2016 BMW X3

Research, photos, specs, and expertise

BMW X3 highlights

Customer rating


  • High-quality cabin is nicely finished and spacious
  • Agile and enjoyable to drive, particularly for an SUV


  • The X3's blend of qualities don't come cheap, nor do the options
  • Good as it is, it's an older entry among image-conscious premium compact SUVs

Mileage (EPA estimate)

19 city, 27 highway, 22 combined

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The 2016 BMW X3 delivers enjoyment behind the wheel

Several years into this generation, the 2016 BMW X3 remains a compelling choice in the hotly contested premium compact SUV landscape. 2015 brought a few revisions to freshen up the X3's looks and add equipment to increase its value, so for 2016 the X3 remains largely unchanged. There are three engine choices. The sDrive28i and xDrive28i models are powered by a gas four-cylinder turbo engine, and the xDrive28d by a four-cylinder turbodiesel. xDrive signals all-wheel drive, and the sDrive—limited to the 28i model—is a rear-wheel-drive choice. Above those models is the xDrive35i, which gives the X3 impressive power with its 300-hp turbocharged six-cylinder 3.0-liter.

All X3s drive sharply, with crisp steering and an agility that's unusual for a high-riding SUV. Only Porsche's significantly more expensive Macan will raise a bigger grin behind the wheel, but it doesn't have the X3's space or practicality. With stylish looks inside and out, an easy-to-operate iDrive infotainment system, and BMW's slight improvements in equipment every year, the X3 remains difficult to ignore even as it ages, particularly if driver enjoyment is high on your list of priorities.

All BMW X3 years

New for 2016

  • X3 trims have been upgraded with Harman Kardon Sound as standard equipment this year.
  • Full Roof Rack, Running Boards, and Tow Hitch features are now available as options on select trims.

Explore BMW X3 details

SDrive28i 2WD 4D Sport Utility

Standard Features

  • ABS Brakes
  • Air Conditioning
  • Alloy Wheels
  • AM/FM Stereo
  • Automatic Transmission
  • Auxiliary Audio Input
  • Bluetooth Technology
  • CD Audio
  • Cruise Control
  • Leatherette Seats
  • Memory Seat(s)
  • Power Hatch/Deck Lid
  • Power Locks
  • Power Mirrors
  • Power Seat(s)
  • Power Windows
  • Rear Defroster
  • Rear Spoiler
  • Run Flat Tires
  • Side Airbags
  • Traction Control
  • Turbo Charged Engine
  • 20 Inch Plus Wheels
  • Automated Cruise Control
  • Automated Parking
  • Auxiliary Audio Input
  • Blind Spot Monitor
  • Bluetooth Technology
  • Front Seat Heaters
  • Full Roof Rack
  • Harman Kardon Sound
  • Head Up Display
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Leather Seats
  • Leatherette Seats
  • Navigation System
  • Panoramic Sunroof
  • Parking Sensors
  • Power Hatch/Deck Lid
  • Rear Seat Heaters
  • Rear Sunshade
  • Rear View Camera
  • Running Boards
  • Satellite Radio Ready
  • Smart Key
  • Tow Hitch

Drive Wheels

Rear Wheel Drive (2WD)

Engine size




Torque (ft-lbs)


Engine type

Turbo Gas

Fuel capacity




Overall length






Leg room

F 39.9"/R 36.5"

Head room

F 40.7"/R 39.1"

Front tires


Rear tires


Seating capacity




5 reasons to buy the 2016 BMW X3

1. Satisfying powertrain options

2016 BMW X3: Engine | CarMax

Whether you're looking for a sensible four-cylinder, a fuel-sipping turbodiesel, or a powerful inline-six, the BMW X3 has something for every driver. The 2016 line-up starts with a 240-hp turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder that connects to an eight-speed automatic transmission with rear-wheel drive.

