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BMW X1 or X3? It’s a tougher call today. The BMW X series of SUVs have taken hold as the brand’s most popular vehicles. Forget the 3, 5, or 7 series cars. The company’s SUVs in X1 to X7 models are where it’s at. But now that there’s a new compact on the block, the new BMW X1 xDrive28i, does the BMW X3 still have what it takes to be a sales leader?

The new BMW X1 promises more utility

2023 BMW x1 grew a bit and has more sport and more utility.
2023 BMW X1 | BMW

BMW has made the X1 since 2009 and the X3 since 2004, but the X3 went through a major update for 2022 after being all-new for 2018.  BMWs are known as performance vehicles. SUVs, however, are graded on their utility as much as their performance. The X1 is small. It can hold 57.2 cubic feet of stuff behind the rear seats. That’s not going to beat a Yukon, but it does beat the 2023 Audi Q3 and the 2023 Porsche Macan. The new BMW X1 is also wider and longer than the previous generation, and it’s now closer in size to the X3, even though it’s now the cheapest BMW SUV you can buy.

Thanks to similar styling that maximizes room, the X3 holds 62.7 cubic feet of stuff, which is more than other compact SUVs. It also has several cubby holes all over the cabin for you to put smaller items. Both BMW X1 or X3 seat five people in comfort.

Consumer Reports recommends the X3

a 2022 BMW X3 is bigger than an X1 but not by much.
2022 BMW X3 | BMW

Consumer Reports recommends the X3 as an SUV, it has not tested the new 2023 X1. The magazine did not recommend the previous version of the X1, however. J.D. Power gave the previous generation of the X1 all average ratings and it ranked 5th against its competitors. So, it was time to update the X1. The X3 on the other hand got “great” ratings from J.D. Power and while it ranks only No. 4 on J.D. Power’s list of competitors, the scores are a lot closer.

How do the trim levels compare on the BMW X1 and X3

2023 BMW X1 interior is refreshed for 2023.
2021 BMW X1 interior | BMW

In 2023 there are a number of new off-road packages offered on SUVs, but not for BMW. Instead, these two focus on on-road comfort because BMW expects you to use these two small Bimmers for grocery runs, shopping, and commuting, not off-roading. BMW is launching the X1 in two model versions, the XDrive28i for $39,595 and a more expensive M Sport, but we’re expecting more versions and trim levels to come soon. The 2023 BMW X1 has a 241-horsepower four-cylinder. The x in xDrive means that it comes with an all-wheel drive system.

The X3 comes in four versions; the $43,700 X3 sDrive30i and the $45,700 X3 xDrive30i are the same SUV with a turbocharged four-cylinder but the sDrive is the two-wheel-drive version, while the x denotes an all-wheel drive.  Step up to the turbocharged six-cylinder in the X3 M40i for $57,800 and the X3 M top performance edition is $70,100. Three years of scheduled maintenance is covered on any 2023 BMW X3 or X5.

Of course, they both come in M Sport trim

Blue 2022 BMW X3 M is fast, but expensive. The BMW X1 or BMW X3 can be ordered in M trim.
2022 BMW X3 M | BMW

It seems like no BMW these days can escape the M treatment. The motorsports arm of BMW can’t keep its hands off any BMW, and the X1 is no different. The new M Sport Package adds new wheels, adaptive suspension, sport seats, and a steering wheel with paddle shifters. The X3 M Sport, however, comes with all of that but also a 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline six-cylinder engine with 503 horsepower and an eight-speed automatic that launch the X3 to 60 miles per hour in a blistering 3.7 seconds. It’s not cheap though at $70,100.

The BMW X1 or BMW X3 will have stiff competiton

The X1 and X3 also also have to compete with the Audi Q3 SUV.
Audi Q3 | AUDI AG

It will face The X1 faces stiff competition, especially from its German rivals like the Audi Q3 and Mercedes Benz GLA, as well as other luxury brands’ small offerings like the Jaguar E-Pace, Lexus UX, Volvo XC40, and the Mini Cooper Countryman, which shares the same platform. Yes, BMW owns Mini and many of the little cars’ components are shared with BMWs


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