The wraps have finally come off BMW’s new X3, the third generation of the German automaker’s mid-size SUV.
Launched back in 2003, the X3 has been a successful entrant in its segment, with over 1.5 million units having been registered during the last 14 years.
The X3 and its design follow that of BMW’s current motif, sporting an overall body shape reminiscent of the 1-Series hatchback, as well as front and rear bumpers downsized from its SUV big brother, the X5.
A major change to the lineup is the inclusion of the M40i derivative, the first M Performance Automobile to be made available in the series. The M40i will also serve as the series range topper, sporting a 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine delivering 265 kW and 500 Nm of torque, resulting in a 0-100km/h time of 4.8 seconds, and a limited top speed of 250km/h.
As for the rest of the lineup, two petrol and two diesel engines will also be available at launch. The petrol lineup includes two 2.0-liter engines, producing 135 kW and 290 Nm, and 185 kW and 350 Nm respectively, while the two diesels on offer are comprised of a 2.0-liter good for 140 kW and 400 Nm, and the more-powerful 3.0-liter that produces 195 kW and 620 Nm. All these engine derivatives will come standard with BMW’s eight-speed Steptronic transmission.
Customers will have a choice of three trims levels, xLine, Luxury Line, and M Product, with each level open to substantial personalization in the form the BMW Individual range. The range includes a selection of six tone colors for the instrument panel, three variants of Merino leather for the upholstery, and a new Ambient Air package which boasts eight different scents in the cabin.
Technology wise, the X3 benefits from systems brought in from the existing 5 and 7 Series models. These include the latest autonomous driving mechanisms such as Active Cruise Control as well as Lane Keeping Assistant. Other features include an updated infotainment system worked in collaboration with Microsoft, as well as gesture control. Safety features include Start-off Assistant, Performance Control, and a Dynamic Traction Control system.
Prices for the new BMW X3 have yet to be announced, with the model expected to be launched in South Africa during the fourth quarter of 2017.
By Sam Spiller
Images supplied by BMW