finger gestures to toggle the infotainment system. The iDrive wheel sits beside the gearshift lever, offering directional and scroll ease-of-use. At the base of the centre console, a rubberised wireless charging pad is available for you to charge your mobile device. As with most modern luxury makes, the X3 also utilises a Multifunction Instrument Display, doing away with analogue dials.

Passenger accommodation is genuinely good, with 2,864mm between the front and rear wheels. Front the front seats are comfortable, and offer up a good amount of support. 2-memory electric adjusters for the driver’s side further adds to convenience for that additional driver. Headroom for rear-seat passengers is generous, and the X3 is able to accommodate 3 abreast in relative comfort.

Cargo room may not be among the at 550 litres, but it is very good; and rear seats fold flat in 40:20:40 fashion, bringing storage capabilities up to 1,600 litres. As a plus, the boot is double-floored, with a generous compartment below the boot board.

The Drive

The sDrive model is equipped with BMW’s inline-four 2.0 turbocharged engine, in a lower state of tune. Power is rated at 181Bhp, while torque at 290Nm is impressive. BMW’s base X3 delivers the century sprint in a decent 8.2 seconds, with maximum torque kicking in from as low as 1,350rpm. While it is not as punchy as its more powerful siblings, it delivers its drive very smoothly through the rear wheels, and transferred to them by courtesy of an 8-speed automatic.

Although the suspension is tuned with a heavy lean on comfort, ride quality is smooth, and does not come across as soggy. There is even enough firmness dialed into the suspension for stable cornering; perhaps marginally less sharp than an xDrive model, but for normal day-to-day applications, the X3 is quite a joy to drive.

Our Thoughts

The X3 could be ideal for those who would like to get their foot through the door to owning a Compact Executive Segment SUV. 

Without the added mechanicals to drive the front wheels, pricing is more attractive at $225,888*… $25k less than the xDrive 30i model. Fuel consumption is also slightly lower, with the RWD car delivering a combined 13.51km/l, as compared to the xDrive 30i, which does 13.15km/l.

The Mercedes-Benz GLC 200 is another option for you if you are planning on making a list, but the X3 does drive better.

In Summary

We Like

Drives well, Good build quality, Decently equipped, Good on cargo space and organisation

We Don't

Entry level interior accents does make the car look a little cheap


Perhaps a little less dynamic than its higher-powered siblings, but the entry-spec X3 is actually very sensible

Car Loan Calculator - BMW X3 sDrive20i xLine (A)

SGD 304,888 (22 Jun 2022)

Based on OMV, this car is eligible for minimum 40% down payment

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