The BMW X3 has always been a popular all-rounder for everyday life. Combining versatility, efficiency, luxury, and BMW driving dynamics, it’s no wonder that it sells so well, with more than 1.5 million registrations from the first two generations alone. Now, for 2018, an all-new X3 is set to roll into showrooms, and the bar has officially been raised. Offered in three different model lines – xLine, Luxury Line, and M Sport – the new X3 brings new looks with standard acoustic glass up front to go with new LED headlights, LED fog lamps, new wheels, a sloped roof, and striking body lines. The redesigned interior is more luxurious than ever and offers an improvement in comfort and functionality while three engine options will bring anywhere between 184 and 360 horsepower of people hauling goodness to your beck and call. And, to top it all off, it’s also the first BMW SAV to be offered with a trailer hitch from the factory.
All told, the new X3 is faster, lighter, and more efficient than ever, with its coefficient of drag rated at just 0.29. It’s also offered with BMW’s CoPilot, which brings things like active cruise control, lane control assist, lane keep assist, and lane change assistant, all being offered as optional equipment. It’s set to go on sale in November of 2017, so let’s dive in and take a good look at what we can expect. After all; it does have to fight for supremacy among competitors like the Mercedes GLC, Audi Q5, and Range Rover Evoque.
EXTERIOR AND LOOK ;
The styling of the BMW X3 doesn’t stand out but tends to grow over you with time. There are quite a bit of X5 cues in the X3, which is certainly a good thing. The upright bonnet merges well with the forward slanting kidney grille and large almost rectangular headlights. The hood of the BMW X3 consists of six contour lines which sweep down towards the grille. The fog lights are placed quite high on the bumper, positioned right below the headlights. The headlights have signature BMW Corona Rings which function as daytime running lights.
The side profile shows the modest dimensions of this beast, with swooping lines further accentuated by chrome detailing around the windows and below the doors. The flared wheel arches along with short front and rear overhands further highlight the design characteristics of the BMW X3. The rear gets horizontal lines with T shaped LED tail lights positioned on the far extreme giving a wraparound appearance. Other exterior highlights include the aluminum roof rails, integrated rear spoiler and twin exhaust pipes. The xDrive30d model gets all aluminum kidney grille along with the XLine Pro exterior package, which consists of larger tyres and delicious Y shaped alloy wheels.
INTERIOR AND COMFORT ;
The interior of the new BMW X3 follows in the footsteps of the new 5-series. The hexagonal form, with its bevelled edges, plays a central role in the interior, and the layered effect used gives the beautifully built insides a big lift. The padded dash and door pads give the cabin a well-crafted look and the design of the digital-only instrument panel and central console complement each other perfectly. Not only is plastic quality and fit and finish top drawer, but what adds to this melange are the superbly crafted metallic highlights seen all over the cabin. We just love those chunky silvered-over window buttons. And that three-spoke M Sport steering wheel just hit the spot.When it comes to space, the cabin is only marginally larger than the second-generation X3; and much of this is due to the longer wheelbase. Still comfort levels are much higher. The new-generation seats have a wider and more comfortable base, the back and shoulder support are much improved and the front seats seem to have been upgraded from 3-series levels of comfort to 5-series levels.
There is a bit more space in the rear as well. Knee room is marginally more than the earlier X3, while the back rest is supportive around the shoulders and the lower back and because you are sat a bit higher, visibility out the front is also a bit nicer. Passengers sat in the rear get three-zone climate control and the rear seats can be split 40:20:40 for an expanded, seat-down capacity of a massive 1,600 litres.Elsewhere, the standard-fitted acoustic glazing of the windscreen contributes to the extremely low noise levels in the interior. The two front-side windows are also available with acoustic glazing as an option, ensuring that even less of the wind noise generated around the exterior mirror caps makes it into the interior.The new X3 also gets a few delightful features like the screen-based ‘display key’ familiar from the BMW 7-series and 5-series. It can be used to start the fans in the car to keep the air circulating, and if your car is parked in a secure area, you can even drop the windows to let the hot air out. And, uniquely the X3 even has an Ambient Air package, which allows owners to spread eight perfumes in three levels of intensity into the cabin.
