The new third-generation BMW X3 combines rugged off-road looks with a greater sporting presence. It builds further on its reputation as one of the most dynamically competent and technologically advanced SUVs in its class, whilst retaining its premium image.
The new model also 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, emphasising the class-leading dynamic appeal of the model.
A whole range of Driver Assistance systems also ensure it is one of the most advanced, as well as safest, cars in its class, with multi-platform connectivity that reaches new levels.
The exterior dimensions of the new BMW X3 are largely unchanged, but its five-centimetre-longer wheelbase, long bonnet and short front overhang emphasise its 50:50 weight distribution between front and rear axle.
At the front, the chunky three-dimensional kidney grille and LED fog lamps feature a hexagonal design for the first time on a BMW X model. Moving to the rear, the three-dimensional LED light clusters, downward-sloping roof spoiler and twin exhaust pipes further enhance the appearance.
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 more dramatic 19-inch wheel design and the optional exterior paint shade of Phytonic Blue.
The new M40i features a unique M Performance exterior design with Cerium Grey kidney frames, front and rear bumper inserts, mirror caps, window graphics and air breather. The rear tailpipes have an elongated rectangular shape in black chrome. A new optional 21-inch wheel is limited to the M40i only.
The interior of the new X3 follows BMW tradition with a driver-focused and ergonomically designed cockpit. Hexagonal forms and precise, bevelled edges are a distinct design theme. The material quality and fit and finish are of a class above what you’d expect for a mid-range SAV, as you’d expect from a BMW, while it is also impressively functional, with more cabin stowage compared to its predecessor.
Smart details include the BMW X logo, which reoccurs frequently in different forms. For example, there is an embossed X in the electroplated accents in the front and rear doors and another on the B-pillars. As with the exterior, the three different trim levels each take a specific approach to the look and feel of the interior.
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, adds a classy and relaxing ambience. 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 xLine is pure and elegant, with sports seats finished in Vernasca leather.
The M Sport gets a bespoke leather steering wheel, M-specific sports seats, anthracite-coloured BMW Individual headlining and new interior trim strips in Aluminium Rhombicle. This car model is also equipped as standard with the BMW Professional Navigation system with new 10.3-inch screen. There are a number of BMW Individual options for the interior, centred around three exquisite variants of Merino leather.
Comfort and practicality.
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.
Both front passengers can now also settle into optional perforated leather climate seats, which, as well as heating for cold days, offer active seat ventilation to provide more comfort when the going gets hotter.
Another 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.
With ideal 50:50 weight distribution, a finely honed chassis and xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive, linked to Dynamic Stability Control, the new X3 proudly shows off the handling characteristics for which BMW is renowned.
Furthermore, 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.
As far as the chassis technology is concerned, the third generation X3 maintains its winning formula of a double-joint spring strut axle at the front and a five-link rear axle.
At the same time, it delivers an even sportier driving experience than its predecessor without compromising on ride comfort. BMW’s engineers have made a considerable reduction in unsprung mass, fitting aluminium swivel bearings and lighter tubular anti-roll bars.
To further improve dynamics, 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.
The BMW X3 is a capable off-road vehicle for its intended audience. The 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. And with a fording depth of 500 millimetres, the X3 can tackle most obstacles with ease as well.
Engines and powertrains.
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. All stem from the latest generation of BMW engines and operate even more efficiently than the models they replace.
Further improvements have also been made to the eight-speed Steptronic transmission and the BMW xDrive intelligent all- wheel-drive system to add efficiency.
The cutting-edge BMW TwinPower Turbo technology at the heart of the petrol engine comprises TwinScroll turbocharging, High Precision Injection, Double-VANOS variable camshaft control and Valvetronic fully variable valve timing.
The diesel units, meanwhile, 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 range-topping M40i is the first ever M Performance X3 model. It is powered by a new M Performance 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine, which generates 360hp, an increase of 54hp (18 per cent) over the most powerful petrol variant in the current range. Peak torque of 500 Nm is 100 Nm – or 25 per cent – greater. It can sprint from zero to 62mph in 4.8 seconds and hit a top speed of 155 mph.
The 3.0-litre straight-six under the bonnet of the new xDrive30d delivers 265hp and peak torque has been increased by an impressive 80Nm to 620Nm 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 5.7 litres per 100 kilometres (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 190hp, 400Nm 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, indeed, a key factor in the development of the new X3, aiding efficiency and agility. Intelligent, lightweight design was integrated into all areas of its development and is in every component. 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.
