There wasn’t a lot that needed fixing, but BMW has improved the X3 anyway. The revisions mean the X3 is an even better tow car.

BMW’s designers have tinkered with the looks here and there, but the most significant change is under the bonnet. The new 2.0-litre diesel engine is a big improvement. It’s quieter and more refined than before, which makes the X3 a better long-distance cruiser. It’s also more powerful. There’s now 187bhp and 295lb ft of torque, enough to pull car and caravan from 30-60mph in 12.7 seconds.

The X3 is stable as well as quick. Even in crosswinds the X3 felt unshakeable, and when slowing from high speeds the caravan’s Al-Ko ATC sensors detected very little movement.

In the lane-change test the BMW X3 bossed the caravan with authority. Even when the tourer started to slide behind the car on the third and fastest run, the caravan pulled it straight again.

With an electronic parking brake, four-wheel drive and plenty of pulling power, the BMW made short work of the hill start test.

In everyday driving, the X3 is sporty or comfortable, depending on what you want it to be, thanks to the optional Variable Damper Control system (£650) fitted to the test car.

It’s roomy as well as fun to drive. There’s decent head and legroom in the back, although unlike the new Land Rover Discovery Sport, the BMW has five seats rather than seven.

However, the X3 loses a few points from our practicality judges as there wasn’t quite enough boot space for every item in our typical load of holiday luggage.

The BMW may not be cheap to buy, but What Car?’s experts predict it will hold its value well.

Category Winners
2019 Up to 1400kg

Škoda Octavia

Hatch 1.5 TSI 150PS SE L DSG

2019 1400-1549kg

Seat Ateca

2.0 TSI 190PS FR DSG

2019 1550-1699kg

Volkswagen Arteon

2.0 TDI 150PS Elegance DSG

2019 1700-1899kg

BMW 520d

Touring xDrive M Sport

2019 1900kg+

Land Rover Discovery

3.0 SDV6 HSE

2019 Best Budget 4x4

Dacia Duster

1.5 dCi Ambiance 4x4

2019 Best Plug-In Hybrid

Land Rover Range Rover Sport

P400e HSE Dynamic

2019 Best Ultralight Tow Car

Seat Arona

1.0 TSI 115 FR

2019 Fuel Economy Award

Ford Focus Estate

1.5 EcoBlue 120PS Titanium X

Previous Winners

BMW 520d

Touring xDrive M Sport


Land Rover Discovery

3.0 Td6 HSE*


Skoda Superb Hatch

2.0 TDI 150PS SE Business


Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI BMT 150PS SE Business DSG


Nissan Qashqai

1.6 dCi (130PS) Stop/Start System Acenta Premium

Up to 1424kg

Skoda Octavia

2.0 TDI CR 150PS Elegance


Jaguar XF

2.2D Premium Luxury


Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI 170 Bluemotion Sport


Land Rover Discovery 4

3.0 TDV6 XS


Volvo XC60

D5 SE Geartronic


Ford Mondeo Estate

2.0 TDCi Titanium auto


Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI Sport 4Motion

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