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Luxury cars have high standards to achieve, like having the most advanced technology and refined interiors. In recent years, many critics have also put pressure on automakers to reduce the noise levels inside vehicle cabins. They contend passengers should be able to fall asleep inside cars like the BMW X3.

But even with proper insulation, this can be difficult to achieve in a car with a robust powertrain. Still, U.S. News says the 2021 BMW X3 is one of the quietest SUVs. And, as expected from this German automaker, the X3 also has one of the poshest interiors. 

How quiet is the BMW X3?

According to Consumer Reports, exterior noise won’t bother riders cruising in the 2021 BMW X3. Testers reported slight engine noise at higher revs, but it was barely a disturbance. CR tested the xDrive30i model, which packs a 248-hp turbo-four and eight-speed automatic transmission. 

This engine is potent enough for daily driving, and the transmission reacts smoothly, but more power is on tap. The M40i model comes with a turbo inline-six capable of 382 hp and 368 lb-ft of torque. And the BMW X3 M has a twin-turbo inline-six that can make up to 503 hp with the Performance upgrade.

CR tested only the M40i and xDrive30i models but noted the latter was distinctly louder. Still, some drivers might prefer the high-performance models for their sportier handling. CR was pleased to report that even the sportiest models still have comfortable suspensions.

The BMW X3’s luxurious interior

U.S. News also highlighted that the interior design feels like a welcome retreat for the noisy outside world. Pillowy-soft padding fills the cabin, and classy chrome and wood trim cover the dashboard. The floor sports soft carpeting, even in the oft-neglected cargo area.

The seats are wide enough to accommodate most riders, clad in either synthetic or genuine leather. The front seats are highly adjustable, and CR was especially impressed with the included thigh cushion. Three backseat passengers are also treated to the same roomy dimensions and seat adjustability, but two would be even more comfortable.

All BMW X3 models come with a wide 10-inch touchscreen with sharp graphics and a user-friendly layout. The base model gets Apple CarPlay, a Wi-Fi hotspot, navigation, and a 12-speaker audio system. Android users will have to pay extra for compatibility with their devices.

Half of the BMW X3’s available safety features are included in the base trim. However, many critics recommend springing for extras like parallel parking assistance and adaptive headlights. CR also liked all of the information on the optional head-up display.

How much does it cost?

The standard 2021 X3 sDrive30i retails for $43,000, while the AWD-equipped xDrive30i costs $45,000, BMW‘s website shows. As well as all the base equipment, drivers can add numerous optional features to these trims. You can get heating for both rows of seats, a panoramic moonroof, and sunshades for the rear windshield. These models can also get performance enhancements, including an adaptive suspension or sport-tuned brakes.

The xDrive30e is the plug-in hybrid version, retailing for $49,600. The M40i starts at $56,600, while the top-tier M models cost at least $69,900. Along with the brawniest engine, the M Competition model comes with bolstered seats and a huge exhaust.

Fortunately, if peace and quiet are top priorities, the standard models are plenty sufficient. These trims offer well-behaved engines, an impressive array of tech, and comfortable seating. The 2021 BMW X3 also occupies the top of U.S. News‘ luxury compact SUV rankings.


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