Generous standard equipment means that the BMW X3 looks very competitively priced against rivals such as the Audi Q5 and Volvo XC60. Of course, as is always the case with a BMW, the options list is full of seductive – and pricey – extras.
You can decide whether you want some of the dynamic options that are so prevalent across the whole BMW range these days. The variable damper control system will give you a choice of ride/body control options, while Servotronic steering and variable-ratio sports steering will combine to make the helm feel considerably sharper. In our view, they’re not entirely necessary on an SUV; even without them, the X3 rides and handles better than most rivals.
The majority of buyers are likely to go for the eight-speed automatic gearbox, especially as it doesn’t bring any economy penalty (on the xDrive20d, at least), but, beyond that, the X3 will need to be specified carefully to keep its price advantage.
On the plus side, residual values are strong; BMW predicts that the car will retain 43 per cent of its original value after three years. We think that might even be a bit conservative.
Best of all, its impressively low CO2 emissions will make it popular with company drivers. Whatever engine you choose, emissions keep VED and BIK rates down and, while you're unlikely to hit the official economy averages, you should get decently close, in our experience.