X MARKS THE SPOT FOR BMW
FEATURES TO DELIGHT TECH-LOVER
THERE'S a broadly-chevroned metallic plate on the sill of the BMW X3 that quite often reflects in the SUV's back window.
It's annoying. But it's the only thing we didn't like about the wagon.
BMW has a thing about the letter 'x'. The vehicle is the X3, xDrive is Beamer-speak for all-wheel drive and xLine indicates the highest level of spec.
There's a whole family of them, a couple with 2.0litre petrol power, one with 2.0litre diesel and the top of the tree is the X3 xDrive 30d xLine, a 3.0litre turbo-diesel with all the trimmings.
While the full title of the latter is quite a mouthful, it does give the owner extra bragging rights at garden parties. Or around the office coffee machine.
The handsome machine has extra brightwork inside and out, a set of Pirelli-shod 19-inch double spoke alloys, bi-xenon headlights, foglights, auto-on headlights and wipers and its leather trim is probably from the hides of pedigreed cattle.
It's different from lesser BMWs, and is called Nevada, although it's probably not from there.
The vehicle comes with every electronic thingo known to man, Sport mode among them, so people who chat about Bluetooth, voice activation, multi-speaker hifi, crash rating and such-like will be able to rabbit on for hours. But the bit that impressed me most was the reversing camera.
The image on the screen must be what the vehicle looks like to a hovering hawk.
Front, rear, sides and top view are crystal clear, and if the images stun the mind, there are sensors all over the show to warn you of the rose bush a metre off to the left. Of course, you can spend more money if you want on some tempting options, among them a $3000 panoramic glass sunroof, adaptive headlights for $940 and a whole lot more.
The X3 has grown in size too, and is now about as big inside as an X5, but not as bulky.
It can very comfortably accommodate driver and four passengers, plus their luggage.
There's a big dashboard screen that displays a variety of data via an iDrive rotary knob on the console.
The SUV is a hoot to drive. Its straight-six twin scroll turbodiesel is good for 190kW and 560Nm, which can propel it to 100km/h in 5.9seconds, yet we recorded an average 8.6litres/100km in fuel use. Xceptional, I thought. It also has a pep-sucking Eco mode to keep the greens happy, plus a few other economy features, but who'd complain about an 8.6 average?
Verdict: One of the best SUVs on the road. A class act.
Big name for a lot of SUV: BMW X3xDrive 30d xLine