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 a class-leading drag coefficient of Cd = 0.29. Reducing aerodynamic drag not only helps lower fuel consumption, but also has a beneficial effect on noise levels.
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.
M40i – the first ever M Performance X3.
The new BMW X3 M40i is the first ever M Performance model in the X3 line- up and sets new standards with its sharp dynamics and emotional appeal. Developed with an insatiable appetite for revs and superb pulling power, the 3.0-litre M Performance six-cylinder in-line engine ensures the X3 M40i sits at the top end of the model range.
The X3 M40i also includes a number of model-specific features such as its M Performance exterior design package, which includes aerodynamic design elements finished in Cerium Grey. Other features include the flap-controlled M Sport exhaust system with Black Chrome tailpipe embellishers, M Sport brakes, M Sport suspension with M Performance- specific tuning, variable sport steering and 20-inch cast light-alloy wheels.
Adaptive M Sport suspension is available as an option, with an even wider spread of comfort and sport set-ups on offer.
The eight-speed Steptronic Sport transmission comes with Launch Control. The transmission is a perfect match for the engine’s dynamic characteristics and can be operated using shift paddles on the steering wheel. In addition, its xDrive all-wheel-drive system has a far more pronounced rear bias than on the other model versions.
The Performance Control feature is integrated into the DSC system and, acting on the rear wheels, is configured to produce the dynamism, agility and traction for which M models have made their name.
Sports seats and “M40i” logos on the front door sill strips and instrument panel provide further visual clues as to the car’s performance capability.
BMW Connected Drive
The new X3 features the very latest in intuitive controls and driver assistance systems. In addition to the iDrive Controller fitted as standard, opting for the Professional Media system (standard with M Sport models and M40i) brings with it touchscreen control and optional gesture control – as seen on the BMW 5 Series and 7 Series.
The touchscreen central display as part of the Professional Media system provides a quick summary of the most relevant information. Gesture control allows numerous infotainment system and telephone functions to be operated intuitively using finger and hand gestures.
The vehicle can also be controlled using Voice Assistant, which offers the most advanced level of natural voice control currently available. This enables drivers to formulate their request in natural, everyday language instead of having to use set commands.
BMW Personal CoPilot: a comprehensive line-up of driver assistance systems.
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 Steering and lane control assistant, Lane Change Assistant and Lane Keeping Assistant with side collision protection all form part of the optional Driving Assistant Plus safety package and work via active steering inputs.
Together with Priority warning, Wrong-way warning and Crossing traffic warning systems, these functions enhance comfort and safety, while also setting standards in the class.
The optional Head-Up Display allows the most important driving-related information to be projected directly into the driver’s field of vision. The HUD in the new X3 is unrivalled in its segment for graphics, resolution and display options.
The Head-up display in the new X3 is 70 per cent larger than on the predecessor model. Another unique feature that the X3 has over its competitors is a Remote 3D View function, which can be used to beam a three-dimensional view of the car’s immediate surroundings directly to a smartphone.
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 driver receives a message in the iDrive display offering to contact the BMW Accident Assistance service directly. A push of a button is all it takes to obtain professional support from the BMW Accident Assistance team, who can also put the customer in touch with a BMW Service Partner if necessary.
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.
The selection of devices that can connect to the new X3 by means of BMW Connected now ranges from smartphones running iOS and Android operating systems via smart wearables like the Apple Watch and Samsung Gear (S2 and S3) to the Amazon Echo.
Customers can use the Amazon Echo’s 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 the comfort of their home.
BMW Connected can be used to learn your normal routines or read your calendar appointments and then provide notifications on when to leave based on real time traffic information, even prior to leaving your home. When you get into your BMW the destination is seamlessly transferred to the iDrive screen and you can start guidance with one click.
BMW 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 likewise 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.
As with all BMW models Real Time Traffic Information (RTTI) is standard, providing accurate information on the flow of traffic along all major roads, across the UK and Europe. This service is included for the first three years free of charge.
The service will be further enhanced in conjunction with the Professional Media system (standard for M Sport and M40i models) to feature On-street parking information for 9 UK cities at launch. On-street parking information provides predictions on the probability of a free parking space being available on streets in city centres, helping BMW drivers to find an available space close to their destination.
The 2017 BMW X3 is available from 11 November 2017, prices start from £38,800 OTR.