The all-wheel drive version—called the xDrive28i—uses the same engine, and both the sDrive28i and xDrive28i return an EPA-estimated 24 mpg combined.

Opting for the 2016 X3 xDrive28d with a 180-hp 2.0L four-cylinder turbo-diesel achieves an EPA-estimated 30 mpg combined, making this an excellent commuter.
For speedy acceleration, the 2016 X3 xDrive35i's 300-hp turbocharged 3.0L inline-six will invigorate your daily drive with a zero to 60 mph time of 5.3 seconds (according to the manufacturer when new).

2. Dynamic handling

2016 BMW X3: Gear shift | CarMax

The 2016 BMW X3 is a well-rounded compact luxury SUV that delivers energetic handling and customizable performance. BMW's xDrive all-wheel drive system—which is included on the 2016 X3 xDrive28i, xDrive28d, and xDrive35i models—ensures excellent stability in slippery conditions or during mild off-roading. The SUV's taut suspension also produces a firm ride that remains controlled around turns yet absorbs road imperfections for your comfort. Adding the available Dynamic Handling Package lets you adjust the suspension dampers, throttle, transmission, and steering feel using Normal, Sport, and Sport+ modes for next-level enjoyment.

3. Uncompromising comfort

2016 BMW X3: Front seats | CarMax

Compact luxury SUVs combine utility, versatility, and comfort into a stylish package—and the 2016 BMW X3 is no exception. With room for five passengers, the 2016 X3 is ideal for small families, couples, and singles and boasts a spacious and airy cabin that's a pleasure to ride in. Back-seat passengers enjoy 36.5 inches of legroom and 39.1 inches of headroom to stretch out on long drives. There is also 27.6 cu-ft of cargo volume behind the second row. Leatherette upholstery comes standard, and heated front and rear leather-trimmed seats can be added by choosing one of the 2016 X3's enticing packages.

4. Sleek styling

2016 BMW X3: Exterior of car | CarMax

The 2016 X3 isn't your average utility vehicle. Instead, this SUV's good looks and stylish elegance derive from the BMW 3 Series sedan. A tapered nose and chiseled lines on the hood make a solid first impression, while twin-circular headlights and the classic BMW kidney grille add character. A swooping belt-line draws eyes to the rear of the SUV, which is accentuated with LED-lit taillights. No matter the angle, the 2016 X3 embodies sleek sophistication.

5. Generous standard features

2016 BMW X3: Steering wheel | CarMax

When you choose the 2016 BMW X3, you get a generous amount of standard features. All trims include a 6.5-inch display with Bluetooth® connectivity and an enhanced USB for quick device charging. In addition, dynamic cruise control, which is standard on all X3s, automatically adjusts the SUV's vehicle speed to maintain a proper following distance, while LED fog lights improve visibility in low-light conditions. A standard split fold-down rear seat also provides cargo-carrying versatility, and the included power liftgate makes loading groceries into the trunk very easy.

Similar vehicles

If you're interested in the 2016 BMW X3, you should also check out these similar vehicles from Previous generation years.

Image of Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class

The 2017–2021 Mercedes GLC-Class is a classy luxury compact SUV with the heart of a sports sedan. A turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder comes standard on 2017–2021 models and provides strong acceleration for merging on the highway, or you can opt for the turbocharged 3.0L V6 for extra oomph.

You'll find these standard features on base 2017–2021 GLC-Class trims:

  • 18-inch alloy wheels

  • LED headlights

  • Dual-zone climate control

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Ratings & reliability

Customer ratings

3.8 out of 5

4 customer reviews
Above Average

RepairPal gave the BMW X3 an overall reliability rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars, which RepairPal describes as Above Average. This rating ranks BMW X3 14th out of 16 among Luxury Compact SUVs.

View RepairPal's full rating of the BMW X3

2016 BMW X3 trims

Curious how BMW X3 trims differ? Use our side-by-side vehicle comparison to see the differences and similarities

  • sDrive28i: Includes 18-inch V-spoke light-alloy wheels, a power tailgate, automatic climate control, power-adjustable front seats, a sport-leather steering wheel, and more.

