BMW X3 in its third-generation guise

The all-new BMW X3 receives an overall sportier look and a new 2.0-liter engine for its third-generation presentation. The new X3 is also offered in a new performance flagship, the M40i; the first ever M Performance vehicle in the X3 line-up. And that’s not all, the new X3 incorporates a whole range of new Driver Assistance systems, as well.

The exterior dimensions of the new BMW X3 are largely unchanged, but its five-centimeter-longer wheelbase, long bonnet and short front overhang emphasise its 50:50 weight distribution between front and rear axle. At the front, the chunky three-dimensional kidney grille and LED fog lamps feature a hexagonal design for the first time on a BMW X model. Moving to the rear, the three-dimensional LED light clusters, downward-sloping roof spoiler and twin exhaust pipes further enhance the appearance. In basic specification, the new X3 has 18-inch light-alloy wheels, while wheels up to 21-inches in diameter are available depending on the specification and engine variant.

For customization, the new X3 is offered with SE, XLine and the M Performance trim levels. The top-of-the-line M40i comes with optional blue-painted brake callipers, a more dramatic 19-inch wheel design, optional Phytonic Blue color, Cerium Grey kidney frames, front and rear bumper inserts, mirror caps, window graphics, air breather and rear tailpipes with elongated rectangular shape in black chrome, as well as optional 21-inch wheels.

Inside, refinement details are distributed according to trim levels. The SE features Vernasca leather seats as standard, high gloss interior trim with pearl chrome highlights, sport steering wheel and interior ambient lighting which directs a soft stream of light downwards from below the accent strip, adds a classy and relaxing ambience. Customers can choose from six color tones: Orange, Lilac, Mint, Bronze, Blue and White. The car has standard Business Navigation and Park Assist (including a rear parking camera).

The xLine is pure and elegant, with sports seats finished in Vernasca leather. The M Sport gets a bespoke leather steering wheel, M-specific sports seats, anthracite-coloured BMW Individual headlining and new interior trim strips in Aluminium Rhombicle. This car model is also equipped as standard with the BMW Professional Navigation system with new 10.3-inch screen. There are a number of BMW Individual options for the interior, centered around three exquisite variants of Merino leather.

The new X3 features three-zone automatic climate control as standard. This feature adds separate temperature controls for the rear compartment to those for the driver and front passenger. To further improve comfort in the rear compartment, the angle of the standard 40:20:40 split/folding rear seat backrests can be adjusted individually and through various stages thanks to the optional rear comfort seat. This feature also allows the backrests to be released remotely from the load compartment, which expands the standard load capacity of 550 liters to 1,600 liters.

Both front passengers can now also settle into optional perforated leather climate seats, which, as well as heating for cold days, offer active seat ventilation to provide more comfort when the going gets hotter. Another option is a generously sized panoramic glass roof, while acoustic windscreen glazing contributes to extremely low noise levels in the cabin. The two front side windows are also available with acoustic glazing as an option, ensuring that even less wind noise makes it into the interior.

The new BMW X3 can be locked and unlocked using the optional BMW Display Key found on the BMW 5 Series and 7 Series. The Display Key offers a series of additional features, keeping the driver informed of fuel levels and any service or maintenance work due, and letting them know that the windows and sunroof are closed. Plus, it can also be used to operate the optional auxiliary heating.

the X3 model line-up consists of the xDrive20d with four-cylinder diesel engine, the xDrive30d with a straight-six diesel units. The line-up will soon be followed by the xDrive20i engine variant, and the range-topping petrol model, the BMW X3 M40i. The range-topping M40i is the first ever M Performance X3 model. It is powered by a new M Performance 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine, which generates 360hp, an increase of 54hp (18 per cent) over the most powerful petrol variant in the current range. Peak torque of 500 Nm is 100 Nm greater. It can sprint from zero to 199 km/h in 4.8 seconds and break a 250 km/h top speed mark.

With ideal 50:50 weight distribution, a finely honed chassis and xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive, linked to Dynamic Stability Control, the new X3 proudly shows off the handling characteristics for which BMW is renowned. Furthermore, the standard Driving Experience Control switch lets the driver choose between various configurations: Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport and Sport+ modes (only on the 30i, 30d and M40i).

As far as the chassis technology is concerned, the third generation X3 maintains its winning formula of a double-joint spring strut axle at the front and a five-link rear axle. The BMW X3 is a capable off-road vehicle for its intended audience. The approach angle (25.7°) and departure angle (22.6°), together with a breakover angle of 19.4°, create plenty of margin for negotiating steep sections or crests. And with a fording depth of 500 millimeters, the X3 can tackle most obstacles with ease as well.

The sports suspension that forms part of the M Sport package ffers firmer suspension and damping and beefs up the anti-roll bars. Alternatively, there is also the option of Dynamic Damper Control with electronically controlled dampers, which adapts the damper responses to the road surface and driving conditions.

At the same time, the driver can use the Driving Experience Control switch to vary the suspension characteristics as they please between the more comfortable and sportier ends of the scale.

The sports braking system included with the M Sport package is available as an individual option, or as part of the M Sport Plus Package. The blue-painted aluminium four-piston fixed calipers at the front and amply proportioned brake discs have high levels of thermal resistance and deliver phenomenal stopping power despite their low weight.

Lastly, variable sport steering is standard on the BMW X3 M40i and xDrive 30d, and can be specified as an option on the two liter diesel and petrol.

The 2017 BMW X3 is available from November, prices start from 38,800 pounds.

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