In-depth reviews

BMW X3 review - Reliability and safety

Top notch NCAP results, but BMW makes you pay extra for some of the best safety tech

The latest BMW X3 was awarded a top five-star rating when it was independently crash-tested by Euro NCAP. Adult occupant safety of 93 per cent was one of the more impressive results, and the 84 per cent awarded for child occupant safety is pretty good too.

Aside from its solid structural integrity and a full complement of airbags, there’s a great deal of latest generation safety tech available on the BMW X3. Disappointingly though, the company charges extra for many features such as active cruise control, lane departure assistance and cross traffic alerts. This safety kit is broken down into two separate packages - Driving Assistant and Driving Assistant Plus at £670 and £1,750, respectively. Other safety options include a ‘wrong way’ warning that tells you if you’re about to enter a one-way street from the wrong end. All impressive stuff, but we’d like to see BMW being a little more generous on what is already a pretty expensive car.

BMW has not achieved good scores in our Driver Power customer satisfaction survey in recent years. In 2020, the company placed 27th out of 30 manufacturers, with a concerning number of customers reporting a problem with their cars in the first 12 months of ownership. In 2019, the result was an equally disappointing 25th out of 30 brands, still with a higher-than-average proportion of BMW's (22.3%) having experienced a fault. The latest 2021 poll saw a slight improvement, with BMW finishing 21st out of 29 brands, while the X3 was in 61st spot (out of 75) in the Best cars to own survey.


You get three-year warranty cover with unlimited mileage on all BMW models including the X3, which is pretty much par for the course in the premium brand sector. Unless you buy an Audi Q5, which has unlimited mileage cover for years one and two, but has a 60,000-mile warranty limit that comes into play at year three.


The BMW X3’s onboard computers determine when you need to take your car in for servicing and maintenance, based on how you use it. It’s a good idea in theory, but in practice owners have appeared quite critical of the servicing costs when responding to our Driver Power satisfaction survey.

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