The Best and Worst BMW X3 Years: A Comprehensive Guide

Are you considering purchasing a BMW X3? This compact, luxurious crossover SUV has been a popular choice since its introduction in 2003, built on the foundation of the BMW 3 Series. To help you make an informed decision, we have compiled a list of the best and worst model years for the BMW X3. Let’s dive in!

The Best and Worst Years For BMW X3 Are:

When it comes to reliability, safety, and consumer satisfaction, some model years of the BMW X3 stand out from the rest. The best and most reliable model years for the BMW X3 are the 2017 and 2020 models. In contrast, the 2013 and 2019 model years have received poor reliability ratings from Consumer Reports.

BMW X3 Front

What BMW X3 Years Are The Most Reliable?

Before purchasing any car, it’s crucial to know its reliability history. Fortunately, we’ve done the research for you. Here are some of the most reliable BMW X3 model years:

2017 BMW X3

The 2017 BMW X3 is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a stylish and reliable luxury SUV. With impressive anticipated dependability scores, the 2017 X3 stands out from previous model years.

According to Consumer Reports, the 2017 model year of the X3 received a reliability rating of 4 out of 5. However, it’s essential to be aware of a few potential concerns, such as safety recalls related to the SUV’s mechanical components and structural integrity. Discuss these concerns with your car salesman before making a purchase.

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In terms of performance, the 2017 X3 offers three trim levels and three engine configurations. While it received praise for having a diesel engine option, there are better options for performance.

Safety-wise, the 2017 BMW X3 is one of the safest vehicles on the road. It received top ratings from both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Although the 2017 X3 doesn’t have many standard high-tech safety features, there are various available options, including back-up cameras, blind-spot monitoring, and adaptive cruise control.

All in all, the 2017 BMW X3 is a top-tier luxury small SUV, offering a stylish cabin, above-average reliability grade, and a powerful engine.

2020 BMW X3

The 2020 BMW X3 is known for its solid build quality and reliability. It features a range of efficient engines, including a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder and a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder.

With its well-crafted interior and comfortable ride, the 2020 X3 is a standout choice. It also comes equipped with advanced safety technology and has received high crash test ratings from organizations like the NHTSA and the IIHS.

Compared to its predecessor, the 2019 model, the 2020 X3 offers improvements such as a more powerful standard engine and the availability of a hybrid powertrain. Despite some reported issues with the infotainment system, the 2020 model year of the X3 is considered more reliable.

Remember, a car’s reliability can vary based on the individual unit, vehicle usage, and maintenance history. To gain a better understanding of a particular car’s reliability, have it inspected by a professional mechanic and review its vehicle history report.

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What BMW X3 Years Should You Avoid?

If you want to steer clear of buying an unreliable BMW X3, here is a list of model years to avoid based on poor reliability records, consumer satisfaction, and vehicle recalls:

2013 BMW X3

The 2013 BMW X3 initially received high safety ratings and was praised for its engaging performance. However, several significant issues began to surface, making it the worst model year according to Car Complaints.

One of the most pressing issues was a damaged timing chain, with over 300 reports to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Engine failures were also a common complaint, with customers experiencing costly repairs amounting to around $6,500.

While the 2013 X3 initially had an excellent reliability rating, Consumer Reports gave it a one out of five anticipated reliability assessment. The engine and drive system received the lowest scores.

It’s worth noting that timing chain failures and the high cost of repairs were common concerns for 2013 X3 owners. Considering the potential for costly maintenance, it may be wise to explore other small luxury SUV options.

2019 BMW X3

The 2019 BMW X3 is a luxury compact SUV known for its performance, comfort, and technology. However, Consumer Reports gave it a below-average predicted reliability rating, citing issues with the power equipment, fuel system, and electrical system.

While it’s important to consider that reliability can vary between vehicles, some owners reported dissatisfaction with the in-car technology, including sporadic performance with Apple CarPlay. Software updates also created more issues for some owners, and there were reports of the X3’s tailgate opening on its own.

Despite these concerns, the 2019 X3 received positive reviews for its handling and performance. It offers a standard turbocharged engine for brisk acceleration and a comfortable ride.

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When considering the 2019 X3, it’s crucial to weigh its below-average predicted reliability and safety ratings against its performance, luxury features, and technology. Research and multiple sources of reviews can help you determine if the X3 is the right fit for your needs.

What Are Some Typical Problems With The BMW X3 Models?

While the BMW X3 offers many appealing features, there are some common problems that you should be aware of before purchasing one. These include engine oil leaks (valve cover and gasket), sunroof rattles and leaks, timing chain guide failure, window rattles and broken regulators, and overheating from radiator and expansion tank leaks.

For a more detailed analysis of these problems, refer to our article about common issues with the BMW X3.

Final Thoughts

The BMW X3 is a luxury SUV that has gained a reputation for its versatility and performance. In direct competition with vehicles like the Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class and the Audi Q5, the BMW X3 delivers a combination of style and functionality.

When it comes to pricing, there isn’t much difference between the BMW X3 and its primary competitors. However, it’s worth noting that the X3’s depreciation rate is higher than its counterparts, resulting in a considerable loss in value after three years of ownership.

Before making a decision, thoroughly research and compare various factors such as reliability, fuel efficiency, and overall cost of ownership. Taking a test drive and consulting multiple sources will give you a better understanding of whether the BMW X3 is the right choice for you.


  • Consumer Reports: BMW X3

Please note that the information provided in this article is based on data from various sources, including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Consumer Reports, and reputable auto review sites. We have analyzed this data to provide insights into the best and worst years for the BMW X3.

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