Is The BMW X3 M Reliable?

BMW released the X3 M several years ago. While the X3 has had nearly two decades to establish a reputation for itself, the X3 M still has drivers questioning its reliability.

According to several users, the BMW X3 M is a reliable vehicle. This model has undergone many changes, such as improved safety features, which add to its reliability. However, reports of mechanical and electrical problems in the 2021 BMW X3 M negatively impact this model’s reliability.

This article will discuss the BMW X3 M’s reliability, mechanical specifications, and pros and cons to purchasing the vehicle. Let’s get started!

BMW X3M Reliability

Factors used to determine a vehicle’s reliability include the number and severity of safety recalls, frequency and types of driver complaints, and the availability of safety features.

Unfortunately, neither the 2020 nor the 2021 BMW X3 M has received safety ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). However, the 2021 core model X3 received a 5-star safety rating from the organization. One can assume that this rating applies to the X3 M as well. 

At the time of writing this article, the NHTSA had received 18 complaints from X3 M drivers. The most common complaint pertained to the X3 M’s electrical system.

Half of the electrical system complaints pertained to the slow follow-through on a severe recall. On September 30, 2020, the NHTSA notified BMW X3 drivers that debris in their battery could lead to sudden combustion. When drivers arrived at the dealership to remedy the problem, the dealership told them that the part was unavailable. This problem appears to have continued for nearly a year after the initial recall. 

The other half of complaints about the BMW X3’s electrical system were reports of the vehicle suddenly shutting down. Complaints explained that their X3 would suddenly turn off while sitting at a traffic light. Additionally, drivers reported that the center console would turn off while driving.

Tying with the electrical system for most complaints is the X3’s speed control. Several X3 owners report that the vehicle has suddenly accelerated. One driver described the problem occurring while in cruise control. Another report of the issue said that the vehicle accelerated while pulling into a parking space, leading to a crash. This shows that the problem is erratic and not prone to occur in any specific circumstance.

Drivers also complain that it is difficult to tell their exact speed. The speedometer shows the vehicle’s speed in increments of 10 mph. If drivers want a more accurate reading, they must pay for a speedometer upgrade. 

Currently, there are no open investigations into the 2021 BMW X3 M; however, the NHTSA has already issued five safety recalls for the vehicle. One recall, debris in the battery, was already mentioned. The rest of the recalls are as follows:

  • fuel tank weld failure, which could result in fire
  • rearview camera malfunction
  • rearview camera obscured
  • hybrid battery prone to short-circuiting, which could result in fire

Based on the severity of the recalls, it’s easy to assume that the BMW X3 M will not be a reliable vehicle. However, the X3 M is one of BMW’s most powerful vehicles yet, a factor that should not be overlooked.

BMW X3 M: The Details and Specs

There are some pretty sweet features you’ll get to appreciate if you buy a BMW X3 M. The BMW X3 M has a sporty interior and exterior style. With improved acceleration, luxurious accommodations, large screens, and bigger wheels, the X3 M is designed to please. You are likely to be the envy of your block if you decide to invest in a 2021 BMW X3 M.

The BMW X3 M is equipped with a 3.0-liter BMW M TwinPower Turbo inline 6-cylinder engine. The stock engine produces 473 horsepower; however, for an extra $7,000, your X3 M can reach 503 hp. Before the upgrade, the X3 M’s engine can go from 0 to 60 mph in less than four seconds. With the upgrade, this engine can outperform all other luxury SAVs.

The X3 also sports an 8-speed transmission, providing the vehicle with extreme shift precision. You’ll find that the car responds quickly and smoothly, adding to the sporty feel of the vehicle. In addition, the brakes have been upgraded to include Dynamic Stability Control (DSC). This upgrade has features such as Brake Fade Compensation, Brake Drying, and Brake Stand-by features.

Each of these upgrades (plus many others) has increased the safety and reliability of the BMW X3 M. One review from CarIndigo claimed that the BMW X3 M had evolved in every sense. One can hope this applies to the vehicle’s reliability too.

BMW X3 M: The Pros and Cons

In general, the BMW X3 M is a reliable, safe, and comfortable vehicle that anybody would love to drive. According to U.S. News, the 2021 BMW X3 M is the best luxury compact SUV on the market. U.S. News also reported that the 2021 BMW X3 M received a reliability rating of 81 out of 100 from J.D. Power. This is a fairly average reliability rating.

Before purchasing a BMW X3 M of your own, you should consider the pros and cons of the vehicle. So, without further ado, here are a few pros and cons of the BMW X3 M!


The infotainment center in the 2021 BMW X3 M is slightly bigger than the previous model’s. This system is convenient and easy to use. The infotainment center also adds to the sporty interior look of the car.

The X3 M is known for its comfortable seats, which consumers expect in a luxury SUV. These leather-upholstered seats are plush and cozy to sit in. At the same time, these seats provide ample back support. You won’t ever have to worry about long road trips being uncomfortable in an X3 M. This is probably one of the car’s most redeeming qualities.

Earlier we talked about the virtues of the new X3 engine. While there are different engine options to choose between, each is extremely powerful. If you need a high-performing vehicle, the X3 M can provide it.


A high price is not unexpected for a luxury vehicle. However, similar vehicles made by BMW’s competition start at much lower prices. Starting MSRP for the X3M is $69,900. Keep in mind, the total price will vary depending on any additions.

The X3 M includes several driving aids and safety features; however, because of the malfunctioning electrical system, drivers can’t rely on these upgrades to perform. Some driver assist programs chime incessantly, issuing false alerts frequently. 

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