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BMW X3 interior, tech and comfort

2017 onwards (change model)
Comfort rating: 3.8 out of 53.8

Written by Luke Wilkinson Published: 3 April 2023 Updated: 20 April 2023

  • Excellent infotainment system
  • Very impressive build quality
  • Supportive seats, good driving position

How is the quality and layout?

We like the BMW X3’s cabin. It isn’t as flash a Mercedes GLC, but it’s been screwed together with greater care. Its switchgear is much sturdier than the GLC’s and BMW’s engineers have done a better job of moving cheap materials out of your wingspan. That makes the X3 feel more expensive, even though both cars cost about the same.

The level of standard equipment boosts your perception of quality. Even the most basic X3 comes with heated seats, three-zone climate control, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror and a multifunction steering wheel trimmed in soft leather.

BMW X3 review (2023): dashboard and infotainment system, black upholstery
The X3’s interior feels sturdy and it’s packed with high-quality materials.

It’s well-organised, too. The seating position is bang-on, and there’s more reach adjustment in the steering column than your average SUV which means you never need to over-stretch for the wheel. BMW’s iDrive system works well, too. You can operate the infotainment system using a rotary dial on the centre console which means, once you’ve learned where the menus are, you spend less time looking at the screen. As we’ll now explain.

Infotainment and tech

Every version of the BMW X3 features a 12.3-inch infotainment system and a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster. The former unit can be operated with touch inputs, BMW’s iDrive dial on the centre console, voice commands and even gesture control (although the latter feature is an optional extra).

We like the amount of choice the system gives you, but our favourite method of interacting with the screen is with the iDrive dial. It only takes a couple of minutes to get to grips with the system – and because you don’t need to take your eyes off the road and focus on a tiny point on the touchscreen, we reckon it’s much safer to use on the move.

BMW X3 review (2023): infotainment screen, black upholstery
BMW’s iDrive infotainment dial makes operating the screen a breeze on the move.

BMW’s graphics and processors are right at the top end of the market, as well. There’s no lag, even when switching between Android Auto/Apple CarPlay and BMW’s own infotainment software. It’s eons ahead of the ponderous Volkswagen Group systems. What’s more, the system is always running on the latest software, because every version of the X3 comes with a built-in data connection and over-the-air updates.


  • Suspension is firm, but not harsh
  • Seats offer plenty of support
  • Plug-in model is the quietest

The BMW X3’s optional adaptive suspension system is on the sporty side, but it doesn’t rattle your fillings out. Comfort mode is very well damped, but even Sport mode doesn’t batter you senseless – and you can forgive the stiffer ride for the improved body control and better cornering ability. And besides, it’s a BMW. You can’t expect the same pillowy ride as an air-sprung Volvo XC60.

BMW’s seats help a lot with comfort levels. They’re well-shaped, highly adjustable and offer plenty of support. The amount of space in the cabin helps, too – our 6ft 1in-tall tester found knee-room and headroom to spare in the rear behind a similarly sized driver. As an option, the rear seats can recline for additional comfort, but there’s no seven-seat version. You’ll need the BMW X5 for a full-size SUV with room for two extra passengers or a bigger boot.

Road noise is unavoidable, especially on the more expensive M-badged variants with their huge 21-inch alloy wheels. BMW offers a solution, though – acoustic glass. This was an optional extra on previous versions of the SUV, but now it’s fitted as standard. That’s a good thing because it drowns out almost all wind noise at motorway speeds and dampens the worst of the diesel engine’s rattle.