The SUV segment has been booming for at least a decade, and is showing no signs of slowing down. Automakers are having their work cut out introducing new SUVs while maintaining their existing lineup, which is exactly what BMW is doing with the new X3.
This new third-generation claims to be up to 55 kg lighter than its predecessor despite having remained almost unchanged in terms of dimensions. The characteristic long bonnet and 50:50 weight distribution demonstrates that the Germans still know how to make a great car, and not all models will take the front-wheel-drive 2 Series Active Tourer route.
BMW claims to have used 2 primary themes inside - hexagonal patterns and pinpoint precision. But it’s not all about how a car looks, it needs to be functional too, as is demonstrated by the standard 40:20:40 split folding rear seats, which hide a 550-litre boot (equal to those of the Audi Q5 and Mercedes GLC).
All models get 3-zone climate control, LED headlights and tail lights and leather upholstery, including entry-level SE. This model comes with 18-inch wheels, however xLine and M Sport feature 19-inch wheels as standard. xLine makes use of a rugged bodystyling kit, whereas M Sport takes you down the route of sporting aerodynamics.
Top-of-the-range M Sport also upgrades the standard Business Navigation to a 10.3-inch touchscreen with gesture control, as initially seen in the 7 Series. Just like with the new 5 and 7 Series, the next-generation X3 gains the new BMW Display Key.
That’s the luxury side dealt with, how about the SUV side? Is it useable? Its approach, departure and break-over angles are 25.7, 22.6 and 19.4 degrees respectively, which are on-par and slightly less than its rivals. Despite this, its 50cm wading depth is a staggering 20cm more than the Mercedes GLC.
In terms of safety, the X3 is where it should be when it comes to driverless technology.
Nothing groundbreaking, but all the good stuﬀ we have come to expect. Active Cruise Control operates even in stop/start traﬃc situations. Couple that with the Lane Change and Lane Keep Assistants and you have yourself a virtually self-driving car.
From launch, BMW’s mid-size SUV will come with one four-cylinder and two straight-six engines. The ﬁrst, the 20d, will produce 190 hp and 400 Nm. Reaching 62 mph in 8.0 seconds, it will even keep up with some warm hatches! Next up is the 30d with 265 hp and 620 Nm (an additional 80). Many hot hatches have something to worry about when they discover its 0-62 mph time is a mere 5.8 seconds. It will even return a claimed 49.6 mpg.
Lastly is the range-topping M40i. With an extra 54 hp (360) and an astonishing 100 Nm (500), it will reach 62 mph in 4.8 seconds, 0.1 s quicker than the Mercedes-AMG GLC 43. Both the Jaguar F-Pace and Mercedes GLC oﬀer a lower-powered 170 hp and 163 hp (respectively) diesel engine in the name of improved fuel economy, while Volvo opts only for four-cylinder engines in its upcoming XC60.
This is the only car to oﬀer a plug-in hybrid, however things could change with the X3 with many of its cars now featuring this powertrain.
Prices for the new X3 start at a little under £39,000, which is signiﬁcantly more expensive than the Jaguar F-Pace, Audi Q5 and even the Mercedes GLC, with books opening on the 11th of November.