BMW has revealed an all-new version of its mid-size X3 4×4, offering class-leading fuel economy and sophisticated chassis electronics at a lower price.
The original BMW X3’s slightly gawky looks have been replaced by modern BMW visuals that very much give the new X3 the appearance of a junior BMW X5.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.
A ‘Sports Activity 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 – automatic gearbox. Variable ratio steering also becomes optional for the first time, reducing the steering effort needed in all situations.
At present the new BMW X3 comes with permanent four-wheel drive as standard, which works in conjunction with 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 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 from 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds and hits 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 becomes the first BMW sold in the UK to feature an eight-speed automatic in combination with Auto Start-Stop technology.
Auto Start-Stop is also standard on the manual transmission, but this can offers a mere six gear ratios, and therefore 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 and filled with numerous cubbyholes and storage options. It features between 550 and 1,600 litres of bootspace, 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 that includes ‘Top View’, a 360-degree visual aid similar to the Infiniti ‘Around View’ system.
Pricing for the all-new BMW X3 xDrive20d starts at £30,490. That’s £115 less than the current version, despite increased levels of fitted kit. We’re expecting the new BMW X3 to go on sale later this year.
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