Sitting between the X1 and X5, BMW’s X3 resides in the ‘sweet spot’ for buyers looking for some SUV practicality, but whose lifestyles don’t require a hulking offroader or seven-seat capacity.
And it’s a nice place to be, even in the entry-level xDrive20d. Retailing at $69,900 it’s the second most-affordable model in the X3 range (behind the petrol-powered X3 sDrive20i at $65,900), and the cheapest all-wheel drive variant. The M-Sport variant we have here costs a little more at $71,450, but that’s still a reasonable sum considering it offers healthy power and torque outputs of 140kW and 400Nm along with all-wheel drive.
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There’s plenty of space for five people, and for families whose children have outgrown baby capsules and booster seats it’s ideal. Even gangly teenagers will find plenty of leg and headroom in the rear row, as we found out.
The cabin is finished to a very high standard as well. Our tester’s interior was fitted out with supple black leather (though other colour combinations are available), with an appropriately high-end feel to the switchgear and other interior trim pieces. Getting busy with the options list can see the price swell – and our car was equipped with more than a few optional extras, for an as-tested total of $80,450 – but the core offering is still excellent.
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That said, we would like to have seen features like keyless entry, active cruise control and lane keep assist as standard on a vehicle at this price point.
However there’s plenty of high-tech stuff elsewhere to enjoy. Things like voice-activated controls, for one, an internet-enabled search capability that ties into the sat-nav, a self-parking function and ride-enhancing adaptive dampers. Do those features actually enhance the experience though? Are they hard to use? We hit the road to find out, and discover that once you get accustomed to the X3’s advanced infotainment system, those fancy electronics can definitely be a game-changer.