The BMW X3 range has expanded from two to three with the addition of a range-topping diesel variant badged the xDrive30d.
TELL ME ABOUT THIS CAR
BMW has overhauled its premium mid-size SUV, the X3, and the xDrive30d variant is the most powerful diesel option on offer. It’s bigger and better looking than the old one, but at $83,900 it also costs more than before. Here’s what you need to know about it.
- Performance. A 3.0-litre turbo-diesel inline six-cylinder engine under the bonnet produces 195kW and a whopping 620Nm. It gives smooth, willing acceleration off the line and right through to its relatively high redline of 5500rpm. It’s a fantastic engine, and a highlight of the overall package.
- Fuel efficiency. Loaded up with gear and on a long distance drive the xDrive30d returned real-world fuel economy of 7.1L/100km. BMW claims a combined efficiency of 6.0L/100km.
- Space. This all-new X3 is bigger than the old one, and roughly the same size as the first-generation BMW X5. The extra length has opened up room for passengers. It’s possible for adults to sit comfortably in the back.
- Styling. Australian-born BMW designer Calvin Luk turned his hand to the X3’s exterior, and the result is a much more handsome vehicle than its slightly gawky predecessor.
- Infotainment. BMW’s iDrive6 system is slick, highly functional and easy to use. An excellent head-up display is offered and the xDrive30d’s digital dashboard is easy to read in all light conditions.
- Ride. The xDrive30d isn’t as bump-absorbing in Comfort mode as one might expect. There’s some initial impact harshness through its big 20-inch wheels that’s a little on the jarring side, and that slightly annoying trait doesn’t gel with the car’s otherwise convincingly luxurious look and feel.
- Steering. There’s room to improve the X3’s steering, which never feels completely at ease with the task at hand when driving quickly. It’s especially difficult to live with when using the xDrive30d’s semi-autonomous driving features on the highway. The active steering veers around a lane more than is comfortable, and needs constant correction – it’s not a ‘self-driving’ system by any means. Think of it as a back-up that will keep you pointed more or less where you want to go for when your attentiveness lapses, rather than letting the car drive off the road.
- Value. It is possible to find value at certain points of the X3 range, but up at the top the xDrive30d starts to look quite expensive, especially when options are added. Though the xDrive30d is faster, an entry-level Porsche Macan costs less and is more prestigious.
ANY RIVALS I SHOULD CONSIDER
BMW X3 rivals include the Audi Q5, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Jaguar F-Pace, Land Rover Discovery Sport, Range Rover Velar, Volvo XC60 and even the Porsche Macan.