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2017 BMW X3 packs 265kW punch

By Cameron Kirby, 27 Jun 2017 News

2018 BMW X3 main wide

BMW’s new X3 adds AMG-baiting M40i flagship to mid-size SUV game

WELCOME to your first official look at the third-generation BMW X3. While it was leaked on the internet days before it was supposed to, thanks to BMW’s over-eager Hong Kong outpost, we now know the official details of the German brand’s all-new mid-size SUV. And they are juicy.

The headline act is the range-topping X3 M40i, which is the first ever X3 to carry an M prefix and is set to rival the Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 and Audi RS Q3.

Powered by a 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder turbo, the X3 M40i sends a respectable 265kW and 500Nm to all four wheels via an 8-speed automatic.

Peak power arrives at 5500rpm and maximum torque is available from 1520-4800rpm, with all that oomph pushing the M40i from 0-100km/h in 4.8 seconds – faster than the GLC 43, but slower than its rival from Audi.

Interestingly, unlike the current X3 range which offers two less-powerful four-cylinder petrol options in the X3 xDrive20i and 28i, the M40i will the only petrol X3 offered when the new model arrives in 2018.

Completing the range will be two different diesel models, the xDrive20d and xDrive30d.

These will soon be followed by the BMW X3 xDrive30i as well as the 20i engine variant, which will be available in both rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive.

The xDrive20d is powered by a 2.0-litre inline four turbo diesel producing 140kW/400Nm, while the xDrive30d uses a 3.0-litre inline six turbo diesel engine with 195kW/620Nm.

Both send power to all four wheels via an 8-speed auto.

BMW’s engineers have worked hard to reduce weight with this new-generation X3, with a focus on unsprung weight to help improve dynamics. This has been achieved with aluminium swivel bearings, tubular anti-roll bars, and a new electric power steering system.

The X3’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system has been calibrated with a rearward bias, but can send power to each corner of the car independently to maximise traction in tricky conditions.

If you have a particularly twisty commute, an M Sport suspension package is available as an optional extra and adds adaptive dampers, M Sport brakes, and variable sport steering.

That isn’t to say the X3 won’t go off-road. A 204mm ground clearance, 25.7 degree approach angle and 22.6 degree departure angle, plus a 500mm fording depth provide decent on-paper promise should the terrain turn tricky.