BMW has revealed an all-new version of its mid-size X3 SUV that offers class leading fuel economy, sophisticated chassis electronics – and a lower price.
The original BMW X3‘s slightly gawky looks have been replaced by modern BMW visuals that give the new X3 the appearance of a junior BMW X5. But it’s the technology under the skin that’s likely to set this car apart in the sector.
Active and sporty vehicle
BMW describes the X3 as a Sports Activity Vehicle, and to this end it is available with the latest BMW Drive Dynamic Control system.
With a choice of Normal, Sport and Sport+ modes this fine-tunes the suspension, steering, throttle, engine, stability control and – where fitted – the automatic gearbox. Variable ratio steering also becomes optional for the first time, reducing the steering effort needed in all situations.
At present the new X3 comes with permanent four-wheel drive as standard, which works in conjunction with the Dynamic Stability Control to detect and correct the onset of understeer or oversteer as early as possible.
However, don’t bet against a two-wheel drive variant appearing at some point – BMW has already employed this tactic in the smaller X1.
147g/km thanks to eight-speed auto
Two-wheel drive would have the benefit of further reducing the X3’s emissions and boosting its fuel economy. But even as a four-wheel drive model it goes straight to the top of the premium mid-size SUV class.
The only details available so far are for the X3 xDrive20d. Powered by a 181bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine, BMW says this new car will emit just 149g/km CO2 and return 50.4mpg (figures according to official EU testing cycles). Yet it sprints 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds and reaches 130mph.
Specify the optional automatic gearbox and the emissions drop to 147g/km CO2 with every other parameter remaining the same. This is possible because the X3 is the first BMW sold in the UK to feature an eight-speed automatic in combination with stop-start technology.
Stop-start is also standard on the manual transmission, but here it offers a mere six gear ratios, so can’t match the auto’s efficiency.
Extra standard kit, cheaper price
On the inside the new BMW X3 is said to be roomier than its predecessor with 550 litres of bootspace, increasing to 1,600 litres with the back seats folded. There are also numerous cubbyholes and storage options, and this model comes with Nevada leather upholstery and two-zone air conditioning.
A 6.5-inch screen for the iDrive system is also standard, but this can be upgraded to an 8.8-inch display by choosing the Professional Multimedia package, including satellite navigation, USB connection, Bluetooth, voice control and BMW Assist (£2,465).
Other options include a head-up display, panoramic roof, adaptive lighting and a reversing camera with Top View, which provides a 360-degree view, similar to the Around View system fitted to Infiniti models.
Pricing for the all-new BMW X3 xDrive20d starts at £30,490 – which is £115 less than the current version despite increased levels of fitted kit.
It is on sale later this year.