BMW X3 Review Given its advancing years, the BMW X3 is still astrong contender in the compact executive SUV class.
The 2.0 litre diesel is a strong performer, and the cabin has an edge for build and material quality, even though it's looking dated. It can't quite match newer rivals such as the Jaguar F Pace for passenger space, or crisp driving dynamics, but it's still impressively composed, although it does suffer from a stiff ride.While the 2.0 litre diesel is a good performer, there's also a racy 3.0 litre straight six diesel. With258bhp, it'll sprint from 0 62mph in only 5.9 seconds, which is quicker than many hot hatches. Add the optional adaptive dampers, and it'll be as engaging to drive as M Sport cars.There are three trim levels to choose from, but whichever X3 you opt for, you'll be in one of the most accomplished SUVs on the market. It's great to oakley usa sunglasses drive, can accommodate the whole family and is one of the most desirable 4x4s in its class. It's not as glamorous as a Range Rover Evoque, but it's a very talented all round performer.Considering BMW has offered the current X3 for sale from 2010, it's done remarkably well to remain competitive. There was a facelift in 2014 which refreshed the looks slightly, but it's probably fair to say the model's longevity is part of the reason that BMX X3 used models hold their value quite so well.When it was first on sale BMW X3 had a bit more of the market to itself, but nowadays it has to face rivals such as the Audi Q5, Jaguar F Pace, Porsche Macan and Range Rover Evoque SUVs.There's only one five door body style available, and the engine range is limited too, at least by BMW standards. There's a choice of two diesel engines in three outputs the entry level xDrive2.0d is a twin turbo four cylinder with 188bhp, while the xDrive3.0d uses a 255bhp twin turbo six, and the xDrive35d shares the same engine upgraded to a meaty 310bhp.All versions feature the same xDrive 4x4 system, and while the two litre X3 has the choice of standard manual or optional auto gearboxes, the six cylinder cars come with the eight speed auto only.The BMW X3 comes in a trio of trim levels, named SE, xLine and M Sport. First up is the BMW X3 SE which features 17 inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery, two zone climate control, BMW ConnectedDrive, cruise control with auto braking, Drive Performance Control with Eco, Comfort and Sport modes, Hill Descent Control, six speaker audio with Bluetooth, parking sensors and an automatic tailgate. The BMW X3 xLine gives you 18 inch alloys, aluminium effect grille and exterior embellishments, interior trim upgrades and a sport steering wheel, while the X3 M Sport has 19 inch alloys, paddle shifters, Sport Plus Mode, aerodynamic body styling, sporty suspension and sports seats and interior details.When the X3 first arrived, there was only one other X in the BMW line up the X5. Nowadays it sits in a family of models that also includes the smaller X1, and the X4 and X6 which are 'coupe' versions of the X3 and X5 respectively.The BMW X3 handles brilliantly for any car, let alone a high riding off roader. M Sport models withlarge wheels and low profile tyres mean that even on adaptive dampers and in Comfort mode, the X3 has a firm ride at low sport oakleys speeds. The upshot is brillant body control, but you'll still feel every pothole, and there's a bit of road noise. The X3has the kind of agility and poise that puts some saloons to shame. It's only available with BMW's xDrive four wheel drive system, as the rear wheel drive sDrive18d is no longer listed in BMW's brochures. Thus, all X3s offer impressive grip and traction both on and off the road. It also stiffens up the 650 adaptive dampers. The only four cylinder in the range is the 2.0 litre diesel, which was quite a loud and unrefined engine prior to the facelift in 2014. Modifications have improved things significantly, and with a healthy 400Nm from 1,750 2,500rpm, it now delivers brisk performance. Whether you opt for a manual or automatic gearbox, it claims 0 62mph in 8.1 seconds and a top speed of 130mph. However, when we figured one, theengine didn't rev out in first, which contributed towards a slightly disappointing 0 60mph time of 8.8 seconds.The 2.0 litre can still feel a bit strained at the top end of the rev range, with peak power of 187bhp arriving well short of the redline at 4,000rpm. Don't thrash it, though, and you'll find it a pleasant, muscular motor. There's an eco driving modethat forces the powertrain to shift up earlier.For a blend of performance and refinement, go for one of the 3.0 litre six cylinder models our preference is the single turbo 30d. It's nearly as quick as the twin turbo 35d, as oakley design it serves up 255bhp at 4,000rpm and 560Nm of torque from 1,500 3,000rpm, yet it's just clean enough to be a bit cheaper to tax and fuel. Buyers will enjoy a 0 62mph time of 5.9 seconds and a top speed of 144mph plenty for a car of this size.If you really must for the range topping 35d, it's quick enough to blow the Porsche Macan S Diesel out of the water and it gets close to matching the Audi SQ5, although it costs more than the latter. The BMW's engine delivers 309bhp at 4,400rpm, which allows it to rev a little more okley freely than its stablemates, and it has a huge 630Nm of torque from 1,500 2,500rpm. That enables a 0 62mph time of 5.3 seconds and a 152mph maximum speed. The best thing about both the 3.0 litre engines is that, for turbodiesels, they sound pretty good when being extended.BMW has fitted the X3 with its EfficientDynamics fuel saving technology, including stop/start and brake regeneration, so even the high powered six cylinder models are surprisingly efficient.The top spec 3.0 litre xDrive promises fuel economy of 47.1mpg and emits just 157g/km of CO2, so for a car weighing nearly two tonnes and with its sort of performance, road tax bills will be surprisingly low, at 180 annually.The X3 xDrive20d (which accounts for around 80 per cent of UK sales) claims 55.4mpg and 135g/km with the manual transmission, landing it in VED Band E with road tax costs of 130 a year. Its emissions are 19g/km lower than the 175bhp Audi Q5 2.0 TDI quattro SE.Fit the Steptronic auto (for around 1,500 extra), however, and the 20d's numbers improve to 57.6mpg and 129g/km. That means VED Band D, so no tax to pay for the first 12 months and 110 annually thereafter. Admittedly, it would take you around 70 years to recoup the cost of the transmission in road tax savings alone, but the better fuel bills should help soften the blow of the outlay and the automatic does suit the X3 well.The 30d occupies a neat middle ground of performance and economy, costing just 15 a year more to tax than a manual 20d (VED Band F, 145 annually) thanks to CO2 emissions of 149g/km. It returns nearly 50mpg and as it's much closer to the 35d than the 20d in terms of performance, it's the model we'd recommend for the best, all round X3 ownership experience.As with so many cars, the figures quoted above are the best numbers attainable for each engine on its standard size alloys. Start upgrading the wheels, and economy and emissions take a hit.There's no such issue on the 35d with its 19 inch only rims, but spec up from the 17 or 18 inch sizes on SE and xLine models, and you can move the X3 into higher VED bands. The 20d manual can dip as low as 51.4mpg and 142g/km, or 53.3mpg and 136g/km with the auto, meaning Bands F and E respectively, while bigger rims on the 30d push it out to almost the same figures as the 35d: 47.9mpg and 156g/km. An xDrive20d sits in group 30 in SE or xLine trim, with an M Sport version in group 31. It's one of the best cars going for holding its value, retaining on average around 60 per cent of its purchase price over three years and 36,000 miles.
However, its Range Rover Evoque arch rival has a slight edge with even stronger resistance to depreciation.The X3 isn't the most exciting car to look at, but it's instantly recognisable as a BMW thanks to the trademark kidney grille and twin circular headlights. It has the kind of chunky, rugged styling that SUV buyers expect, with features like roof rails, wide wheelarches and black plastic body cladding.
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