Auto Express Test: BMW X3 vs new competitors

BMW X3 | May 4th, 2016 by 3
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We know that the BMW X3 is due for a replacement soon, as the Bavarian mid-size SUV is getting a bit long in the tooth. …

We know that the BMW X3 is due for a replacement soon, as the Bavarian mid-size SUV is getting a bit long in the tooth. But while it’s still around, it’ll have to compete with some much younger blood in the segment, specifically British blood. Two of the newest SUVs in the segment come from Land Rover and Jaguar, with the Discovery Sport and the F-Pace, respectively. The latter car is by far the newest car in the segment and is the very first SUV from Jaguar. So how does the old-dog BMW X3 compare to some of the newest competitors in the segment? Auto Express brought them together to find out.

All three SUVs in this test were equipped with 2.0 liter diesel engines, the BMW’s producing 190 hp and the other two making 178 hp, as they both use the same Ingenium engine. So, despite being the oldest engine in the test, the BMW’s 2.0 liter diesel is the best and most powerful, making the X3 the quickest from 0-60 mph. It also has the best-built and most high-quality interior, although it is getting quite old looking. However, that’s sort of where the X3 stops leading the pack.

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The BMW X3 used to always be the best handling SUV in its class, but that title now belongs to the Jaguar F-Pace. Jaguar has been on a role lately, pumping out some genuinely great handling cars and the F-Pace is no different. It’s actually quite fun to drive, more so than an SUV probably should be. It’s 2.0 liter diesel, while underpowered, actually provides some decent thrills, but it’s better off with the 3.0 liter Supercharged V6. It can even handle some off-roady bits, thanks to some Land Rover DNA being mixed with its own.

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While those two are great all-around SUVs, the Land Rover Disco Sport is the only one of the three with actual off-roading chops. The little Disco will surprise many people with its capabilities and could give real fright to something like Jeep Wrangler. It’s the slowest car in the test, but that can be forgiven for its better utility. It has the most cargo space and is the only one of the three with an available third row. It’s also fun to drive, as well, but it has somewhat of a poor ride quality, likely due to its off-road gear.


We’ve seen couple of recent comparisons between the X3 and the Discovery Sport, along with other SUVs and the ‘Rover always takes the victory. However, this time around the Land Rover is finally dethroned. Except it’s not the BMW X3 that does it, it’s the Jaguar F-Pace. According to Auto Express, the F-Pace is the best combination of fun-to-drive dynamics, comfort, practicality and some decent utility. While the F-Pace can’t match the Land Rover for off-road prowess, it’s better to drive, quicker and more comfortable. This means that the BMW X3 comes a distant third. While there’s still a lot to like with the X3, despite its age, it can’t hide its years anymore. Its engine is still a gem and its still a great all-rounder, but it’s just a bit too old to compete in this segment.