The third-generation BMW X3 combines rugged off-road looks with a greater sporting presence. It builds further on its reputation as one of the most dynamically competent and technologically advanced SUVs in its class, whilst retaining its premium image. The new model also brings in a new 2.0-litre petrol engine alongside the familiar diesel offering, plus a new performance flagship, the M40i – the first ever M Performance vehicle in the X3 line-up, emphasising the class-leading dynamic appeal of the model.
A whole range of Driver Assistance systems also ensure it is one of the most advanced, as well as safest cars in its class, with multi-platform connectivity that reaches new levels.
The exterior dimensions of the BMW X3 are largely unchanged, but its five-centimetre-longer wheelbase, long bonnet and short front overhang emphasise its 50:50 weight distribution between front and rear axle. At the front, the chunky three-dimensional kidney grille and LED fog lamps feature a hexagonal design for the first time on a BMW X model. Moving to the rear, the three-dimensional LED light clusters, downward-sloping roof spoiler and twin exhaust pipes further enhance the appearance.
The interior of the X3 follows BMW tradition with a driver-focused and ergonomically designed cockpit. Hexagonal forms and precise, bevelled edges are a distinct design theme. The material quality and fit and finish are of a class above what you’d expect for a mid-range SUV, as you’d expect from a BMW, while it is also impressively functional, with more cabin storage compared to its predecessor.
With ideal 50:50 weight distribution, a finely-honed chassis and xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive, linked to Dynamic Stability Control, the X3 proudly shows off the handling characteristics for which BMW is renowned.
Furthermore, the standard Driving Experience Control switch lets the driver choose between various configurations – ECO PRO, COMFORT, SPORT and SPORT + modes (only on the 30i, 30d and M40i) – designed to make the vehicle more dynamic, more comfortable or more efficient to drive.
Engines and Powertrains.
The X3 model line-up consists of the xDrive20d with four-cylinder diesel engine, the xDrive30d with a straight-six diesel unit and the xDrive20i engine variant, plus the range topping petrol model, the BMW X3 M40i.
All of the models available are equipped with xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive as standard. The system now features a lighter rear differential and a modified transfer case, which made its debut in the current BMW 7 Series, aiding efficiency and helping with the car’s 50:50 weight distribution.
This model boasts a class-leading drag coefficient of Cd = 0.29. Reducing aerodynamic drag not only helps lower fuel consumption, but also has a beneficial effect on noise levels.