BMW X1 VS X3 – Which One Is The Better Purchase?

Have you been thinking of purchasing a high-end luxury SUV and you are thinking of the BMW X1 vs X3? If that is the case, then you are at the right place because there will be a lot to cover on this topic where we will learn everything you need to know when it comes to these two SUVs.

Doing the proper research before you go out there on the market and make a purchase is one of the smartest things to do. Especially when it comes to the high-end models like the X1 and the X3. You are prepared to pay a ton of money on one of these cars and it better be worth it.

So, knowing all the ups and downs of each model is really important if you don’t want to make a mistake when choosing your future vehicle. And this is why we are here, to help you out. We really, don’t want you to make a mistake and choose the wrong SUV. So, let’s see what we are going to cover in this article when it comes to the BMW X1 vs X3.

First, we are going to learn what is an SUV and learn more about the difference between SAV and SUV. Then we will cover the types of SUVs and the pros and cons of having an SUV. After that, we will cover the specs of these two models and learn their pros and cons. After that, we will go through the BMW X1 VS X3 and will give you our recommendation. So, if you want to learn more, follow along.

What Is An SUV (And How Does BMW X1 VS X3 Differ)

So, before we dive into more complex topics like the comparison between BMW X1 VS X3. Let’s first cover some of the basics first. And that is what is an SUV in general and what is the history of BMW in this market. Knowing the roots will really help you benefit to understand which BMW model has the most longevity in this segment. So, let’s dive into the topic.

What is an SUV? The SUV is an abbreviation that refers to the phrase “Sport Utility Vehicle”. But what is a sport utility vehicle?

Well, the sport utility vehicle is basically a vehicle that you can drive on a daily but you can also enjoy off-road adventures on the weekends. That is an SUV in general. But it is the same to compare an SUV with a crossover?

Well, not quite. Mainly because genuine SUVs are far more capable vehicles than your regular crossover SUV. Crossovers are something like a crossbreed between a proper SUV and a car. Thus, the name crossover. They are based on a car platform

Crossovers can deliver when it comes to off-road, but not by a big margin. So, you cannot compare a BMW X3 with a proper off-roader like Land Rover Defender. Even though they have the same body shape and increased ride height.

One BMW proper SUV is the X5. The X5 is a genuine SUV because it was designed with off-road driving in mind. And this model precisely has marketed the long lineage of BMW SUV models. It was released in 1999 and made a huge impact on the market and paved the way for the BMW X1 VS X3. But what about SAV VS SUV? More on that next.


Now before we learn more about the differences between BMW X1 vs X3, let’s cover another interesting topic when it comes to BMW and their naming conventions. And that is the SAV VS SUV.

If you are after a BMW SUV, then you have probably come across the SAV abbreviation. What does this mean in the first place? Is it the same as the SUV?

Well, sort of, this in most cases is actually the same deal as SUV. As online sources say, the SAV differentiates from a regular SUV.


The SAV focuses a lot on power, towing capability, and space that a vehicle has to offer. The SAV is basically a proper BMW high-performance machine that can go off-road in other words. It is a combination of the sports car engine with the off-road features of an SUV.

Overall, that’s everything you need to know when it comes to SAV. What is good to know is that both the BMW X1 vs X3 fall in this category. Not to mention that in this category also falls every vehicle that BMW makes which name stars with X. Namely, X1, X2, X3, X4, X5, X6, and X7. But what about BMW X3 VS X1? More on this we will cover in a bit.

Understanding SUV Types (Between The BMW X1 VS X3)

Now before we start discussing the BMW X1 VS X3, let’s cover another topic that will be really important to understand in which category these two cars belong.

As you probably know, both the X1 and X3 belong to a certain category and in this chapter, we are going to elaborate on which of these categories these SUVs belong to. So, let’s get into it.

The X1 is the smallest in the lineup of SUVs that BMW makes. The first type of SUV that you need to be aware of is the subcompact class.

