Packaging is where the 2014 X3 makes a lot of sense. At about 183 inches long and 74 inches wide, with a wheelbase of 110.6 inches, it has a footprint that's at the large end of compact, among U.S. cars, while its added height gives it roominess and usefulness as an all-purpose family conveyance.
The X3 makes good use of that space, with firm, properly angled front seats 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.
With seating for five, the X3 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 now all have a ski pass-through and 40:20:40 segments for better flexibility and seatback folding. In back, there's space carved out for feet, under the front seat, and head room soars. We recommend the sport seats in front for their extendable thigh bolsters and more aggressive side bolstering; they may feel firmer at first but they're better in long-distance support.
Throughout the cabin, BMW has paid close attention to the details. 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. Moving forward, all the materials from the middle of the doors on up are soft-touch, with really nice-looking grains, and the net effect is that the cabin has a muted ambiance that helps soak up harsh sounds both from conversations inside the car and, we suspect from the outside.
Ride quality is firm, and you do hear the mechanical sounds of the four-cylinder engine a bit at idle, but road and wind noise are mostly sealed out.