Driven: BMW X3 20d
This is the latest BMW X3 and it is built locally for the world by the way. We were handed the keys to the X3 20d, and it strikes a near perfect balance between practicality and what we all want from our cars these days, economy.
The updated X3 features a refreshed design which has given it more appeal in our opinion.This refreshed model or LCI (Life Cycle Impulse) benefits from subtle yet noticeable styling changes. Up front you will notice a redesigned bumper as well as a slightly bigger, 1-piece kidney grille - obviously. There are also slimmer LED headlights as well as redesigned tail-light clusters, which clearly distinguish the updated X3 from other BMW SUV models.
Staying with the rear you might also notice the newly designed rear section just above the tail-lights which emphasises the horizontal lines. Lower down is newly designed underbody protection for a rugged look. The normal X3 models now get the same, somewhat squared tailpipes as found on the sportier M40i model. Wheels have also been enlarged for a sportier look. We like it, especially in M-Sport guise as seen here.
Inside the latest X3 it’s a quality affair as usual. Not much has changed from the previous model but if you look a little closer you will notice a newly designed 12.3” touch display as standard as well as a newly designed centre console with the current iDrive controller as well as a new gear-lever.
We particularly like the digital instrument cluster and the fact that paddle shifters are now standard across the range, for a more engaging driving experience. The interior is further enhanced thanks to ambient lighting, quality materials, leather trim and silver inserts which contrast well with that of the gloss black elements throughout the cabin. As always, space is impressive with a luggage capacity of around 550-litres which can be increased to 1600l when you lower the rear seats.
Under the bonnet of the X3 20d is the brand's tried and tested 2.0-litre turbo diesel which develops 140kW and a healthy 400Nm of torque. The motor works well with the 8-speed automatic gearbox and xDrive all-wheel drive system. I found the experience to be effortless, smooth and economical. The X3 doesn't fuss about, it's a get in and go kind of car that offers decent practicality for everyday driving.
This new offering has just refined the already impressive recipe just slightly to ensure that the X3 remains as relevant as ever. It remains the benchmark within the segment, one just needs to watch the options list as this can get a bit costly.