The X3 is one of BMW’s most popular SUVs. Its powerful and fuel-efficient engine, spacious interior that can seat the entire family, and handsome exterior design have all contributed to its fame. Still, if you want to get the best out of this SUV, pairing it with the right set of tires is crucial.
Unlike the BMW X5, which is this SUV’s larger sibling, the X3 doesn’t offer a plush ride quality. Instead, thanks to what BMW refers to as adaptive suspension, this small SUV offers just enough feedback for a sporty feel while also taking care of your comfort on bumpy road surfaces.
As such, it’s on you which part of the ride you want to enhance. You can install all-season touring or grand touring tires to make this SUV’s ride more soothing. Alternatively, a set of performance or high-performance tires will make the X3’s drive more fun, sporty, and engaging.
To help you make the decision, we’ve come up with this article. This comprehensive guide doesn’t only list and review the ten best tires for BMW X3. In addition, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of every type of tire (all-season, performance, winter, etc.) that you can install on this SUV.
#1. Michelin Premier A/S – Best Overall
The Michelin Premier A/S is our top tire pick for BMW X3. This all-season tire offers excellent dry and wet traction, remains usable in light snow and ice and backed with a decent treadwear warranty. Plus, it has the design elements to keep hydroplaning at bay.
A sunflower oil and silica tread compound is to credit for this model’s excellent performance on dry and wet roads. Silica helps the rubber stay flexible to enhance this model’s wet traction, while sunflower oil gives it the firmness needed for summer conditions.
A quartet of circumferential grooves as well as the built-in rain grooves help with water evacuation, not letting this tire experience hydroplaning. Having both these design elements gives this tire an edge over its rivals, most of whom don’t feature rain grooves.
Comfort Control Technology relies on the extra patch of rubber inside the tread to keep this model noise- and vibration-free, even at speeds at which its competitors squeak. Yet another technology (Ever Grip) enhances this tire’s road contact for better fuel economy.
That said, the treadwear warranty on this model (60,000 miles) disappoints, mainly because most premium tires these days are backed for at least 70,000 miles or more.
- Offers a comfortable and quiet ride
- Provides excellent traction on wet surfaces
- Can handle mild wintry conditions with ease
- Relatively small treadwear warranty
#2. Cooper CS5 Ultra Touring – Best Runner Up
The Cooper CS5 Ultra Touring has various features that give it an edge over our top pick. These include a bigger treadwear warranty (75,000 miles on specific models) and better balance between price and performance. Plus, it comes with an M+S (Mud + Snow) rating.
Yet the CS5 Ultra Touring is below our top pick on the pecking order. There’s only one reason for that: even though the CS5 Ultra Touring is soft, its comfort levels aren’t what you normally expect/get from a premium touring tire. So, don’t expect this tire to offer a plush ride.
What you can expect from it is excellent performance in three key areas. These include cornering performance, high-speed stability, and responsiveness. On all three counts, Cooper’s StabiliEdge Performance Technology has made the CS5 Ultra Touring a winner.
Multiple full-depth 3D sipes help justify this tire’s M+S rating and enable this model to grip the road reliably in inclement weather. Furthermore, this tire’s inboard and outboard shoulder blocks help reduce braking distances on wet roads, eliminating the risk of skidding.
Bear in mind, though, that the above 75,000-mile treadwear warranty only comes on V- and H-speed rated models. The W-rated ones are only backed for 50,000 miles, 10,000 miles fewer than the backing Michelin Premier A/S has received from its manufacturer.
- Comes at a mid-range price
- Some models are backed for 75,000 miles
- Above-average wet- and dry handling
- Smaller treadwear warranty for V- and H-rated tires
#3. Pirelli Cinturato P7 – Best Fuel Efficient
Although EPA ratings make the X3’s fuel economy look average, real-world testing paints a different picture. Many drivers boast of getting a combined 30 mpg on the higher-powered M40i and the four-cylinder xDrive 30i trims, showing that the X3 is truly a fuel-efficient SUV.
Still, as good as the fuel consumption numbers are, they can still be improved. How? By pairing your X3 with a set of Pirelli Cinturato P7. This all-season touring tire has 20% less rolling resistance than rivals, which should help it offer better fuel economy than its competitors.
The reduction in rolling resistance won’t only reduce your trips to the pump. It will also give your X3’s acceleration a shot in the arm, a benefit you don’t usually get from touring tires. Aside from that, it will help lower your SUV’s fuel emissions, reducing its carbon footprint.
Fuel economy isn’t the only area where this tire shines, though. It also offers a quiet and comfortable ride and has the wet traction needed to stay useful in rainy conditions. A sturdy internal construction prevents premature deformation to help it outlast its treadwear warranty.
Speaking of treadwear warranty, you might be pleased to note that Pirelli backs this tire to last up to 70,000 miles, giving you another reason to treat the Premier A/S’s treadwear warranty as lackluster.
