BMW X3 (2004 – 2010) Review

BMW X3 (2004 – 2010) At A Glance


+Strong BMW image. Reasonable roadholding for a 4x4. Plenty of safety kit and electronic driver aids.

-Extremely firm ride. Not much smaller than an X5 but nowhere near as classy. High incidence of turbo failures on 2.0 N47 diesel.

Insurance Groups are between 30–42
On average it achieves 83% of the official MPG figure

Reviewers generally underwhelmed at launch. Some found it hard to understand why BMW had launched a second SUV, just a bit smaller than the X5 but with much less appealing trim, almost as if it had been deliberately downgraded.

If you're looking for the newer version, you need our BMW X3 review.

Car seat chooser

Child seats that fit a BMW X3 (2004 – 2010)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

Real MPG average for a BMW X3 (2004 – 2010)


Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

16–45 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

Satisfaction Index

Satisfaction Index What is your car like to live with?

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Ask Honest John

We bought a faulty 2006 BMW X3 - does the dealer need to refund us if he won't fix it?

"We bought a 2006 BMW X3 six weeks ago. It recently lost power while my wife was driving and it whines when accelerating. I called the dealership where we got it from and then took it to them to look at. They gave us a car while it was in the garage. Nearly two weeks later they haven’t even looked at the car. Yesterday they asked for that car back and replaced it with an awful car, which is so bad that my wife refuses to drive it. Where do we stand with our rights to ask for our money back?"
By taking the X3 back for repair, the dealer has admitted it was either faulty or developing the fault prior to your purchase, so he is legally liable either to repair it or refund your money. Write him a letter stating this and if he does not respond immediately, either with a full refund, or with a car equivalent to the X3 to drive while he carries out the repairs, that you intend to take him to Small Claims under Clegg v Olle Andersson (trading as Nordic Marine) House of Lords 2003. Send the letter by Post Office Special delivery, keep a copy, and staple the certificate of posting to the copy so it becomes a Matter of Record for the Court. If you get no response, carry out your threat, bearing in mind that the case could take time and that on getting ruling in your favour you immediately need to purchase a High Court Sheriff's Order to enforce it against the dealer's assets. Then you have to hope he has some.
Answered by Honest John

BMW X3 triad of lights, 4X4, ABS and Brake

"I have a 2006 BMW X3 2.0d sport, bought through finance. I've had it since 2014, but since the DPF issue I seldom use it. In the first quarter of 2015, I used it on a long run but noticed an intermittent appearance of the 4x4, ABS and brake lights. Most annoying is the sound of knocking at the back when you turn the wheel. I know this is a common but does this problem just happen immediately or it is a gradual thing? I told my finance company that at the point of sale there was already a problem and it only manifested during my ownership of the car. How do I convince them of my explanation?"
If you buy something on finance it is not automatically warranted by the finance company. This reads as if the 4WD centre clutch is failing, probably due to a disparity between the tyres that it will detect as slippage and that will eventually wear the system out.
Answered by Honest John

Faulty used car - what are my rights?

"I recently bought a second hand BMW X3 from a Vauxhall dealership. It's a 2008 model, with 50,000 miles and full service history. Within the first week of ownership I had problems with the tyre monitoring sensor, glow plugs, EGR valve, oil sensor. Water was also leaking into the boot and rear near side footwell. I took the car back and after chasing them up after two days I was told they'd handed it over to a BMW specialist. The car is still with them and more than a week has passed and the dealer says they haven't fixed it. What is my legal standing and how do I make sure they fix the car properly and give it back ASAP? I paid £11,000 for it and deliberately went to a main dealer to avoid the precise problems I'm now experiencing. "
This is completely unacceptable, especially under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. Simply reject the car for a full cash refund and start again:
Answered by Honest John

Is it possible to change the oil and filter on an auto box?

"Is it possible to change the oil and filter on a 2004 BMW X3 auto box? What would the advantages be if any? Mileage is 83,000. "
It is possible for a member of who has a dialysis machine and can change it at precisely the right temperature and pressure. It is not a DIY job and even attempting a DIY job could wreck the transmission.
Answered by Honest John
More Questions

What does a BMW X3 (2004 – 2010) cost?