New BMW X3 2024 revealed: family SUV gets longer hybrid range

Fourth-generation BMW X3 family SUV gets bolder looks, new tech and a longer plug-in hybrid range...

BMW X3 SUV silver front driving

Price from £46,800 | On sale Winter 2024

Every premier league football team goes into a match with a firm strategy in mind. The BMW X3 has always arrived on the pitch with sporty handling, a classy interior and a superb infotainment system, making it a fearsome opponent to the Audi Q5, Mercedes GLC and other premium family SUV rivals. The competition is hotting up, though, and the all-new, fourth-generation X3 has been through some tough team talks to keep it at the top of its game. 

It’s longer, wider and lower than its predecessor, to give it a less boxy look. LED front and rear lights are standard and adaptive headlights that can shape their beams around oncoming traffic are optional, as is an illuminated version of the new-look front grille. Depending on which model you choose, the X3 comes with either 18in or 19in wheels, but you can choose from wheel sizes of up to 21in.

Of particular interest to company car drivers is the plug-in hybrid xDrive30e model, which combines a 2.0-litre petrol engine with an electric motor to produce a combined 295bhp. Its CO2 output of 21g/km puts it into the 8% benefit-in-kind tax band for company car drivers.

Officially, the 30e’s 19.7kWh (usable capacity) battery provides a range of up to 56 miles on a charge – far more than the 32 miles the old plug-in hybrid X3 could manage and potentially enough to let you cover your commute without using a drop of fuel. The 30e can charge at speeds of up to 11kW, and you’ll need to top up its battery regularly to get close to its official fuel economy figure of 313.9mpg.

BMW X3 SUV silver rear driving

Meanwhile, the regular 2.0-litre petrol xDrive20 model develops 205bhp and completes the 0-62mph sprint in 7.8sec. For high-mileage drivers, the xDrive20d’s 194bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine promises fuel economy of 48.7mpg (officially), compared with the xDrive20’s 40.9mpg.

If you’re looking for more performance, the range-topping M50 xDrive features a 393bhp 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol engine that allows the X3 to sprint from 0-62mph in just 4.6sec. Despite that power, fuel economy for the M50 isn’t far behind that of the xDrive20, at 36.7mpg. Both engines benefit from mild hybrid electrical assistance to aid performance and efficiency.

A new BMW iX3 electric SUV will join the line-up next year, with a larger battery promising a longer range than the 285 miles the current iX3 can officially manage. That extra range, combined with an overhauled look inside and out, should help the iX3 to better take the fight to rivals such as the Audi Q4 e-tron and Mercedes EQC.

BMW X3 SUV interior

Inside, the new X3 takes inspiration from the larger, electric-only BMW iX, with its digital instrument panel and infotainment screen presented along a single panel. In a potentially retrograde step, the previous X3’s physical air-con controls have been ditched in favour of touch-sensitive icons on the latter screen.

While some of BMW’s smaller models – including the recently facelifted 2 Series – have lost the brand’s rotary infotainment controller between the front seats, it’s still there in the X3. That’s a good thing, because we find that using a physical dial is easier than using touch controls. BMW’s infotainment system usually sets the standard for usability, and in the X3 it includes options for video streaming and even gaming on demand via a subscription. Phone integration for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay is standard.

Alongside a new flat-bottomed steering wheel and rocker-style gear selector, the new X3 features electrically adjustable, heated front seats as standard, with artificial and real leather upholstery options. Standard equipment includes three-zone climate control, wireless phone charging and four USB-C charging ports.

BMW X3 SUV rear seats

Space for occupants in the current X3 is similar to that offered in the Q5, and we’d expect the same to be true of this new model, despite its larger dimensions. However, boot space has increased slightly over that of the old X3, to 570 litres. The new model should at least match the eight carry-on suitcases that the existing X3 can swallow – the same as the Land Rover Discovery Sport but one less than the Q5. The boot capacity drops to 460 litres in the xDrive30e, due to the need to accommodate ts battery. 

For those who need to tow a trailer, a towbar that extends and retracts electrically is on the options list, and the X3 can pull up to 2500kg – for example, a large caravan.

BMW X3 SUV silver side

Prices for the new X3 start at £46,800 for the xDrive20 and rise to £64,990 for the M50. That means the new X3 will undercut the Q5 and GLC, as well as the Volvo XC60. The Discovery Sport, however, is slightly cheaper (from £43,445 at the time of writing).

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