Price from: £38,800 Release date: November 2017
Time is a cruel mistress. Just five years ago, we named the BMW X3 as our Large SUV of the Year – and then, one year later, we did it again. From then onwards, though, the X3 was surpassed by stronger competition, most recently in the form of the Audi Q5. The old car became an also-ran – a very credible one, but no longer a class leader. Understandably, BMW wants another shot at the title.
Say hello, then, to this all-new BMW X3. It’s due to go on sale in November, when it’ll face competition from the Land Rover Discovery Sport, Mercedes GLC and Volvo XC60 as well as the aforementioned Audi.
This X3’s styling is evolutionary over the old car, and its dimensions remain broadly the same. That’s no bad thing, though, because providing space for people and luggage has always been the X3’s strength. Luggage space is also unchanged, but with 550 litres available the X3 matches the Q5 – although both cars fall short of the Discovery Sport. The X3 features split-folding rear seats as standard, too, allowing you to significantly extend the boot space for bulky loads.
What engines can I choose from on the BMW X3?
From launch, drivers can choose from two diesel and one petrol engine in the new X3. The entry-level diesel, the xDrive 20d, is likely to be the biggest seller and was our favoured engine on the old car. With CO2 emissions of 132g/km and official fuel economy of 56.5mpg, it’s the cleanest option in the range.
The xDrive30d, meanwhile, gets 261bhp and emits 149g/km while returning an official 49.6mpg.
Drivers wanting the pace to match sporty rivals such as the Audi SQ5 and Porsche Macan Turbo can choose the M40i. Powered by a 3.0-litre, six-cylinder petrol engine with 355bhp, it’s capable of sprinting to 62mph in 4.8 seconds. Bear in mind, though, that it’ll also cost you the most to run.
A further petrol version, the xDrive20i, will join the range in the coming months. As their names suggest, BMW’s xDrive four-wheel drive system comes as standard. All engines are connected to an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
Interestingly, a plug-in hybrid version of the X3 is also under development, as is a fully electric model which is set to arrive in 2020. That version will be badged as the X3e, and will be pitched as a direct rival to Jaguar’s upcoming E-Pace and the Tesla Model X.
BMW’s Driving Experience Control system comes as standard, and allows drivers to choose between Eco Pro, Comfort and Sport modes, which adjust the engine, steering and gearbox for different conditions.
What equipment can I get on the BMW X3?
Inside, the new X3 borrows much of its ambiance from the 5 Series saloon – which let’s not forget is our Car of the Year for 2017. Leather seats come as standard, while drivers can adjust the car’s ambient lighting to one of six colours.
The middle of the dashboard is dominated by BMW’s iDrive infotainment screen, which in the X3 measures 10.3in across. As we’ve found in the 5 Series, this latest version of iDrive is very easy to use, and is slick in its responses. In fact, thanks to its clear menus and crisp graphics, it’s one of the best infotainment and navigation systems around.
The car’s options list now includes a panoramic glass roof, and acoustic window glazing to minimize road noise at speed. Although the X3 comes with 18-in alloy wheels as standard, wheels of up to 21-in are available.
Available driver assistance systems include adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assistance, and owners can control their smartphones using Apple CarPlay.
How much will the BMW X3 cost?
Prices for the new X3 start from £38,800, making it more expensive than the old model to the tune of £4345. That said, the X3 does remain competitive against its key rival, with the Audi Q5 priced from £38,035. That said, the Land Rover Discovery Sport remains a veritable bargain by comparison, from £28,355.
The old X3 was available with very attractive PCP payments, particularly for our recommended xDrive20d engine. Given time, we’d expect the same to be true of this new model.
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