BMW ADDS SPICE TO SUV MENU
IT’S taken three attempts but BMW has the X3 right this time.
The previous models looked and felt a bit cheap, wobbled and bounced on Australian roads, and were overshadowed by their German rivals.
They relied more on a BMW badge than real appeal.
This time the extra room in the cabin is conspicuous, as is the improved seating.
Improved technology is obvious from the bigger infotainment screen and standard colour head-up display, and the car drives like a real BMW.
Starting with the 20d, the car is impressively quiet and planted on the roads of far north Queensland.
The suspension is sweetly compliant, although there is still some initial thump thanks to the run-flat tyres.
It moves along briskly but the emissions improvement to Euro6 level requires Ad-Blue liquid, added in a special tank.
The 30i really moves, with a brisk sprint from the lights and great overtaking punch. Most impressive, though, is the way it turns through corners and absorbs bad road surprises. There is slightly more road noise than the 20d, but the 30i is a driver's car that feels like it, biting into the road and not, as in the early X3, sitting on top and taking its chances.
But – and it’s a big one – launch cars come from Europe with optional Dynamic Damper Control so we will have to wait to try the X3 at its core. In its defence, BMW Australia says the vast majority of X3s are ordered with this.
Third time’s the charm... the BMW X3