The BMW X3 is a compact luxury SUV that offers more room than BMW’s extra-small SUV – the X1, without being as large as its midsize X5. The X3 offers a perfect balance of performance potency and passenger friendly comfort features The X3 is a mix of practicality, fuel efficiency and performance.
The X3 enjoys stylish slimmer headlights, a larger grille and revised front and rear bumpers. The rear exhibits a new look via restyled tail lights.
BMW has also fiddled with the X3’s engines. It has discontinued the plug-in hybrid model – the xDrive30e, so all that’s left is the four-cylinder in the sDrive30i and xDrive40i and the six-cylinder in the M40i.
Serious competition can be found in everything from the Audi Q5 to the subtle Volvo XC60 to the stirring Alfa Romeo Stelvio.
While delivering luxury and practicality, the new BMW X3 SUV channels sports sedans from BMW’s past to blend driving fun into the equation. Its balanced chassis and well-tuned steering make it a surprisingly willing partner on twisty roads. The X3’s interior cabin is comfortable and upscale if conservative in its design. It’s a nice place to spend time.
BMW has incorporated plenty of technology into the X3, including two digital dashboard displays as well as a host of driver-assistance features. Overall, the X3 is well-rounded, but it’s the agile handling and gutsy turbo engines that make it one of the favourite BMWs.
The BMW X3 incorporates new wheel designs and tweaked exhaust tips. The base X3 is available with an M Sport appearance package which dresses it up to look similar to the racier M40i model. Speaking of the M40i, it has gained a 48-volt mild hybrid system, with a combined horsepower of 382-hp as the 2021 model.
Inside the front cabin, the centre console is reworked, with a number of controls repositioned. While a 10.3-inch infotainment display and a matching digital gauge display are standard, BMW additionally offers 12.3-inch upgrades.
Regardless of the exact power output, all BMW engines exude a similar strong and refined character. While the M40i’s 382-hp six-cylinder motivates it to 100 kph in just over 4 seconds, the standard 248-hp four-cylinder is powerful enough and saves on the fuel.
With the four-pot engine under its bonnet, the rear-wheel-drive sDrive30i and all-wheel-drive xDrive30i provide enough power to comfortably negotiate almost any traffic situation, all offering an exhilarating drive. Those seeking a performance-oriented crossover will find the X3 M40i more to their liking. Its inline-six workhorse provides almost brutish power, out-accelerating all but the most potent version of the Porsche Macan Turbo.
The X3 is fun to drive and willing to arc around corners better than expected. The ride quality is well balanced with enough firmness for an inspired feel without resulting in a rough ride over bumpy road surfaces.
The X3’s stylish interior comes well equipped before you check a single option box. 10-way power-adjustable front seats – which include adjustable side bolsters, make it easy to find a comfortable position. Rear-seat occupants are treated to reclining seatbacks, and the cushioning on all seats is plush enough for long journeys.
The rest of the X3’s cabin is handsome and well put together, with well-chosen materials and tight panel gaps. The glossy wood grain trim looks and feels real despite being plastic. The stitched faux-leather dash and door coverings add an extra element of luxury, as do the nickel-finish metal trim.
BMW’s iDrive interface provides everything a modern luxury car’s infotainment system should. The 0.3-inch infotainment display is standard and features in-dash navigation as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A larger 12.3-inch infotainment display is optional. Bluetooth phone connectivity, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and one USB port are standard.
A full suite of driver-assistance features is available on the X3 but BMW offers the basics as standard equipment. Key safety features include automated emergency braking with forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning and adaptive cruise control.
The updated BMW X3 has surprisingly agile handling, a gutsy optional inline-six engine and more fuel efficiency than expected.
So, while BMW sport saloons have lost some of that old-fashioned BMW driving verve, the X3 SUV still delivers those thrills – with the added benefit of practicality.
Make your way to Inchcape Kenya’s state of the art Westlands showroom and take a peep at what should be your compact luxury SUV of choice. You will not be disappointed.