It was back in 2003 that BMW founded the new mid-size Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) segment with the launch of the X3. That means the X3 has been a shining example of sporty dynamics, premium ambience and robust agility, coupled with low fuel consumption, for over 10 years now.
As is typical for a small luxury crossover SAV, the X3 offers a high seating position, all-wheel-drive traction, solid build quality, and abundant equipment. However, it goes a few steps further with smooth engines and above average handling one would not normally expect from a luxury crossover.
Now the all-new third generation X3 is set to write the next chapter in this success story with an even more striking, dynamic design language, powerful yet also efficient drive systems and luxurious appointments. Like all members of the successful X family, it blends standout-driving qualities on any terrain with unrestricted everyday usability.
The all-new X3 elevates the already boldly dynamic design language of its predecessor to a new, even more eye-catching territory. The third generation of the pioneering premium mid-size Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) treads a familiar BMW X family path in combining rugged off-road looks with sporting presence.
The exterior dimensions of the all-new X3 may be largely unchanged, but its five-centimetre-longer wheelbase, long bonnet and extremely short front overhang with even more finely balanced proportions – which emphasise the perfect 50:50 distribution of weight between the front and rear axle – give it the edge over its predecessor.
At the front end, the chunky “three-dimensional” kidney grille treatment and fog lamps featuring a hexagonal design for the first time on a BMW X model underline the confident character of the all–new BMW X3. Moving to the rear, the light clusters, with a three-dimensional look in optional full-LED guise, markedly downward-sloping roof spoiler and twin exhaust tailpipes conclude matters design.
Entry-level performance is provided by the X3 20i. This particular X3 comes with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit, which delivers 135 kW (184 hp) and 270 Nm of torque. The dash from 0-100km/h is dealt with in 8.3 seconds, while top speed is 215 km/h. The engine consumes 7.2-litres per 100 kilometres covered. The X3 xDrive 30i incorporates a 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit with an output of 185 kW (252 hp) and 350 Nm of torque. This allows the xDrive 30i to sprint from 0 to 100km/h in just 6.3 seconds. Top speed is pegged at 240 km/h. Fuel consumption is 7.4l/100km
The most powerful variant, the X3 M40i heralds the arrival of the first ever M Performance Automobile in this model series. A new M Performance six-cylinder in-line engine powers the all-new range-topper. The 3.0-litre unit generates output of 265 kW (360 hp) and 500 Nm of torque. The all-new X3 M40i to sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.8 seconds and hit a top speed of 250 km/h. Yet despite the substantial power boost, the compact SAV burns just 8.2 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres on average. All the engine variants will team up as standard with an optimised version of the eight-speed Steptronic transmission.
As far as the chassis technology is concerned, the third generation of the all-new X3 continues to rely on its winning formula of a double-joint spring strut axle at the front and a five-link rear axle. At the same time, this refreshingly engaging Sports Activity Vehicle delivers an even sportier driving experience than its predecessor does without compromising on ride comfort. This is largely attributed to the chassis it shares with the 5-series.
All of the models available at the introduction of the all-new X3 are equipped with xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive as standard. The all-new model generation enjoys the benefits of both a more efficient and lighter rear differential and a modified transfer case, which made its debut in the current BMW 7 Series, operates far more efficiently and therefore represents yet another fuel-saving measure
In an effort to improve handling dynamics, roll moment has been redistributed a long way to the rear and the rear bias of BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system further increased. Intelligent AWD management allows adjustments to be made as the driving situation demands while still maintaining maximum traction. In its basic specification, the all-new X3 now rides on 18-inch light-alloy wheels (17-inch previously), while wheels up to 21 inches in diameter are available depending on the specification and engine variant
The interior of the all-new X3 follows BMW tradition with its driver-focused and ergonomically optimised cockpit layout and carries over many aspects of the car’s exterior design. The interior as a whole displays exceptional material quality, fit, and finish, and impresses functionality wise.
The all-new X3 can be ordered with a number of new, chiefly comfort enhancing equipment options not offered for its predecessor. These include three-zone automatic climate control, controls for the rear compartment to those for the driver and front passenger. The driver and front passenger can now also settle into perforated leather climate seats which, as well as seat heating for cold days, also offer active seat ventilation to maximise comfort when the going gets hotter.
To further, improve comfort in the rear compartment, the angle of the standard 40:20:40 split/folding rear seat backrests can be adjusted individually and through various stages thanks to the optional cargo function. This feature also allows the backrests to be released remotely from the load compartment, which expands the standard load capacity of 550 litres to 1,600 litres.
Customers can also give the interior a particularly airy and even classier feel with the generously sized panoramic glass roof. 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 and further reducing noise levels at high speeds, in particular.
With a new platform and new engines, the all-new X3 looks to reaffirm its standing in the compact SUV segment. The all-new model brings with it an arsenal of technology and manages to look even more stunning than its predecessor. There is less to dislike about the all-new X3, especially since now it comes with an M enhanced performance variant. Bavaria Auto Limited, a subsidiary of Simba Corporation, is the BMW brand custodian in Kenya. Their showroom is located along Mombasa Road on the outskirts of Nairobi City.
Quote: The interior of the all-new X3 follows BMW tradition with its driver-focused and ergonomically optimised cockpit layout and carries over many aspects of the car’s exterior design.
What we like
- Head turning design
- Refined tech
What we dislike
- Expensive optional extras
- Expensive top of the range variant