BMW’s latest X3: More power, more features, more rugged-rider

  • More than 1.5 million units sold since 2003
  • Range-topping BMW X3 M40i expected
  • Comprehensive protection with new BMW CoPilot
NEXT BMW X3: Generation III has more power, more features and more-efficient power trains. Image: BMW / Newspress
NEXT BMW X3: Generation III has more power, more features and more-efficient power trains. Image: BMW / Newspress

MUNICH, Germany – This the third-generation BMW X3 is said to have gone more rugged-rider than either of the first two with its off-road looks and “greater sporting presence”.

BMW says the new 4×4 has built on a reputation for being “the most dynamically competent and technologically advanced SUV in its class” while retaining its premium image and introducing a new two-litre petrol engine to join the current diesel.

For those with deeper pockets there’s also a new performance flagship – the M40i – the first M Performance unit in the compact X3 line-up, though the range gets a whole range of driver’s electronic assistants to make the X3 “one of the most advanced, and safest, cars in its class.

NEXT BMW X3: Generation III has more power, more features and more-efficient power trains. Image: BMW / Newspress
NEXT BMW X3: Generation III has more power, more features and more-efficient power trains. Image: BMW / Newspress

Installed multi-platform connectivity is also said to reach new sophistication.

The 2017 X3 is much the same overall size as its predecessor but the wheelbase has been stretched by five cm and, BMW says, a long bonnet and short front overhang emphasise its 50:50 front:rear weight distribution.

DIODE TAIL-LIGHT CLUSTERS

For the first time there’s a three-dimensional and hexagonal design for the combination of kidney grille and diode foul-weather lights.

The rear has three-dimensional clusters of diode lights, a rear-sloping roof-mounted spoiler and twin exhaust pipes.

There are three trim variants:

The SE has diode head and tail lights, aluminium ‘satinated’ (horrible word, BMW!) roof rails and new 18” wheel rims.

The xLine gets a satin/aluminium radiator grille, more-rugged front and rear bumpers, silver metallic sills and 19” model-specific alloy wheel rims.

The M40i has a unique M Performance exterior design with grey kidney frames, front and rear bumper inserts, external-mirror caps, window graphics and an air breather. The tailpipes are elongated and rectangular and black-chromed. 21” wheel rims are optional.

NEXT BMW X3: Generation III has more power, more features and more-efficient power trains. Image: BMW / Newspress
NEXT BMW X3: Generation III has more power, more features and more-efficient power trains. Image: BMW / Newspress

The SE’s cabin has leather upholstery, gloss trim, pearl-chromed highlights, sport steering-wheel and ambient lighting. Six body colours: orange, lilac, green, bronze, blue or white. Satnav and a rear parking camera are standard.

The xLine has leather “sport” seats.

THREE-ZONE AIRCON

The M Sport gets a leather-wrapped steering-wheel, M-specific sport seats, and anthracite BMW Individual headlining. The model also has satnav with a 26cm screen and options include a number of BMW Individual leather interior options.

Each model has three-zone auto aircon with separate controls for rear passengers – who also get 40:20:40 split/folding and adjustable rear-seat backrests. They can be dropped from the boot to expands capabity from 550 to 1600 litres.

Options for the front seats include heating/cooling functions under perforated leather upholstery and, over the whole cabin, a glass roof.

NEXT BMW X3: Generation III has more power, more features and more-efficient power trains. Image: BMW / Newspress
NEXT BMW X3: Generation III has more power, more features and more-efficient power trains. Image: BMW / Newspress

And so to performance…

The standard ‘Driving Experience Control’ switch provides four configurations – Eo Pro, Comfort, Sport and Sport+ modes (on the 30i, 30d and M40i) to make the X3 more dynamic, more comfortable or more fuel-efficient.

It all, BMW says, delivers a sportier driving experience than its predecessor without ride comfort compromise and the rearward bias of the xDrive all-wheel-drive system has been emphasised with AWD management “adjusting for driving situations while still maintaining maximum traction”.

NEXT BMW X3: Generation III has more power, more features and more-efficient power trains. Image: BMW / Newspress
NEXT BMW X3: Generation III has more power, more features and more-efficient power trains. Image: BMW / Newspress

The M Sport package includes sport suspension – firmer with “beefed up” anti-roll bars. Electronic shock-absorber control is an option though the driver can use the driving experience switch to vary suspension characteristics as they please.

…and to off-road ability…

The X3 has an approach angle of 25.7 degrees, departure angle of 22.6 degrees and breakover angle of 19.4 degrees – “plenty of margin for steep sections or crests”, BMW asserts. Wading depth is a half-metre.

…and on to engines and power trains

From launch, xDrive20d four-cylinder diesel and xDrive30d straight-six diesel, to be followed by xDrive20i petrol … and the supercar X3 M40i. Each is said to be more fuel-efficient than those in earlier X3 models and the eight-speed transmissions improved – though how was not specified.

The range-topping M40i is the first M Performance X3. Its three-litre six-cylinder engine makes about 270kW – up by 18% on earlier editions. Peak torque, at 500Nm, is a whopping 100Nmgreater. The combined result is 0-100km/h in 4.8sec and top speed of 258km/h.

The three-litre straight six of the xDrive30d delivers about 200kW; peak torque has been increased by 80Nm to 620Nm from 2000-2500rpm and 0-100km/h takes a second longer than the M version with top speed close to 240km/h though, driven sensibly, is capable (BMW data) of 5.7 litres/100km.

READ MORE BMW features on Carman’s Corner

Then there’s the xDrive20d whose diesel engine has an unchanged power output of about 142kW, 400Nm and does the 100km/h spring in eight seconds before hurtling on to better than 210km/h.

Each engine is hooked to an eight-speed Steptronic transmission matched to its host’s specific performance.

The X3 also, BMW says, features additional cladding that provides underbody sealing. Other aerodynamic enhancements include a roof spoiler with aero edges at the sides and ‘Active Air Stream’ to regulates the flow of cooling air to the engine, brakes and aircon.

NEXT BMW X3: Generation III has more power, more features and more-efficient power trains. Image: BMW / Newspress
NEXT BMW X3: Generation III has more power, more features and more-efficient power trains. Image: BMW / Newspress

This material was from a British source, which reports prices (guide only for SA) at the equivalent of R640 220. – Newspress

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