- Available in a budget-price point
- Has 20% less rolling resistance than rivals
- Backed with a 70,000-mile treadlife warranty
- Wears pretty quickly if pushed to limits
#4. Continental ExtremeContact DWS06 – Best High-Performance
The Continental ExtremeContact DWS06 isn’t your average high-performance tire. Your average high-performance tire doesn’t come in 87 sizes from 16- to 22-inches. Neither can you use it on light snow or expect it to offer reliable braking performance on wet roads.
A tread compound featuring silica and +Silane additives gives this model the best of both worlds. In addition to improving the tire’s dry traction, it also ensures equal pressure distribution. The result? More even treadwear and therefore a long-lasting treadlife.
X-Sipe Technology helps this tire take you from point A to point B on snow. Traction Grooves ensure quick and effective water evacuation for enhanced wet performance. The duo is thus to credit for this model’s reliable performance in inclement weather.
Notice those parallel rubber bars on the tread area? They form this tire’s Alignment Verification System. Thanks to them, you’d be able to inspect your wheel’s alignment status at home. This means you won’t have to see a mechanic every time this tire feels wobbly.
As difficult as it might be for you to believe, the DWS06 isn’t faultless. This model’s aquaplaning resistance isn’t great, so you’d do well to watch the speed on wet roads.
- Comes in 87 sizes between 16- to 22-inches
- Offers an excellent steering response
- Functional wear and alignment indicators
- Aquaplaning resistance could be better
#5. Pirelli P Zero All Season Plus – Best Budget High-Performance
The Pirelli P Zero has multiple features to take your BMW X3’s sporty handling to the next level. These include a stickier rubber compound, nano rubber composites, and unique ‘S’ sipes. Let’s take a look at why these features should convince you to buy this tire.
Start with the stickier rubber compound. It helps this tire stay glued to the tarmac regardless of weather conditions, not even letting high-speed break the road contact. The increased grip, as you might guess, would result in enhanced steering feedback.
Then come the nano composites. Placed inside the tread compound, they don’t work alone. Instead, they take help from the P Zero’s asymmetric tread pattern. The duo’s combined action enhances the tire’s cornering performance, letting you attack bends at speed.
Three design elements – “S” sipes, longitudinal grooves, circumferential channels – won’t let this tire aquaplane on wet and/or snowy roads. On top of this duty, the S (“snow”) sipes will also help this tire stay useful in mild snow, something not many HP tires can do.
Bear in mind, though, that the P Zero’s treadlife is small. This tire has a tendency to wear pretty quickly if pushed to limits. So, by opting for it, you’d essential be treading long road life in return for enhanced steering, cornering performance, and high-speed stability.
- Excellent grip on dry and wet surfaces
- Produces low noise for a high-performance tire
- Available in multiple sizes from 17- to 20-inches
- Below-average treadlife
#6. Continental ExtremeContact Sport– Best Summer Performance
The Continental ExtremeContact Sport is one of the best summer performance tires on the market. It’s therefore a must-have for X3 drivers who regularly push this SUV to their limits. And who can make do with a set of tires that offers negligible wet traction.
Compared to its predecessor, which tried to balance dry grip and wet traction, the ExtremeContact Sport prioritizes dry handling over everything else. A proprietary SportPlus tread compound featuring +Silane additives has made it a marvel of summer performance.
A 5- or 6-rib asymmetric tread pattern makes its presence felt in more ways than one. In addition to increasing this tire’s cornering performance, it also ensures enhanced stability at high speeds, helping the ExtremeContact Sport make your X3’s drive more engaging.
An internal polyester or rayon cord body safeguards this tire from premature deformation, a common issue with most summer performance tires. Furthermore, a 2-ply sidewall (which is 86% stronger than that in the ExtremeContact DW), increases feedback.
The only area where this model might let you down is road noise. Like 99% of summer performance tires on the market, this model is audibly loud at high speeds. Which might or might not be a deal-breaking flaw depending on what you think of road noise.
- Offers supreme high-speed stability
- Provides an enhanced steering performance
- Comfortable ride for a summer performance tire
- Loud at high speed
#7. Dunlop Direzza DZ102 – Best Budget Summer Performance
The Dunlop Direzza DZ102 proves that sometimes in life you get more than what you paid for. Despite coming in at an affordable price, the DZ102 offers the kind of dry road grip you usually expect from premium summer performance tires.
A silica and carbon-black tread compound increases this model’s grip and traction over dry and wet conditions, respectively. In doing so, it helps distinguish the DZ102 from the ExtremeContact Sport, whose wet traction is surprisingly non-existent.
Its directional tread pattern might not look as aggressive as the one on the previous tire. Yet, with the help of three center ribs and wider shoulder blocks gives enhanced steering stability. It also ensures tighter cornering and better steering feedback.
Multiple wide circumferential grooves evacuate water quickly and effectively to lower the risk of hydroplaning. However, this model doesn’t have any biting edges. So you’d do well not to tempt your lick in cold or wintry weather conditions.
Yet there are areas where this tire disappoints. Its dry handling, though nowhere near as poor as that of cheap summer performance tires, is average.
