The all-new BMW X3 has been on a diet, sharpened up its act and can practically drive itself, to take the load off drivers on long motorway drives. In a country where SUVs sell quickly, the X3 looks like a guaranteed hit.
Still very recognisable as its mediumsized SUV, BMW is a long way from introducing a new design language here, but from every angle the X3 has been subtly nipped and tucked. We’ve seen the kidney grille receive tweaks recently, and here the grille surround sits proud of the bodywork for a “three-dimensional” look. The front bumper is more aggressively styled and features hexagonal front fog lights for the first time in an ‘X’ model. BMW has kept the X3 virtually the same size as before, but a five centimetre increase in its wheelbase means the front and rear overhangs are shorter, while BMW has introduced side vents behind the front wheels for a further sporting touch. The changes at the rear are arguably more noticeable than at the front, with a downward-curved rear spoiler and sculpted bumper helping the X3 look more athletic, echoing its 55 kilograms weight loss. Standard LED rear lights add to the precise, sculpted looks. Choose the M Sport version and there are optional blue brake calipers, 19-inch alloy wheels and a new colour called Phytonic Blue.
Its interior has come in for big changes, with the main display now perched on the dashboard instead of within the fascia, as owners of the new 5 Series will be familiar with. This gives the dashboard a more slimline aesthetic, and quality appears to have improved too. The BMW ‘X’ logo is dotted around the cabin, and the X3 now has a digital instrument cluster to rival the Audi Q5’s ‘Virtual Cockpit’. Gesture control will be offered along with BMW Personal CoPilot, which links features like adaptive cruise control and lane assist to bring the car to a stop in traffic and automatically pull away again.
Passengers can individually adjust the angle of the backrests on the 40:20:40 splitfolding rear seats, or fold them down using handles in the boot. Luggage space of 550 litres is found behind the seats and 1,600 litres with the rear chairs folded down. Trim levels are SE, xLine and M Sport, with even the entry-level version getting full-LED headlights, 18-inch alloy wheels, aluminium roof rails, leather upholstery, a navigation system, ambient cabin lighting, Park Assist and a reversing camera. The xLine trim brings more rugged bumpers, 19-inch wheels and an aluminium grille and side sills, along with upgraded leather upholstery. As well as its exterior changes, the X3 M Sport has a bespoke steering wheel, sports seats, anthracite headlining and aluminium interior trim. It also gets the BMW Professional Navigation system with a 10.3-inch screen. The BMW Display Key is also offered with the new X3, with its own display that can remind you of the fuel level and whether any windows have been left open. At launch there are two diesel engines, with BMW’s xDrive four-wheel-drive system and an eight-speed automatic transmission as standard. The 2.0-litre diesel unit in the xDrive20d is relatively unchanged, with 187bhp and 295lb ft of torque providing 0-62mph acceleration in 8 seconds dead. Fuel economy sits at 56.5mpg and CO2 emissions are respectable at 132g/km. The xDrive30d powerplant is new and impressively quick, dispatching 0-62mph in 5.8 seconds thanks to the 261bhp and 457lb ft of torque from its straight-six engine. It can return 49.6mpg and emits 149g/km of CO2 in SE guise. The BMW X3 is on sale from 11th November, with the xDrive20d SE priced from £38,800 and the more powerful xDrive30d SE beginning at £44,380.