SUVs are big business in 2017 and one of the most sought-after models in this mid-size SUV market is BMW’s X3.
More than 1.5 million X3s have been shifted since its first introduction in 2003 and that figure is about to grow considerably from November when the latest X3 goes on sale.
The third-generation BMW X3 does the usual classy SUV trick of playing rugged off-road looks against a sporty presence and premium interior and the new model is set to cement the X3’s reputation as one of the most dynamically competent and technologically advanced cars in its class, according to the German carmaker.
Looking at the all-new X3, you wouldn’t think much has changed. It’s the same size as the preceding model with exterior dimensions virtually untouched. The most notable cosmetic changes are a 5cm extension to the wheelbase and a new light signature on the front headlights, but on the whole, the X3 looks much the same, inside and out.
However, the real changes are beneath the surface. The new generation car sees the introduction of a new performance flagship, the M40i – the first ever M Performance vehicle in the X3 line-up – a move intended to emphasise the class-leading dynamic appeal of the model.
A whole host of driver assistance and connectivity systems have also been lumped into the new car to make it one of the most advanced and safest models in the segment.
Those points aside, the X3 just knuckles down and gets on with what it has always been good at: premium, comfortable SUVing.
As you’d expect for an SUV, the X3 is a capable off-road tool, with an approach angle of 25.7° and 22.6° departure angle, together with a breakover angle of 19.4° to allow plenty of margin for negotiating steep sections or crests.
It also has a fording depth of 500 millimetres, enabling the X3 to tackle most obstacles with ease.
Engine options comprise two diesels – the four-cylinder xDrive20d and straight-six xDrive30d – and that three-litre straight six M40i petrol mentioned earlier, which promises a 4.8-second 0-62mph sprint.
Equipment is split over three trim levels: SE, xLine and M Sport. The base model rides on 18-inch light-alloy wheels (17-inch previously) and includes Vernasca leather seats as standard, as well as high gloss interior trim with pearl chrome highlights, sport steering wheel, interior ambient lighting, business navigation and park assist with a rear parking camera.
The xLine trim adds sports seats finished in Vernasca leather, while M Sport gets a bespoke leather steering wheel, M-specific sports seats, anthracite-coloured BMW individual headlining, new interior trim strips in aluminium rhombicle and BMW’s 10.3-inch touchscreen professional navigation system.
Prices start from £38,880 for the entry-level xDrive 20d before extras, increasing to £44,380 for the 30d and £51,280 for the M40i.
The new X3 goes on sale from November 11th 2017.