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2014 BMW X3 review - PREPARING FOR QUICK TURNAROUND

  • Face-lifted X3 driven on US roads
  • Better economy and lower CO2 emissions
  • On sale now, from Β£30,995
Words ByJohn McIlroy

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The existing BMW X3 was our overall SUV of the Year back in 2013, and now it's getting some cosmetic tweaks and more efficient engines to help it improve its game further.

The new look incorporates different front and rear bumpers, revised headlights that look a little sleeker than the ones they replace, and a new surround for the double-kidney grille. It's a refresh that's designed to make the X3 look more like its big brother, the recently-relaunched X5.

Inside, you get more chrome detailing, a different centre console, a leather steering wheel as standard across the range, and an updated infotainment system that includes the latest iDrive rotary controller, complete with integrated touch-pad on the top. BMW has also added an automatic parking system, a gesture-controlled electric rear hatch, a head-up display and auto-dipping headlights to the options list.

The changes to the engine line-up are more significant. The rear-wheel-drive X3 sDrive18d gets a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbodiesel engine with 148bhp and 266lb ft. When equipped with a six-speed manual transmission (an eight-speed auto is optional), it returns combined fuel economy of 56.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 131g/km; these figures are only slightly better than the outgoing version, but at least 20g/km ahead of anything in the (admittedly four-wheel-drive) Audi Q5 line-up.

There are revised four-wheel-drive diesels; the xDrive20d has 187bhp and 295lb ft, and delivers 52.3mpg and 143g/km of CO2 emissions (again, at least 10g/km under any comparable Audi Q5). The six-cylinder options come are only available with the eight-speed automatic gearbox. There's a 254bhp, 413lb ft xDrive30d (47.9mpg and 156g/km) and the range-topping xDrive35d with 309bhp, 465lb ft, 47.1mpg and 157g/km.

The options list also includes more aerodynamic alloy wheels and low rolling-resistance tyres on all editions bar the xDrive35d; this feature cuts CO2 emissions by a further 7g/km, taking the sDrive18d down to an impressive 124g/km.

The rest of the package is largely unchanged; the wheelbase is the same as before, so interior space is the same. The boot capacity is unchanged too, at 550 litres with the rear seats in place or 1600 litres with them folded down.

Three trim levels are on offer: SE, xLine and M Sport. Entry-level SE brings, DAN radio, leather seats, dual-zone air-conditioning, cruise control, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, front and rear parking sensors, rain-sensing wipers and automatic headlights while xLine costs an additional Β£1500 but adds 18in alloy wheels, different leather seats, a sports leather steering wheel and chrome flourishes on the body panels.

M Sport is a further Β£1500 beyond xLine but you get bespoke aerodynamic tweaks, 19in alloy wheels, torque vectoring, sports suspension and an M Sport leather steering wheel as standard.

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