The X1 is one of BMW’s offerings in this class of cars. These cars are the smallest out of the bunch. Even though, the X2 belongs in this category as well. So, when it comes to the BMW X1 vs X2, we can say that they belong in the same category. But the X1 targets practicality, while the X2 targets sportiness and performance.


Then there comes the compact category in which the X3 and X4 come. The compact category is based on vehicle platforms that are used on compact and mid-size cars. More precisely the BMW 3-series and BMW 5-series.

This makes the X3 and X4 far roomier than the X1 and X2. And similar to its smaller brothers, the X3 focuses more on practicality, while the X4 focuses more on sportiness.

Then there is the mid-size category which is even bigger than the compact class. In this category are the BMW X5 and X6.

And the last category that we are interested in is the full-size category of SUVs. The only option right now in this segment from BMW is the BMW X7. And what about BMW X1 VS X3? More on this in a bit.

sDrive VS xDrive

Another marketing gimmick besides the SAV vs SUV that we would like to discuss before we compare the BMW X1 VS X3 is the sDrive VS xDrive. What does this mean?

A ton of people are confused by these marketing names and we think that now it is time to cover them in-depth in order for you not to be confused later on when you go out on the market and look for an SUV. So, let’s cover this topic briefly.

So, what does sDrive mean? Well, what is worth noting first is that the sDrive and xDrive are only used by BMW. In other words, you will not see these badges on other vehicles.

And in simple words sDrive means that the vehicle that you want to purchase is a two-wheel drive. Two-wheel-drive BMW cars are usually the cars that run either front-wheel-drive or rear-wheel-drive powertrain.

On the other hand, xDrive is a badge that is applied on BMW cars that use all-wheel-drive. Even though it is said that these cars are all-wheel-drive, they are predominantly rear-wheel-drive.

The AWD system only kicks in when the traction control system notices that there is a problem with the power delivery to the wheels and then transfers some of the power to the front wheels, so you don’t lose traction and evade the car from a possibly dangerous situation, like ending stuck in mud or snow. But what about the BMW X1 vs X3? Well, more on that we will cover in a bit.

Advantages Of Having An SUV (Like The X1 VS X3)

Now let’s take a look at the advantages of having an SUV. This is useful to know before we compare the BMW X1 VS X3. Knowing the advantages will be really helpful to determine whether you really need an SUV or not. So, let’s get into it.

The biggest advantage of having an SUV when compared to your regular sedan is the increased ride height. The ride height is quite increased on SUVs in comparison to your standard sedan. The bigger the size of the SUV, the higher the ride height will be.

This will help you see things better while you are driving the vehicle and avoid obstacles a lot easier. So, this is why SUVs are so beneficial.


Another thing that we would like to discuss is safety. The safety of these vehicles is really good indeed. Much better than your average sedan. But why is this the case?

Well, this is the case because of the increased ride height. The increased ride height will be beneficial for the passengers in case of a direct face-to-face collision.

And the last pro of having an SUV that we would like to cover is the practicality. SUVs are extremely practical in comparison to regular sedans. Especially the X3 which is the bigger brother of the X1. But what about the BMW X1 vs X3 comparison? Well, more on this we are going to cover next.


Now let’s cover both of these two models. We will discuss their specs first one by one and then we will compare them and see where and in which aspects the one has advantages over the other.

This is how you draw conclusions when it comes to choosing what type of vehicle you need. So, let’s get started and learn something new.

BMW X1 Specs (And How It Differs From The X3)

The BMW X1 is a small subcompact SUV produced by BMW. This model has debuted in 2009 and at the moment we are speaking, is in its third generation.

The present generation of this model was introduced in June 2022. So, we can say that this model is really fresh in comparison to the X3 that was released a while ago.

This model is based on the BMW platform that was used on the 1-series and 2-series. This means that this model will come in sDrive front-wheel-drive and xDrive which is the all-wheel-drive model.

The new model is slightly bigger in comparison to the predecessor. In terms of length, it grew about 1.7 inches, 0.9 inches in width, and 1.7 inches in height. Not a lot but enough to notice the difference.

The interior is quite roomier than the predecessor and implements a big infotainment screen and a lot of lovely soft-touch materials that will make you feel like you drive in luxury.

