BMW has announced its new third-generation BMW X3 which will arrive in the UK in November. The new model brings in a new 2.0-litre petrol engine alongside the familiar diesel offering, plus a new performance flagship, the M40i – the first ever M Performance vehicle in the X3 line-up.
The exterior dimensions of the new BMW X3 are largely unchanged, but it has a five-centimetre-longer wheelbase, a long bonnet and short front overhang that emphasise its 50:50 weight distribution between front and rear axle.
The three trim variants each have an individual appearance. The SE model features LED Headlights and taillights as standard, along with aluminium satinated roof rails and a new 18-inch wheel. The xLine model gets a satin/aluminium radiator grille, more rugged front and rear bumpers with silver metallic side sills along with 19-inch xLine specific wheels.
The sports-oriented M Sport model focuses on the X3’s dynamic ability, with M aerodynamic features, optional blue-painted brake callipers, a 19-inch wheel design and the optional exterior paint shade of Phytonic Blue.
The SE features Vernasca leather seats as standard, high gloss interior trim with pearl chrome highlights, sport steering wheel and interior ambient lighting which directs a soft stream of light downwards from below the accent strip. Customers can choose from six colour tones – Orange, Lilac, Mint, Bronze, Blue and White. The car has standard Business Navigation and Park Assist (including a rear parking camera).
The all-new X3 features three-zone automatic climate control as standard. This feature adds separate temperature controls for the rear compartment to those for the driver and front passenger. 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 rear comfort seat. 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.
One option is a generously sized panoramic glass roof, while acoustic windscreen glazing contributes to extremely low noise levels in the cabin. The two front side windows are also available with acoustic glazing as an option, ensuring that even less wind noise makes it into the interior.
The new BMW X3 can be locked and unlocked using the optional BMW Display Key found on the BMW 5 Series and 7 Series. The Display Key offers a series of additional features, keeping the driver informed of fuel levels and any service or maintenance work due, and letting them know that the windows and sunroof are closed. Plus, it can also be used to operate the optional auxiliary heating.
The standard Driving Experience Control switch lets the driver choose between various configurations – ECO PRO, COMFORT, SPORT and SPORT+ modes (only on the 30i, 30d and M40i) – designed to make the vehicle more dynamic, more comfortable or more efficient to drive. There is a considerable reduction in unsprung mass, thanks to aluminium swivel bearings and lighter tubular anti-roll bars.
The rear bias of BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system is increased. Intelligent AWD management allows adjustments to be made as the driving situation demands, while still maintaining maximum traction.
In basic specification, the new X3 has 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 sports suspension that forms part of the M Sport package can also be ordered as a separate option. It offers firmer suspension and damping and beefs up the anti-roll bars. Alternatively, there is also the option of Dynamic Damper Control with electronically controlled dampers, which adapts the damper responses to the road surface and driving conditions.
At the same time, the driver can use the Driving Experience Control switch to vary the suspension characteristics as they please between the more comfortable and sportier ends of the scale.
The sports braking system included with the M Sport package is available as an individual option, or as part of the M Sport Plus Package. The blue-painted aluminium four-piston fixed calipers at the front and amply proportioned brake discs have high levels of thermal resistance and deliver phenomenal stopping power despite their extremely low weight.
Variable sport steering is standard on the BMW X3 M40i and xDrive 30d, and can be specified as an option on the two litre diesel and petrol.
As far as the off-road side is concerned, the BMW X3 has an approach angle (25.7°) and departure angle (22.6°), together with a breakover angle of 19.4°, create plenty of margin for negotiating steep sections or crests. The fording depth is 500 millimetres.
From launch, the X3 model line-up consists of the xDrive20d with four-cylinder diesel engine, the xDrive30d with a straight-six diesel units.
These will soon be followed by the xDrive20i engine variant, and the range-topping petrol model, the BMW X3 M40i. Improvements have also been made to the eight-speed Steptronic transmission and the BMW xDrive intelligent all- wheel-drive system to add efficiency.
The diesel units have a turbocharger with variable turbine geometry as well as a common-rail direct injection system generating injection pressures of up to 2,500 bar. Emission control is handled in both cases by BMW BluePerformance technology, comprising a particulate filter, oxidation and NOx absorption catalysts, plus an SCR catalytic converter with AdBlue injection.
The 3.0-litre straight-six under the bonnet of the new xDrive30d delivers 261 bhp and peak torque has been increased to 457 ft lb between 2,000 and 2,500 rpm. Zero to 62 mph takes just 5.8 seconds and it can reach a top speed of 149 mph. It returns average fuel consumption of 49.6 mpg imp, while CO2 emissions have been cut to an average figure of 149 g/km (a reduction of 7 g/km).
Finally, the xDrive20d has an unchanged power output of 187 bhp, 295ft lb of torque and does zero to 62mph in 8.0 seconds, with a top speed of 132mph. All the engine variants are equipped with an eight-speed Steptronic transmission, matched to the power unit’s specific performance characteristics.
All of the models available at launch are equipped with xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive as standard. The system now features a lighter rear differential and a modified transfer case, which made its debut in the current BMW 7 Series, aiding efficiency and helping with the car’s 50:50 weight distribution.
Weight reduction was a key factor in the development of the new X3. As well as using more plastics and state-of the-art composites, the increased use of aluminium in the engine and suspension has reduced the weight of the relevant assemblies. As a result, the new X3 is up to 55kg lighter than its predecessor, depending on model.
The new X3 boasts what BMW says is a class-leading drag coefficient of Cd = 0.29.
The X3 also features additional cladding that provides underbody sealing. Other aerodynamic enhancements include a roof spoiler with aero edges at the sides and Active Air Stream, which regulates the flow of cooling air for the engine, brakes and air conditioning.
When it comes to driver assistance and semi-automated driving, all the systems currently offered by BMW are available, such as Active Cruise Control (ACC), whose capabilities include braking the car to a halt in stop-and-go traffic and automatically pulling away again. The optional Head-Up Display allows the most important driving-related information to be projected directly into the driver’s field of vision.
Meanwhile, the standard built-in SIM card allows drivers of the new X3 to use Intelligent Emergency Call with automatic locating and accident severity detection. With the latest version of BMW Teleservice Accident Assistance, the vehicle now also detects low-speed collisions below the threshold for airbag deployment.
The digital services from BMW Connected bring intelligent connectivity to the new X3 and connect the car with the user’s digital world. With the help of the Open Mobility Cloud platform, the digital services connect to the X3 via devices such as smartphones or smartwatches, resulting in seamless connectivity. Customers can use the Amazon Echo Alexa voice service to check the fuel level of their new X3, for instance, lock the vehicle via Remote Services or activate the ventilation function, all by voice control from home.
BMW Connected can be used to learn a driver’s normal routines or read calendar appointments and then provide notifications on when to leave based on real time traffic information, even prior to leaving home. BMW says it is the first carmaker to offer Microsoft Office 365 users a secure server connection for exchanging and editing emails, calendar entries and contact details thanks to the car’s built-in Microsoft Exchange function. The options list includes a WiFi hotspot offering a high-speed internet connection (LTE) for up to ten mobile devices. Apple CarPlay is also available offering wireless access to selected iOS apps.
The 2017 BMW X3 is available from 11 November 2017, prices start from £38,800.