After receiving a new engine for the xDrive28i among other changes for 2013, the BMW X3 goes into 2014 with few revisions. Not that you’ll hear us complaining, because the X3 remains a very compelling choice among its premium compact SUV rivals. Those include alternatives like the Audi Q5 and Mercedes-Benz GLK, both of which can match the BMW in upscale appeal but not quite in satisfaction on the road. The BMW drives more like a sport sedan than an SUV, and that agility is aided by a pair of powerful engines: The xDrive28i delivers 240 hp via a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, and the xDrive35i packs a 300-hp 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder. Both models are all-wheel drive and feature a slick-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission.
The X3's standard equipment covers the basics, so you'll need to dip into the options list if you want things like keyless entry and ignition, satellite radio, heated front seats, a head-up display, and other desirable convenience and comfort features. Many of these options are bundled into packages like the Premium, Cold Weather, Technology, Driver Assistance, and M Sport (which adds special exterior and interior trim and larger 19-inch alloy wheels). The X3 is not cheap, but it's desirable and should prove relatively inexpensive to run, with solid EPA-estimated fuel economy.