  • xDrive28i: Adds all-wheel drive and hill descent control.

  • xDrive28d: Adds a diesel engine.

  • xDrive35i: Adds 18-inch double-spoke light-alloy wheels, a panoramic moonroof, xenon headlights, adaptive light control, and a Harman Kardon® surround sound system.

2016 BMW X3 FAQ

More about the 2016 BMW X3

Color options

2016 BMW X3: Top colors | CarMax

Exterior colors:

  • Alpine White

  • Black Sapphire Metallic

  • Carbon Black Metallic

  • Deep Sea Blue Metallic

  • Glacier Silver Metallic

  • Jet Black

  • Mineral Silver Metallic

  • Mineral White Metallic

  • Melbourne Red Metallic

  • Space Gray Metallic

  • Sparkling Brown Metallic

Interior colors:

  • Beige

  • Beige/Black

  • Black

  • Ivory White

  • Mocha

  • Oyster

  • Saddle Brown

  • Sand Beige

  • Sand Beige/Black

Interior details

The 2016 BMW X3 interior features two rows of seating for five passengers. Leatherette upholstery comes standard in all trims and leather-trimmed seats are available. Heated front and rear seats are also optional with the Cold Weather Package, which includes a heated steering wheel. With 27.6 cu-ft of cargo volume behind the second row, the 2016 X3 can fit shopping bags or luggage for a weekend getaway. Folding the second row reveals 63.3 cubes. Lastly, your rear-seat passengers will enjoy the 2016 BMW X3's interior space with 36.5 inches of legroom and 39.1 inches of headroom.

Child seat details

The 2016 BMW X3 can fit two car seats in the second row. This includes LATCH car seats, infant car seats, rear-facing convertible car seats, forward-facing convertible car seats, and booster car seats. The 2016 model features two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats and a tether anchor for the rear middle seat. However, the rear middle seat is very narrow and parents and guardians may find that many car seats are too wide to install.


The 2016 BMW X3 sDrive28i comes standard with a 240-hp turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder with an eight-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive. This same engine is found in the xDrive28i, which includes an xDrive all-wheel drive system for all-weather performance. Both the 2016 X3 sDrive28i and the xDrive28i's turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder earn an EPA-estimated 21 mpg city and 28 mpg highway.

Prefer diesel performance? The 2016 X3 xDrive28d uses a 2.0L four-cylinder turbo-diesel that gets an EPA-estimated 27/33 mpg city/highway.
For rapid acceleration, check out the 2016 X3 xDrive35i's 300-hp turbocharged 3.0L inline-six, which covers zero to 60 mph in only 5.3 seconds (according to the manufacturer when new). That's a whole second faster than the sDrive28i and xDrive28i.

Year comparison

2004–2017 BMW X3 (First Generation)

The BMW X3 joined BMW's lineup in 2004 as a smaller version of the X5. In 2013, the X3 received a new base turbocharged four-cylinder and an available turbo six-cylinder with auto stop-start engine technology. A new turbocharged diesel four-cylinder and a motion-activated power liftgate were also unveiled in 2015, along with wireless smartphone charging in 2017.

2018–Present BMW X3 (Second Generation)

The 2018 BMW X3 launched its second-generation with the xDrive30i (with a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder) and the M40i (with a turbocharged 3.0L six-cylinder). Two years later, the PHEV xDrive30e was added and included a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder engine and an electric motor. These powertrains continued into the 2021 model year, and Android Auto smartphone capabilities, lane-departure warning, and blind-spot monitoring also became standard equipment. BMW retired the xDrive30e for 2022, and the turbo six-cylinder engine now has a 48-volt mild hybrid system. The SUV has also received new front and rear styling and a larger optional touchscreen display with a new center console.

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