Used BMW X3 (Mk2, 2010-2017) review - How practical is it?

Interior space and equipment levels are overall very good, though the extensive options list means used X3 Mk2 specs can vary considerably

The BMW X3 Mk2 is a worthwhile choice if you’re after a practical premium used SUV. There are good amounts of interior space, and versatility is improved further still by the car’s decent standard equipment levels and impressive boot capacity. Equipment levels across used examples can differ quite a bit between cars, though, as the BMW X3 Mk2 was available from new with a vast array of optional extras and equipment packages.

Dimensions and cabin design 

The BMW X3 Mk2 measured in at 4,657mm long, 2,089mm wide and 1,678mm tall, which meant it was on par with many of its chief competitors at the time. It also took about roughly the same amount of space on the road as a BMW 3 Series saloon, though the X3 is noticeably taller due to factors like its higher ride height.

Aided by the car’s fairly boxy shape, the BMW X3 Mk2 fares pretty well in the practicality stakes. There’s lots of head room on offer all around, and the assortment of cubby spots like the large door bins and decent-sized glovebox give you a number of options when storing personal items. Getting in and out is made more straightforward by the large and wide-opening doors, too.

If there’s a fly in the X3 Mk2’s practicality ointment, it regards the rear seat leg room. While there’s plenty of it on offer for passengers in the two outer seats, the broad transmission tunnel that runs down the middle of the car means the person in the central rear seat won’t have as much space as the people on their flanks.

Unlike some other cars in this class, the BMW X3 Mk2 was only available as a five-seater car. As a result, if you need a bit more seating flexibility, you may be better off with something like a Land Rover Discovery Sport, or a more mainstream option such as a Skoda Kodiaq or Kia Sorento.

Boot space

Like the main cabin, the boot is also pretty big on the BMW X3 Mk2. The 550-litres capacity is impressively large by class standards, and means the BMW has a bigger load area than many contemporary rivals such as the Audi Q5 and Porsche Macan. Folding down the rear seats increases the load area to 1,600 litres, which while not a class-leading figure (a Land Rover Discovery Sport has up to 1,698 litres on offer), is still plenty. Do bear in mind the 40:20:40 split-folding rear seat arrangement was only ever available as an optional extra on the BMW X3 Mk2, so keep an eye on the specs of the car you’re looking at if you really need this feature.

Equipment and technology

Like many BMWs of the time, a huge amount of equipment was available on the X3 Mk2 as optional extras, though that didn’t mean the standard car was devoid of kit. All models came with a 6.5-inch infotainment display, cruise control, dual-zone climate control and Bluetooth connectivity. The 2014 facelift added heated front seats and an automatic tailgate to the spec sheet, and from 2015 onwards built-in sat nav was a standard feature on the X3 Mk2 range. 

Equipment levels remained consistent across all of the trim levels, with most of the changes on higher grades being cosmetic touches. For instance, the xLine trim level primarily had a sporty steering wheel design and larger 18-inch wheels over the 17-inch items on the entry-level SE grade. Range-topping M Sport models threw into the mix extra bolstering on the front seats, a new ‘Sport+’ driving mode, a more aggressive bodykit and larger-still 19-inch wheels.

The kit list can be expanded even further, depending on what options were specified when the car was new. If you’re not the best at parking in tighter spots, it may be worth looking for a car that was fitted with the optional surround-view parking camera setup, and other handy optional features include the 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats, the head-up display unit and the adaptive damper system that can help add a bit of compliance to the car’s firmer ride.


The BMW X3 Mk2 had good safety credentials, according to the Euro NCAP assessment body that tested the car in 2011. It awarded the BMW the full five-star rating overall, and the X3 Mk2 performed very well in the adult occupant (88%), child occupant (83%) and safety technology (71%) categories. The blot on the X3’s safety record was for pedestrian protection, where it was awarded a middling 53%.

All BMW X3 Mk2s come as standard with a decent selection of safety features, such as a complement of six airbags, stability control, tyre-pressure monitoring, front and rear parking sensors and windscreen wipers that can automatically activate when it starts raining. A huge array of optional safety features was also offered on the BMW X3 Mk2 when it was new, and included a head-up display unit, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring and a speed-limit-warning system, to name but a few gadgets and gizmos.

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