In addition, there will be an M-Sport package that will make things even sportier and will give that extra edge to the vehicle when it comes to the looks department.

But what about the BMW X1 vs X3? We’ll get to that in a bit, let’s first learn more about the engines and transmissions.

Engines & Transmissions

When it comes to engines, it is worth noting that there is only a single engine that is included in the BMW X1. And that is the 2.0L turbocharged gas engine that produces about 240hp and 295lb-ft of torque. A really peppy engine.

This engine is paired with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. These two together will propel your car in 6.2 seconds from 0 to 60. Really respectable numbers when it comes to the speed of this vehicle. But what about BMW X1 vs X3? More on that in a bit.

Fuel Economy

The fuel economy of the X1 is also good, it easily delivers about 23 MPG in the city. On the highway, it will give you about 31 MPG and overall 26 MPG in combined mode. But what about the BMW X1 vs X3? More on this in a bit.


When it comes to safety, there are no safety ratings yet available for the new series of the X1. But there are safety ratings for the previous models and according to the IIHS, the X1 performed fairly well. It achieved good scores on most of the tests. But what about the BMW X1 vs X3? More on this in a bit.


And the last important thing that we would want to cover when it comes to the X1 is the price. The price for this model starts at about $36,000 for the sDrive model, while the xDrive starts at about $38,000. But what about the BMW X1 vs X3? We will get to that in a bit.

BMW X3 Specs (And How It Differs From The X1)

Now before we compare the BMW X1 vs X3, let’s cover some of the specs in which the latest generation of the X3 comes.

The present generation of this model was introduced in 2017 and the manufacturing is expected to be finished by 2024. This means that for the 2025 model year we will have a new generation of this BMW X3 SUV.

Unlike the X1, the X3 is considerably chunkier than its smaller brother. This model also comes in the sDrive and xDrive versions. The sDrive in the X3 means that this model is only rear-wheel-drive, unlike the X1 which was front-wheel-drive.

This model also includes the M-Sport package that comes with a stiffened-up suspension and other cool sporty features. But unlike the previous model, this one has a dedicated M model that is known as the X3M. But what about the BMW X1 vs X3? More on this in a bit.

Engines & Transmissions

When it comes to the engines and transmissions, it is worth mentioning that there are three of these engines available in the X3 for the US market.

The smallest engine included on the xDrive30 and sDrive30 is the 2.0L inline-4 engine that is producing 248hp and 258lb-ft of torque.

Then there is the M40i model that comes with the B58 3.0L inline-6 engine, this model produces 382hp and 365lb-ft of torque and the most powerful is the X3M S58 3.0L inline-6 engine that makes 473hp and 443lb-ft of torque.

In terms of transmission, there is an 8-speed ZF automatic that delivers extra smooth shifts. But what about the BMW X1 vs X3? More on this in a bit.

Fuel Economy

The fuel economy for the X3 is 21 MPG in the city, 28 MPG on open roads, and 24 MPG combined. We are discussing the smallest 2.0L engine. The M models have a slightly worse fuel economy. But what bout the BMW X1 vs X3? More on the comparison we will cover in a bit.


When it comes to safety, the X3 performs rather well. On the Euro NCAP testing it got 5/5 stars/ Also, this model was tested by the IIHS here in the states and also performed quite well in these tests.


The X3 is a bit more expensive in comparison to the X1. More precisely $10,000 on average. The base model starts at $46,000 and the prices increase as we go up to the trim levels and different options and can easily reach $70,000 for the well-equipped models. But what about BMW X1 vs X3? More on the comparison in the following chapter.

Which Is Better, BMW X1 VS X3?

Now let’s get into the BMW X1 vs X3 comparison, shall we? So, where we do begin? Let’s begin with the BMW X1 size comparison. When it comes to this aspect, there is no comparison, the X3 is a far roomier and bigger vehicle than the X1.

Back in the day, the X3 was really tiny, but nowadays it is almost big as the X5 models back in the day. So, if you need that extra luggage space and space to accommodate passengers, you should go for the X3.

