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BMW X3

The independent definitive BMW X3 video review
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    THREE MARKET ECONOMY (some text hidden)

    By Jonathan Crouch

    The third generation BMW X3 is a premium mid-sized SUV with some very strong competition. Just as well then, that the Munich maker has delivered a very strong package. Jonathan Crouch takes a look at what's on offer.

    Ten Second Reviewword count: 60

    BMW's third generation X3 is a premium mid-sized SUV that's a larger, plusher and more powerfully efficient choice than its predecessor, stacking up impressively against prestigiously-badged alternatives from Audi, Mercedes, Jaguar and Volvo in this sector. Like its rivals, dynamically targeted almost exclusively towards on-road use, it's another example of just how car-like a model of this kind can be.

    Backgroundword count: 214

    It isn't often that BMW gets it wrong - and even when it does, it usually still manages to turn a profit. Their original X3 compact SUV was a case in point, launched in 2004 to more affordably extend the reach of this Bavarian brand's road-biased SUV model range following the success of the larger all-conquering X5. But early X3s felt cheap, rode poorly and, even by the modest tarmac-orientated standards of the class, were woefully short of any kind of off-road ability. The second generation version, launched in 2010, was much better, but - in this country at least - it still lagged behind its arch-rival Audi's Q5, in terms of perceived desirability. Much has changed since 2010 of course. BMW launched a second generation X1 model in late 2015 that trod uncomfortably on the toes of lower X3 derivatives. And the X3's task was made even harder by the launch in 2016 of a Mercedes entrant (the GLC) in the mid-sized premium-badged SUV segment and the introduction of a second generation Audi Q5 model in early 2017, to join other key rivals like Volvo's XC60, Jaguar's F-PACE, Alfa Romeo's Stelvio and the Lexus NX. It all means that the X3 needs to re-assert itself. Can this third generation model do just that?

    Driving Experienceword count: 246

    You might think that sandwiched between the X1 and the X5, the X3 wouldn't have to spread its talents too broadly, but such is the span of rivals of this size that this third generation X3 needs to cater for quite different customer expectations in the compact luxury SUV segment. If those expectations extend towards a dynamic driving experience, then the X3 comes well prepared. With ideal 50:50 weight distribution, a finely honed chassis and xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive, linked to Dynamic Stability Control, this SUV proudly shows off the handling characteristics for which the Munich maker is renowned. To further improve dynamics, the car is now lighter and rear bias of BMW's xDrive all-wheel-drive system has been increased. As for engines, well as before, most buyers will choose a diesel, probably the 190bhp 2.0-litre xDrive 20d variant. There's also a 265bhp straight-six xDrive30d diesel derivative. And a potent 326hp M40d variant. BMW thinks that petrol power will get more of a take-up this time round, so is offering an entry-level xDrive 20i version, plus there's a range-topping 360bhp X3 M40i variant to take on rivals like Audi's SQ5. There's also a plug-in hybrid petrol version, the 252hp xDrive30e. As usual with the brand, there's an optional Dynamic Damper Control system, optional Variable sport steering and an optional sports braking set-up. BMW also boasts that a fording depth of 500 millimetres gives this SUV decent off road ability too. Across the range, 8-speed auto transmission is standard.

    To see the full road test text contact us on 0330 0020 227

    Pictures (high res disabled)

    Statistics (subset of data only)

    Min

    Max

    0-62 mph (s):

    8

    Combined mpg:

    56.5

    CO2 (g/km):

    132

    188

    Max Speed (mph):

    132

    Price:

    38880

    51280

    Scoring (subset of scores)

    Category: Crossover or SUV 4x4s

    Performance
    80%
    Handling
    80%
    Comfort
    80%
    Space
    80%
    Styling, Build, Value, Equipment, Depreciation, Handling, Insurance and Total scores are available with our full data feed.

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