Compared: 2023 BMW X3 vs. 2023 BMW X5

These feature-filled SUVs brim with class, and they offer high-performance variants.

2023 BMW X3 and 2023 BMW X5BMW | X3 (top), X5

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BMW’s growing line of SUVs has provided right-sized variations of performance, prestige, and luxury for customers. The 2023 BMW X3 and the 2023 BMW X5 continue that tradition, with the major difference between the two models being a third row of seats, included only in the X5.

2023 BMW X3BMW | X3

2023 BMW X3 vs. 2023 BMW X5: Price

While it has grown in size and looks in recent years, the 2023 BMW X3 starts at around $47,000 for its rear-wheel-drive sDrive30i model. That includes a 248-hp, twin-turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is also available.

A hybrid version was dropped from the X3 lineup in 2022; enthusiasts can still purchase the 382-hp M40i version for around $62,000, or the rip-roaring, 503-hp X3 M, priced at about $75,000.

2023 BMW X5BMW | X5

The larger 2023 BMW X5 starts at about $63,000 for its rear-wheel-drive sDrive40i edition, with a 335-hp, twin-turbo, 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine, integrated with a 48-volt mild hybrid electric system that offers additional boost on demand. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard, and all-wheel drive is available.

Other X5 variations include the plug-in hybrid xDrive45e, which starts around $67,000, and the high-performance, X5 M, with up to 617 horsepower, is about $110,000.

2023 BMW X3BMW | X3

2023 BMW X3 vs. 2023 BMW X5: Interior

The X3 offers standard sport seats that are upholstered in synthetic cloth, and also prominently features a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, plus a 10.25-inch control and navigation display. A panoramic sunroof is an option.

Rear passengers get their own temperature controls and vents, plus USB-C outlets; rear legroom is 36.4 inches. With the second-row seats dropped, the X3 has 62.7 cubic feet of storage. Oak trim in the cabin and a Wi-Fi hotspot are standard; Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity is included, as well as BMW’s voice-activated personal assistant.

2023 BMW X5BMW | X5

The X5 makes almost all of X3’s options standard, including the panoramic sunroof, plus standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as the digital instrument cluster, central information display, and voice-activated personal assistant.

Synthetic upholstery is standard on the X5’s seats, as well as on the dashboard. A small drop-down lower bench on the rear tailgate is also a nice feature. If you’d like to add some extra sparkle, glass controls are an option for the X5’s starter button, shifter and iDrive controller.

Second-row legroom increases by just an inch, to 37.4 inches, but an optional third row of seating turns the X5 into a seven-occupant vehicle. Seats-down cargo room is also up by almost 10 cubes over the X3, to 72.3 cubic feet.

2023 BMW X3BMW | X3

2023 BMW X3 vs. 2023 BMW X5: Fuel Economy

The 2023 X3 sDrive30i has a combined city/highway EPA rating of 25 mpg, with premium fuel required. The X3’s high-performance edition, the X3 M, is rated at only 17 mpg on the combined scale.

2023 BMW X5BMW | X5

The mild electrification system in the X5 helps its standard model achieve 23 mpg combined. The X5 plug-in hybrid is rated at 50 MPGe when using the 31 miles of available battery-powered range, or 20 combined MPG. The hyper-speedy X5 M gets just 15 combined mpg.

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Andy Stonehouse
Andy Stonehouse literally fell into the world of auto writing while working as a ski-town journalist, and has not looked back since. A childhood spent dealing with the eccentricities of a 1976 MG Midget has made any subsequent auto experience a more safe and reliable drive. He has been blessed with nearby mountain trails and snowy roads in Colorado to do TV-adventure-styled test drives on a weekly basis.