Skip to main content

The BMW X SUVs and SACs can be super confusing. The X1, X2, X3, X4, X5, X6 and X7 are all related, but they’re different SUVs and crossovers, or “coupes,” and each is a variation on a theme. For 2023 the X1 is all new and it brings some updated styling and more utility. But the X1 and X3 are the sales leaders because they offer M performance trims and great driving dynamics. Basically, the odd-numbered BMW Xs are what BMW calls Sports Activity Vehicles, while the more-expensive even-numbered versions are SACs or Sports Activity Coupes and they’re more like sedans or wagons.

What is the cheapest BMW SUV model?

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 at $35,400.

BMW launched the X2 in 2017 as a 2018 model and it’s a shorter and lower version of the previous generation of X1. The biggest differences between the BMW X1 and BMW X2 are the coupe-style roofline and slim windows. BMW also offers a front-wheel-drive 2022 X2 sDrive28i model for $36,000.

The X3 and X4 are medium-sized utility vehicles that bring utility and performance

The X3 and X4 share the same chassis and engine. Consumer Reports recommends the X3 for its utility and driving dynamics. The X3 SUV seats five and starts at $45,400 in front-wheel-drive trim. It has a useful 62.7 cubic feet of storage space, which is more than others in its class, and it can be ordered in M trim levels that make it a seriously-quick SUV, or SAV.

BMW calls the X4 a Sports Activity Coupe, but you can think of it as the car-like version of the X3. It comes standard with the M Sport suspension, so it handles a little bit differently than the SUV. You do pay a slight penalty in rear storage with the X4, however, and it has about an inch less legroom in the rear than the X3. It starts at $51,800.

Is the BMW X5 a crossover or SUV?

Of the even-numbered Xs, the X6 SAC has the most dramatic styling difference from the SUV. You can think of the X6 as the less practical, more expensive, but cooler-looking X5. Either seat the X5 or X6 seats five, but a third-row is optional on the X5. The two have the same chassis and engines, but the X6 has more squared-off fenders and more scoops on the front end that give it a sportier look. The X5 starts at $61,600 while the X6 starts at $67,350.

Like in the X4, you do pay a price when it comes to storage. The X6’s sloping roof cuts into the cargo bay a bit. But the X5 and X6 can be ordered in several trims options that aren’t available on the smaller SUVs (or SAVs). You can get the $88,600 X6 M50i that has a 4.4-liter 523-horsepower hotrod engine, and you can order it with a sophisticated air ride suspension that rides smooth and adds some off-road ability and ground clearance.

What is the biggest BMW SUV?

2023 BMW X7 is the largest of BMW X SUVs with three rows.

BMW went big and launched the X7 for 2023 to compete in the hot three-row luxury SUV segment. The X7 is large inside, outside, and can seat six or seven passengers. It will hit dealers in the third quarter of 2022. There’s no X8 planned. The X7 may be big, but BMW decided that it needed some performance credibility, too, and offers it in xDrive40i trim with the M Sport Package or the M60i that adds some styling and serious performance upgrades, even if MotorTrend isn’t a fan of the styling. It starts at $74,900.


Compact BMW X3 or X5 Midsize? What’s the Better Bimmer?