Review: 2013 BMW X3 Compact SUV

In a market awash with luxury compact SUVs these days, it’s hard to believe the BMW X3 has been around since 2003, making its US premiere in 2013 at the New York Auto Show. Dubbed the premium “Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV)” by the German marque, the 2013 X3 got a new engine and was the last of its kind before a mid-generation facelift in 2014.

Overall, the 2013 BMW X3 is a decent, versatile 5-door transporter in the luxury compact segment, featuring a refined powertrain and innovative amenities. Here’s a look at its performance, new features, X3 interior, safety, and specs.

For a full review with driving impressions, check out Andrew Wendler’s 2013 X3 review on Car&Driver.

Powertrains and Performance

There were 2 main engine types used on the 2013 BMW X3 SAV (Sports Activity Vehicle), namely the N20 and the N55. The first is a 2.0L 4-cylinder offering up to 241 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, the second is a 3.0L inline-6 ​​offering up to 300 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque. couple. Both of these transmissions are mated to an 8-speed automatic. The 6-cylinder engine was added to the lineup in 2013 replacing the turbocharged 4-cylinder version.

The 2013 X3’s fuel efficiency typically managed around 11.7 L/100 km (20 mpg) in the city and around 8.7 L/100 km (27 mpg) on ​​the highway, all achieved with an AWD transmission. This was part of what made the model so popular at the time, and it was even rated by some agencies as the best SAV/SUV of that particular model year.

On the road, the 2013 BMW X3 was praised for its athletic and nimble handling abilities, but it still lacked the much-improved BMW infotainment systems that came in later model years. The engines gave it strong, snappy power when accelerating, and the suspension allowed it to be maneuvered around tight corners and across different surfaces with ease and comfort.

New features

The BMW X3 received a mid-generation facelift in 2014, so the 2013 X3 was the last pre-facelift model available. The 2013 model received 2 notable improvements over the previous model year, namely it received a power tailgate as a standard feature, and lane departure warning became available in the ADAS suite.

Although it missed out on many additional new features offered to it in the 2014 model year, being the last pre-facelift model now allows buyers to get a lot out of what was still a well developed vehicle at the time.

BMW X3 interior and styling

The 2013 BMW X3 is a 5-seater car, and even back then offered well-contoured seats and a good amount of legroom. The rear had two sets of child seat LATCH connectors, which was one of the reasons it was popular as a family car choice. A small weakness in the interior design was that while the size of the windshield and the position of the driver’s seat allowed an unobstructed view of the road, the rear window was thinner and reduced overall visibility.

Unfortunately, the 2013 model lacked a few interior features that the X3 received in the following model year after getting a facelift. These included automatic climate control, gloss black panels and a sliding cover on the center console, additional cupholders and new upholstery options.

Fast forward, the 2022 BMW X3 finds slimmer headlights, a larger grille, reshaped front bumpers with triangular-shaped vertical air intakes, in addition to redesigned rear bumpers and taillights compared to the previous version.


One of the main performance areas that elevated the 2013 BMW X3’s position in the eyes of buyers was its safety rating. The US Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave it a “Top Safety Pick” rating in 2013 and achieved excellent results in all 4 major test areas. Additional safety features include front and rear parking sensors, rear view camera, optional driver’s head-up display, adaptive pivoting headlights and overhead view camera.

BMW X3 2013 technical data sheet

  • Base (MSRP): CA$42,450
  • Price as tested: $50,000
  • Options include: Premium Package ($3,600); technology group (2200); BMW Application Group (300); through the loading system (200); SiriusXM satellite radio tuner (450); Metallic paint (800)
  • Engine: 3.5 liter V6 3498 cc
  • Maximum power: 260 hp at 6,400 rpm
  • Torque – peak: 240 hp at 4,400
  • Transmission: CVT
  • Limited Slip Differential: No
  • Drivetrain: all-wheel drive
  • Suspension: MacPherson Stut front and Multi-Link Independent rear
  • Brakes: 4-wheel ventilated disc brakes
  • ABS: yes
  • Tyres: 235/65R18
  • Wheelbase: 2900mm
  • Length: 5008mm
  • Empty weight: 1987 kg
  • Passenger volume: 4468 liters
  • Fuel capacity: 73 liters
  • Fuel consumption: 9.5 city; highway 7.0; 8.3 combined
  • Towing capacity: 2,268 kg
  • Payload capacity: 695 kg
  • Exterior colour: Sparkle Bronze Metallic
  • Interior color: Black leatherette