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BMW X1 vs X3: Key Differences to Consider!

BMW X1 vs X3: Key Differences to Consider!

If you’re seeking a crossover that exemplifies luxury and gives you a strong performance on the road, chances are you are looking at various types of BMW models. If so, your attention is focused on models like the X1 and X3.

Since both offer key differences, here are some things to consider when making your decision!

Differences Between the BMW X1 and X3

Whether it’s their MSRP, fuel economy, cargo room, or powertrain options, both the X1 and X3 vary in many areas. Depending upon the features most important to you, here are their most important differences explained in-depth.

1. Cargo Space

Since the X3 is the bigger of these two models, you would assume it has more cargo space. If so, your assumption is right, and by a wide margin!

When its seats are in the upright position, the BMW X3 has 28.7 cubic feet of cargo space, besting the X1 by 1.6 cubic feet. While this may not sound big to you, it is a significant difference.

As for the bigger difference in cargo space, this occurs when the seats are folded. In the X3, this means cargo space expands to a sizable 62.7 cubic feet, besting the X1 by more than four cubic feet.

2. Dimensions

While the larger BMW X3 offers more cargo space than its counterpart, you will be surprised to learn that the smaller BMW X1 wins out in terms of its dimensions for head and legroom.

Though the X3 is emerging with a redesign, the new X1 has taken what has worked in the X3 and other models in the past and incorporated them into a winning combination.

Though the differences are somewhat slight, even an inch here or there can make a huge difference in terms of your comfort and that of your passengers. For legroom, the X1 has 37 inches and the X3 36.4 inches. As for headroom, the X1 has 39.4 inches, the X3 has 39.1 inches.

3. Price

If price is a deciding factor when you’re buying a BMW crossover or SUV, then you’ll want to take a closer look at the X1, which clearly beats the X3 in this category.

Being smaller, the X1 can be purchased for just under $36,200 and still let you get many great features, including a rearview camera, leather upholstery and steering wheel, and a nearly nine-inch infotainment system.

When buying an X3, you can expect to pay almost $44,000. However, you will get a vehicle that comes with standard all-wheel drive as well as a rear-wheel drive platform, which if you’ve owned a BMW in the past will quickly remind you of the traditional feel you get when driving this luxurious brand.

4. Fuel Economy

Having a smaller four-cylinder engine, it will come as no surprise that the BMW X1 wins out over the X3 in terms of fuel economy.

On the highway, the X1 delivers a solid 33 miles per gallon, while the X3 offers a respectable 29 miles per gallon.

5. Powertrain

If there is one area where the X3 has a clear advantage over the X1, it is the powertrain. For the X1, you can get a 2.0-liter supercharged engine that gives you 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque.

With the X3 and its supercharged six-cylinder engine, you can get behind the wheel and get 328 horsepower.

When accelerating, the X3 tends to win out as well, but not by as much as you might expect. For the four-cylinder X1, it goes from 0-60 in six seconds.

If you are giving the gas to the six-cylinder X3, expect to go from 0-60 in as little as 4.4 seconds.

Is the X3 Better than the X1?

To answer this question, it will depend largely on what features are most important to you when behind the wheel.

If you will be using your vehicle for shopping trips, hauling your kids back and forth to school, soccer matches, and other places, and taking some family vacations along the way where you’ll need to haul some camping gear and other items, the larger X3 may be your best bet.

However, if you are more interested in using your vehicle to commute back and forth to work and want to maximize your fuel efficiency, the smaller X1 and its four-cylinder engine will likely satisfy you quite well.

In terms of reliability, both the X1 and X3 get high marks.

Since BMW is known for producing vehicles that have few if any major breakdowns along the way, chances are you will not be spending many dollars on unexpected repairs no matter which of the two you choose.

When car experts have been pressed to pick a winner between the two, most have agreed the X3 wins out, but by only the slightest of margins. In most cases, it is the additional cargo space, power, and AWD that make the difference.

Is the BMW X1 a Good Buy?

Overall, the BMW X1 is viewed by auto experts and consumers as being a good buy for the money. If you are in the market for a luxury crossover but are on a tight budget when buying a vehicle, the X1 gives you performance, luxury, and dependability at an affordable price.

Though it differs from the X3 in that it offers front-wheel drive as opposed to the AWD of the X3, the X1 nevertheless provides a smooth ride and enough features such as the infotainment system and 18-inch wheels to make it a smart buy. All of this, coupled with its excellent fuel economy and surprising power when accelerating, make it a good buy.

No matter which of these BMW models you select, you know you will be getting a vehicle that should deliver everything you need and much more.

Whether you are budget-minded and opt for the X1 or instead desire extra power and luxury found on the X3, you will soon be driving down the highway or around town in a BMW that will be dependable for many years to come!

BMW X1 & X3 Specs

X1 sDrive28iX1 xDrive28iX3 sDrive30iX3 xDrive30i
Starting MSRP$35,400$37,400$43,700$45,700
Liters/Type2.0-liter BMW TwinPower Turbo inline 4-cylinder2.0-liter BMW TwinPower Turbo inline 4-cylinder2.0-liter BMW TwinPower Turbo inline 4-cylinder2.0-liter BMW TwinPower Turbo inline 4-cylinder
Displacement1998 cc1998 cc1998 cc1998 cc
Horsepower228 hp @ 5,000 – 6,000 RPM228 hp @ 5,000 – 6,000 RPM248 hp @ 5,200-6,500 RPM248 hp @ 5,200-6,500 RPM
Torque258 lb/ft @ 1,450-4,500 RPM258 lb/ft @ 1,450-4,500 RPM258 hp @ 5,200 – 6,500 RPM258 hp @ 5,200 – 6,500 RPM
Compression Ratio10.
Transmission8-speed STEPTRONIC Automatic transmission with Sport and Manual shift modes8-speed STEPTRONIC automatic transmission with Sport and Manual shift modes8-speed Sport Automatic transmission with Sport and Manual shift modes and steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters and Launch Control8-speed Sport Automatic transmission with Sport and Manual shift modes and steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters and Launch Control
0-606.6 s6.3 s6.0 s6.0 s
Top speed130 mph130 mph130 mph130 mph
Combined MPG (automatic)27 mpg26 mpg25 mpg24 mpg
City MPG (automatic)24 mpg23 mpg23 mpg21 mpg
Highway MPG (automatic)33 mpg31 mpg29 mpg28 mpg
Fuel tank capacity16.1 gal16.1 gal17.2 gal17.2 gal
Length175.5 in175.5 in185.9 in185.9 in
Width71.1 in71.1 in74.4 in74.4 in
Height62.9 in62.9 in66.0 in66.0 in
Curb weight (automatic transmission)3,567 lbs3,726 lbs4,079 lbs4,149 lbs
Weight distribution, front/rear58.1 / 41.956.8 / 43.248.6 / 51.449.0 / 51.0
Payload924 lbs926 lbs904 lbs941 lbs
Headroom41.9 in41.9 in41.1 in41.1 in
Front legroom40.4 in40.4 in40.3 in40.3 in
Rear legroom37.0 in37.0 in36.4 in36.4 in
Front shoulder room55.6 in55.6 in57.6 in57.6 in
Rear shoulder room55.2 in55.2 in56.0 in56.0 in
Cargo capacity27.1 cu ft27.1 cu ft28.7 cu ft28.7 cu ft

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Zach Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! Having owned a wide variety of vehicles in my life, I was astounded at how hard it can be to find answers to common automotive questions. Rather than sit idly, I decided to create this website to help others!