Power steering

Where fitted, the variable power steering system can be troublesome and, at worst, require a new steering rack. 


Owners have reported sundry rattles and creaks and problems with updating the sat nav. 


If it’s a four-wheel-drive X3, check it hasn’t been off-roaded since the vehicle doesn’t have the ground clearance of, for example, a Land Rover Discovery. As a result, you may find scrapes and damage to the sills and underside.


Beware of a vehicle fitted with an aftermarket towbar since unlike one with the factory-fitted item, the vehicle’s mechanicals won’t have been upgraded to accommodate the engine’s and transmission’s additional cooling requirements or have the strengthened  driveshafts.

Need to know

The X3 has been subject to a number of safety recalls, among them an insecure rear spoiler, a dodgy screw on the steering system and rear brake calipers not coated to specification. Check that the car you’re interested in has had them all attended to. 

The 2.0-litre diesel engine in pre-2014 facelift X3s is codenamed N47. According to reports, it has a reputation for excessive timing chain wear leading to premature failure. BMW took action to fix the problem, culminating in the fitment of the new and uprated B47 engine from 2014. 

Options include an adaptive damper control system offering Normal, Sport and Sport+ modes, and variable Servotronic steering. However, they’re dynamic overkill on lesser-powered versions, which ride and steer perfectly well.