2023 BMW X3 xDrive20d Business Review
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2023 BMW X3 xDrive20d Business Review

The 2023 BMW X3 has been given a mid-cycle update. Combined with its excellent pricing, can the X3 maintain its lead in the segment?

BMW as a brand is defined by the 3 Series. The compact luxury sedan condenses everything that BMW as a brand is all about, and it’s no surprise that it’s also their global best-seller for most of its history. However, ever since consumers started shifting their preferences towards SUVs and crossovers, the 3 Series’ best-selling status has come under threat by the X3. Now in its facelifted third generation, the 2023 BMW X3 is slowly stealing sales from its sedan sibling, but should you pick the X3 over its rivals from Lexus or Mercedes-Benz?


2023 BMW X3 xDrive20d Business Philippines Review

2023 BMW X3 xDrive20d Business Philippines Review

From a design standpoint, the facelifted 2023 BMW X3 comes with minor but noticeable updates. In fact, they’re quite comprehensive for a Life Cycle Impulse (BMW’s marketing speak for a mid-cycle facelift). The update gives the X3 sleeker headlights, a more rugged front bumper, and new LED taillights whose pincer-like shape is untraditional of BMW’s usual L-shaped graphics. The side profile remains largely the same, though since this is the entry-level xDrive20d Business, the 18-inch wheels fitted to this car look a bit too small. Small wheels aside, the new X3 looks handsome enough but it’s a bit too conservative for our tastes. On the upside, there’s no enormous grille to spook other people, which means that the X3 is about as traditional as any modern BMW could get.


2023 BMW X3 xDrive20d Business Philippines Interior

2023 BMW X3 xDrive20d Business Philippines Interior

Changes to the interior are much more minor compared to its updated sheet metal. The overall dash has been slightly redesigned with new physical controls (thankfully) for the climate as well as a redesigned center console that brings it in line with the rest of the BMW range. Aesthetically, the X3’s interior isn’t as special compared to the likes of the Lexus NX or Mercedes-Benz GLC, but the materials used and the solid tank-like build quality is unparalleled in its segment. The leather seats are of the synthetic variety, but they still feel nice enough and will bode well for buyers who want a vegan interior.

Features and Infotainment

2023 BMW X3 xDrive20d Business Philippines Interior

2023 BMW X3 xDrive20d Business Philippines Interior

Where the 2023 BMW X3 excels is in terms of its cabin tech. iDrive 7, which in this case is housed in a 10.25-inch screen (12.3-inches with Gesture Control for higher variants) is still my absolute favorite infotainment in the industry–even more than the iX’s iDrive 8 since the latter removed most physical controls. The screen still looks fresh to this day and the graphics are sharp as ever. Response times, as well as the great balance between physical and touch controls are second-to-none. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto also come as standard, though we wish it had at least the Harman Kardon sound system of the iX3.

2023 BMW X3 xDrive20d Business Philippines Interior

However, while the Live Cockpit Plus looks nice for what are essentially analog gauges made to look digital, we’d still prefer if it came with the Live Cockpit Professional fully digital screen. The X3 also doesn’t come with any form of advanced driver-assist systems (ADAS) apart from the Parking Assistant self-parking feature. If you want at least automatic emergency braking and lane departure warning, that means stepping up to the iX3. This is where one area we hope locally-sold BMWs could improve on because if an affordable Hyundai Stargazer or Honda BR-V can have a suite of ADAS, then surely a P4 million X3 should as well, right?

Space and Practicality

2023 BMW X3 xDrive20d Business Philippines Interior

The 2023 BMW X3 isn’t just well-built and luxurious, but it’s also plenty practical for everyday use. The driving position up front is absolutely perfect, especially thanks to a wide range of adjustments for the driver. Those seated at the back are treated with a good amount of space, though the driveshaft for the rear-biased all-wheel drive (AWD) system eats into middle-seat legroom somewhat. Rear climate controls, two USB-C ports, and cupholders are the amenities that rear seat passengers can also enjoy.

And then as for cargo capacity, the X3’s 550-liter trunk is impressively large, while folding down the second-row seats increases the figure to 1,600 liters. There’s also underfloor storage since BMW’s insistence on run-flat tires has negated the use of the full-size spare.

Driving Experience 

Residing under the hood of the 2023 BMW X3 xDrive20d Business is a familiar 2.0-liter turbo diesel engine that produces 190 horsepower and 400 Nm of torque. This engine has powered a plethora of BMWs already and even to this day, it’s one of my favorite diesel engines, period. Power delivery, as with every BMW, is linear and punches throughout the rev range. Whether it’s overtaking on two-lane provincial roads or left-lane hoggers on expressways, there’s no shortage of smooth, linear power from the X3’s diesel motor. The eight-speed automatic made by ZF is likewise one of my absolute favorite transmissions. There’s a reason why many premium brands choose it and it’s because it’s the closest anyone could get to a perfect transmission.

Matching that sublime drivetrain is a chassis that offers a nice balance between comfort and BMW’s famed sporty handling. The comfort part is particularly great because, unlike most BMWs, the suspension tuning in the X3 skews more towards offering a controlled ride. A Mercedes-Benz GLC offers a more delicate ride, but the X3’s suspension manages to balance it with sporty handling. Body roll is well controlled and the steering is sharp, though road feel is a bit lacking compared to past BMWs. Yes, the Porsche Macan practically defines the segment in terms of sportiness, but as mentioned, the X3 shines in its ability to balance comfort and handling.

The stiff body structure and thick sound insulation also mean that this is a car that’s at home at triple-digit speeds. Road and wind noise is so muted, while its high-speed stability is basically something that only German luxury cars can achieve. Where it also leads the way is in terms of efficiency. Averaging at more than 14 km/l over a week’s worth of use despite having this much performance makes the BMW X3 an excellent all-rounder. Sporty? Check. Comfortable? Absolutely. Fuel efficient? You bet!


2023 BMW X3 xDrive20d Business Philippines Review

The 2023 BMW X3 continues the German luxury automaker’s long tradition of engineering vehicles that provide a great balance of comfort, sportiness, and everyday usability. And since this is in a body style that’s currently in vogue, then we wouldn’t be surprised if the X3 eventually overtakes the 3 Series to become BMW’s global best-seller. However, should you pick this over its rivals?

The X3 xDrive20d Business we’re driving here retails for P3,990,000, which makes it one of the most affordable in its segment apart from the base version of the Lexus NX 350h. While the base X3 is well-equipped in terms of the luxury and creature comforts, it does fall short when it comes to ADAS, which its Lexus rival offers as standard. Lack of ADAS aside, there’s a reason why the X3 is very popular, and it’s because it fundamentally provides an unparalleled driving experience that luxury buyers tend to look more into.

More Photos

2023 BMW X3 xDrive20d Business Philippines Review

2023 BMW X3 xDrive20d Business Philippines Interior

Pricing and Rating

Exterior Design: ★★★★☆
Interior Design: ★★★★☆
Space and Practicality: ★★★★★
Features: ★★★★☆
Safety and Driver Assistance: ★★★☆☆
Acceleration: ★★★★★
Handling: ★★★★★
Comfort: ★★★★★
Fuel Efficiency: ★★★★★
Value For Money: ★★★★☆

Price: P3,990,000*

Overall: 4.4 out of 5

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