2012 BMW X3 Comfort & Quality

9.0
Comfort & Quality

Larger inside, on a longer wheelbase, the new X3 can seat five passengers more comfortably than in previous editions. The current model is 3.4 inches longer, 0.5 inches taller, 1.1 inches wider, and clears the road an inch higher than the last-generation crossover.

The upsizing means the X3 is no longer middling in terms of size. The firm, properly angled front seats are surrounded by copious head and leg room. Second-row passengers have even more space--it's where the added length is most noticeable, and where the X3 takes the lead over vehicles like the Q5 and GLK Class. The back seats have room carved out for feet, under the front seat, and head room soars. No theater-style seats here, though--and that makes the X3 a better ride for back-benchers, since the higher ride height can make some other utes less comfortable in sporty driving.

Superb details and excellent fit and finish make the X3's larger interior all that.
With seating for five, the X3 also now has a large 19-cubic-foot rear storage area that swells to 56.6 cubic feet when the rear seats are folded down. The rear seats split 60:40, or optionally, in 40:20:40 segments for better flexibility. The cargo area itself is lovingly detailed, with rich carpet, some of the most refined seatback latches we've ever seen, and metal cargo rails with zero tolerance for poor fit.

Overall, the new X3 is so much more sophisticated in design and execution, especially inside, that it renders the prior X3 generations into early used-car oblivion. Who would want dark, hard, plasticky controls in a two-year-old, off-lease X3 when this version's innards are silky as pate?

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