Another pro of the X3 that has over the X1 is the option of engines. The X3 comes with more powerful engines than the older generations of the X1. Only if you get the newest generation of the X1, you will get the 248hp 2.0L engine.

Also, the X3 is leading when it comes to luxury. This model is quite roomier and has a ton of interesting tech inside, bigger screens, and more soft-touch materials.

The only aspect where the X1 leads is the price. The X1 starts at $36,000, while the X3 starts at about $46,000. What we would recommend?

Well, we will tell you to go for the X3 if you have the budget. If not, you will need to make a few compromises and opt for the X1.

BMW X1 vs. X3 Comparison

  • The BMW X1 is only being offered in one trim, the xDrive28i, which starts at $39,595 and offers all-wheel drive and many advanced safety features as standard equipment.
  • The X1 is available with one powertrain, a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder putting out 241 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, and gets a new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
  • The X3, on the other hand, is offered in four trims: sDrive30i, xDrive30i, M40i, and a standalone M model, with the base rear-wheel-drive sDrive30i starting at $46,395.
  • The X3’s M40i trim starts at $60,945, is powered by a mild-hybrid-assisted turbocharged straight six, and gets the M Sport, Dynamic Handling, and Convenience packages as standard.
  • The X3 M starts at $73,895, is powered by a beefier straight-six turbo, and comes with active exhaust, carbon fiber trim, power sport seats, and improved suspension and rear differential.
  • The X3 is dimensionally larger than the X1, with 67.2 cubic feet of cargo space compared to 57.2 cubic feet of the X1. However, the X1 has slightly more legroom in the front and rear.
  • The X1 has a 7,200lb tow rating, while the X3 xDrive30i has a 4,400lb tow rating.
  • According to Consumer Reports, the X3 is the fifth most reliable small luxury SUV out of 35, with reliability and owner satisfaction grades of 3/5, while the predicted reliability for the X1 is 3/5, and its predicted owner satisfaction grade is 2/5.
  • Unless high performance or cargo space is a priority, the X1 is a better buy as it is more affordable, roomier, and has a more modern interior than the X3.
  • The X1 comes with standard equipment, including ambient lighting, smartphone connectivity, 10.7” touchscreen, iDrive 8, and advanced safety features, and optional packages for ultra-wideband connectivity, upgraded exterior cameras, and styling upgrades.

Conclusion To BMW X1 VS X3

In this article, we have covered quite a bit when it comes to the BMW X1 vs X3. First, we learned the difference between an SUV and a crossover SUV with the main focus on BMW. Then we learned the two common packages which are the sDrive and xDrive and learned the pros and cons of running an SUV.

After that, we covered in-depth the specs of these two models which are the BMW X1 and X3, and also compared the two models and learned which of them is a better performer overall.


Now let’s answer some frequently asked questions.

BMW X3 Trunk Space

When it comes to trunk space, the X3 is really roomy in comparison to the X1 model. With the rear seats up, this model has 28.7 cubic ft of space. When the rear seats are folded, this number increases to 68.7 cubic ft of space.

BMW X1 Cargo Space

The X1 cargo space is not that big. With the rear seats up, this model has 27.1 cubic ft of space. When the rear seats fall down, you get about 58.7 cubic ft of space. 10 cubic ft less in comparison to a BMW X3.

BMW X1 Length

The newest 2023 model of the X1 has a length of 177.2 inches. 1.7 inches longer than the previous generation of the same model. So, if you want to get a longer X1, go for the newest generation of this model.

BMW X3 Width

The BMW X3 is 74.4 inches wide. It has a wheelbase of 112.8 inches and an overall length of 185.4 inches. In addition to this, the overall height is 66 inches in total.

BMW X1 Gas Mileage

The X1 has a gas mileage of 23 MPG in the city, 31 MPG on the highway, and 26 MPG combined. It is quite a good performer actually when compared to the competition.

BMW X1 Ground Clearance

The BMW X1 has a ground clearance of 7.2 inches. This is slightly less in comparison to the X3 for example which has 8 inches of ground clearance.

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