- Comes at a budget price point
- Improved tread design over its predecessor
- Offers excellent grip in dry conditions
- Average dry handling
#8. Continental CrossContact LX25 – Best Highway Tire
Excellent fuel economy? Check. Long treadwear warranty? Yes. Great road manners? Present. Negligible hydroplaning risk? Yup. The fact that it possesses all these qualities should make it clear why the CrossContact LX25 is our highway tire pick for X3.
An eco-friendly tread compound helps lower this model’s rolling resistance and, by extension, improves the fuel economy. Aside from this, it will increase your X3’s acceleration, helping this small SUV make quick passes on the highway.
High-speed stability is another area where this model impresses. A continuous center rib running along its entire length and independent tread blocks on the shoulder are to credit for this. Thanks to them, the LX25 won’t wobble at high speeds.
This tire also features various improvements over its predecessor, CrossContact LX20. Most obvious among which is its longer treadwear warranty. While the LX20 was backed to last up to 60,000 miles, the LX25 might go all the way for 70,000 miles.
Another difference is the inclusion of grooves, which help increase this tire’s wet and snow traction. Continental’s Comfort Ride Technology is another feature the LX20 lacked. And that tire paid for it in the shape of poor road manners.
- Affordably priced
- Backed to last up to 70,000 miles
- Offers excellent ride quality and handling
- Not the best for spirited driving
#9. Bridgestone Alenza 001 RFT – Best OE Tire
The Bridgestone Alenza 001 RFT are the stock tires on the 2022 BMW X3 M40i.
Bridgestone claims that the Alenza 001 RFT’s design has been optimized to improve tire life, braking power, and cornering performance. It lends credence to these claims by naming the design elements that enhance each of the three performance factors.
For instance, a larger contact patch is to credit for this model’s excellent braking performance, helping it come to a halt within a few meters. The patch’s aggressive design is the reason why you can count on this model to not skid or slip on wet road surfaces.
A chamfered pattern edge is responsible for enhanced cornering performance. By keeping the tire edge flat instead of the usual concave, it inspires a visible improvement in the way this tire handles corners, giving you the confidence to attack bends at speed.
The final and perhaps the most obvious benefit of driving this tire is that it can run flat. Even when punctured, you can drive this model at a speed of up to 50 miles, depending on road conditions. Bear in mind, though, doing that may take a toll on its tread life.
- Can be run-flat
- Good cornering performance
- Excellent braking performance
Snow/ice grip is lackluster
#10. Bridgestone Blizzak WS90 – Best Winter Tire
Models like the Blizzak WS90 are why we no longer have to rely on studded snow tires to take us safely from point A to point B in harsh wintry conditions. If the area where you drive receives more than its fair share of snow, installing the WS90 on your X3 should be a no-brainer.
Its soft tread compound is one of several reasons this tire doesn’t need studs to plow through ice and snow. The compound has the uncanny ability to stay flexible in sub-zero temperatures and, in doing so, help this tire offer supreme cold weather traction.
MultiCell Technology traps snow within the treads to increase the friction in harsh wintry conditions, though it would stop doing that once 55% of tread is eaten up. Another technology, titled ‘EdgePerformance’, widens contact patch for better road grip
A Three Peak Mountain Snowflake (3PMSF) emblem inspires further confidence in this model’s snow performance. Often confused with M+S symbol, the 3PMSF logo is indicative of better performance in cold weather. As such, tires carrying it can be relied on to go the way in harsh conditions.
- Comes with a 3-Peak Mountain Snowflake emblem
- Offers excellent traction on snow and ice
- Comes with tread wear indicators and wear bars
- No treadwear warranty
Best Tires for BMW X3
All-season touring tires are the ideal option for X3 drivers who aren’t content with this SUV’s ride quality. These models’ all-season tread compound and non-aggressive tread pattern helps them deflect road noise and absorb vibrations for a comfortable driving experience.
Touring tires also offer better fuel economies than their performance or high-performance counterparts, meaning you’d save money on gas. Plus, they are backed with extended treadwear warranties, which in the case of premium models touch the 70,000-mile mark.
Highway tires come with higher load ratings than their touring counterparts, meaning you can count on them to tow and handle heavy loads. Another factor that distinguishes them from touring tires is their construction, with highway tires the much sturdier of the two.
These models might thus make for a nice option if you belong to the minority of X3 drivers who use this SUV for carrying the heavy stuff. If that isn’t the case, and all you use your X3 is for everyday driving, then touring tires are capable of being a better fit.
There’s a reason why most BMW X3 trims come with performance tires off the factory floor. This SUV delivers the kind of handling and acceleration that only a set of performance tires can enhance, be they all-season performance models or those which come-in handy in summer.
While there’s nobody doubting performance tires’ ability to make your X3’s driving more fun, let it be known that these models do not come cheap.
BMW X3 is one of the most popular small SUVs on the market. It combines the ride comfort of its larger counterparts with the kind of agile handling you can only get from a sub-urban vehicle of this size. However, if you install cheap tires, you won’t be able to enjoy any of these qualities. It’s thus recommended to pair this SUV with premium tires.