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION ;
The BMW X3 is quite heavy at almost 1.9 tonnes but that in no way results in the vehicle being a slouch. With the 3.0-litre, 6-cylinder diesel motor churning out an impressive 258 BHP of power and tarmac scorching 560 Nm of torque, the BMW X3 is quick and eager throughout. Tap the throttle and the BMW X3 responds instantaneously, with turbo lag well contained and the motor delivering power in a linear manner. To put it into number perspective, the xDrive30d will rush to 100 km/hr in just 6.2 seconds, while the top speed is 230 km/hr. That is very quick for a vehicle of this size. The motor has good levels of refinement too and NVH is extremely low, with a sporty rasp audible at higher revvs.
Mated to this smooth Bavarian oilburner is a 8-speed automatic gearbox, which is quick with downshifts and upshifts alike. The gearbox responds to throttle inputs splendidly, shifting into the right gear without any second thoughts. The tiptronic function lets you take over shifting and there are three modes to alter gearshift speeds and throttle response – Normal, Sport and Sport+. The taller gearing in high gears enable the vehicle to cruise comfortably, thereby boosting efficiency. The X3 also gets several BMW EfficientDynamics technologies including a start-stop function and brake energy regeneration system.
DRIVING DYNAMICS ;
The new Bimmer certainly delivers in terms of performance. This is evident from the fact that it can accelerate from 0-100kmph in just 8.2 seconds! With Dynamic Damping Control, the BMW X3 adapts to meet your every wish: with the press of a button, you can activate any one of a range of settings and change the driving characteristics of your BMW X3. Dynamic Damping Control uses data collected by sensors throughout the BMX X3: each second, it gathers thousands of readings about the position of the steering wheel, the strength of lateral forces, wheel rotation speeds and much more. The system calculates the best possible setting for each individual wheel and continually adjusts its suspension accordingly.
SAFETY AND SECURITY ;
This model series is incorporated with several sophisticated features that safeguard the vehicle and its occupants. Its cabin is equipped with active head restraints along with six airbags, which minimizes the damage caused in case of any collision. There are three point seat belts given to all seats with pyrotechnic belt tensioner and load limiter facility. It also has seat belt reminder notification on instrument panel. The car maker has given it a rigid body structure with crumple zones and impact beams that reduces the impact of collision. Other features include anti lock braking system with brake assist, cornering brake control, electric parking brake with auto hold and hill descent control. In addition to these, it comes integrated with first aid kit including warning triangle, three point seat belts featuring belt tensioner including force limiter, runflat tyres with reinforced side walls and ISOFIX child seat mounting. Apart from these, it is also integrated with electronic vehicle immobilizer for preventing the vehicle from unauthorized entry, which includes a crash sensor.
When we first started seeing the next-gen X3 in the prototype stage, I mentioned that BMW would bring big changes to the front and rear fascias and that it better do something about those dated, circular fog lights. Sure enough, BMW did exactly that, and the new X3 looks better than ever. This generation represents a huge push from BMW to bring the best looks and power it can, and as it turns out, it did a pretty good job. The new front end is stylish and sporty, while the rear end has finally been refined enough to fit in with the modern SUVs on the road. The interior looks fresh, and it’s about time that the X3 got that floating infotainment display. The new trim design inside is also attractive and more functional than ever, which is just the icing on the cake when you consider the massive improvement to the M40i and the minor improvements to the lesser models. Very impressive for BMW at this point, and if you’re thinking about trading your current model in, it’s definitely worth the wait to get a 2018 model. What do you think about what BMW has brought forth with this new generation? Let us know in the comments section below.