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If you’re in the market for a small BMW SUV but have a budget cap of around $25,000, you’re out of luck at a dealership unless you look at the used car lot. The good news is that several BMW X3 model years present budget-friendly options. Let’s look at the top five used luxury compact BMW X3 SUV model years as ranked by one reputable automotive resource. 

The best used BMW X3 model years

U.S. News published a list of 82 of the “Best Used Luxury Compact SUVs under $25K for 2023.” We singled out the BMW X3 and found that nine model years made the list, with all except one in the upper half. Starting from the lowest-ranked 2011 X3 at No. 42 and working our way up the list, we find the 2014 model in at No. 34, the 2010 in at No. 24, and the 2017 in at No. 20. Higher up, let’s take a closer look at the top five ranked X3 model years.

2009 BMW X3

A white 2009 BMW X3 compact luxury SUV model covered in dust and dirt from driving on rocks and gravel
2009 BMW X3 | BMW Group

The 2009 BMW X3, the oldest model on the list, tied at No. 2 with the 2012 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class. U.S. News calls the 2009 X3 “one of the sportiest 2009 compact SUVs available” and recommends it for “driving enthusiasts.” 

With an average used price of $8,298 in 2023, the all-wheel drive (AWD) luxury compact SUV features a 260-hp inline six-cylinder engine that gets 16 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway when equipped with the optional manual transmission. Fuel economy rises slightly with the automatic transmission to 17 city mpg and 24 highway mpg. 

2013 BMW X3

The 2013 BMW X3 tied with the 2011 Acura RDX at No. 4 on the list. Among the 2013 X3’s list of strengths are its “great safety ratings, pleasant ride and handling, and robust engine performance.” Average used prices in 2023 range from $13,960 to $15,358, depending on the model, condition, and location. 

Two turbocharged engine options include the xDrive28i’s 240-horsepower I4 and the xDrive35is 300-hp I6. Both engine options feature an eight-speed automatic transmission and AWD. The I4 powertrain gets an EPA-estimated 21 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, and the I6 drops to 19 city mpg and 26 highway mpg.

2012 BMW X3

There’s a six-way tie at No. 8 on the list between the 2012, 2015, and 2016 BMW X3 model years, 2009 and 2012 Acura RDX models, and the 2014 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class. The 2012 X3 features two engine options, sporty handling, and a comfortable ride, with used prices ranging from $12,622 to $13,960.

The base model 2012 X3 iDrive28i includes a 258-hp naturally aspirated I6, and the X3 xDrive35i uses a 306-hp turbocharged I6, each paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Reviewers found the base engine’s power adequate for everyday driving. Still, some felt it sluggish from a stop and the power delivery harsh at higher RPMs, leading the majority to prefer the turbocharged powerplant’s “effortless acceleration.” The base X3 gets an EPA-estimated 19 city mpg and 25 highway mpg, while the turbo gets a 1 mpg better highway estimate. 

2015 BMW X3

The 2015 BMW X3 received an exterior style refresh and a turbodiesel engine option. Reviewers still found the X3’s handling, fuel economy, and interior space enjoyable, but used prices continue to climb. For 2023, average prices for a used 2015 X3 range from $19,826 to $22,287.

The 2015 X3 features a choice between rear-wheel drive (RWD) and AWD, along with a selection of engines. The base X3 sDrive28i features RWD and a 240-hp turbocharged I4 that gets an estimated 21 city mpg and 28 highway mpg. The best fuel economy comes with the AWD xDrive28d’s 180-hp turbodiesel I4 at 27 city mpg and 33 highway mpg. The most powerful option is the AWD 300-hp turbocharged I6 equipped xDrive35i, but it gets the worst fuel economy at 19 city mpg and 26 highway mpg. 

2016 BMW X3

The 2016 BMW X3 offers the same features as the 2015 model, as confirmed by U.S. News, noting “no major changes” for 2016. The only real change for the 2016 model is that used prices climbed, so 2023 prices range between $22,620 and $27,534. 

Is it worth buying a used BMW X3?

If a luxury compact SUV fits your needs and you like the look and feel of driving a BMW, a used BMW X3 is an excellent choice. The used BMW X3 lineup listed here offers a range of powerful engines, thrifty fuel economy, and spirited handling in a package with plenty of space for passengers and cargo.

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