BMW ADDS SPICE TO SUV MENU

The Advocate (Perth) - - COMMUNITY DRIVEWAY - Paul Gover

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 AdBlue 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. From $68,900 (Not cheap) 3 years/un­lim­ited km; con­di­tion-based, 3 years for $1384 (Rea­son­able)

2.0-litre 4-cylin­der turbo diesel, 140kW/400Nm (Punchy) 5.7L/100km (Fru­gal) Run-flats (Not good) 550L/1600L (Good size) 7 airbags, lane de­par­ture and lanechange warn­ing, ac­tive cruise (good)

Third time’s the charm... the BMW X3

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