BMW X3

All-new X3 goes back to BMW’s roots

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For the third gen­er­a­tion of its mid-sized SUV, the Bavar­ian com­pany has de­cided to go back to its roots and pre­sented a ve­hi­cle that is the sporti­est of the SUVs that it has ever made. We drove it around Lis­bon to ex­pe­ri­ence its sporti­ness

It is not al­ways that BMW picks out the sporti­est model in the range for a global me­dia drive but when it does, not only is it a spe­cial car that it wants to show off but it also wants to il­lus­trate the shift in the dri­ivng dynamics of the car. The sec­ond gen­er­a­tion X3 SUV lost its iden­tity in try­ing to please all and be­ing the master of none. Es­pe­cially of the ve­hi­cle dynamics traits, es­pe­cially to­wards the sec­ond half of its life, their is no ambiguity about where the third gen­er­a­tion X3 wants to po­si­tion it­self - at the very top of the driver’s car pyra­mid.

De­signed by Hong-Kong-Aus­tralian Calvin Luk, who was also re­spon­si­ble for the ex­te­ri­ors of the X1, the X3 falls nicely into the BMW X fam­ily look, clearly a sib­ling to the X1 and X5.

From the front, as com­pared to its pre­de­ces­sor, it has a more sculpted bon­net, a larger kid­ney grille, big­ger air dams with in­te­grated fog lamps and a

NO AMBIGUITY ABOUT WHERE THE THIRD GEN­ER­A­TION X3 WANTS TO PO­SI­TION IT­SELF - AT THE VERY TOP OF THE DRIVER’S CAR PYRA­MID

larger lower grille. Com­pared to the third gen SUV, the pre­de­ces­sor feels plain and un­ex­cit­ing. Adding to the moder­nity are the LED head­lamps and fog lamps, as well as ac­tive air-flaps, bor­rowed from the 7-Se­ries. Sim­i­larly, the rear is also more ex­pres­sive, with 3D LED tail-lamps again mak­ing the car fu­tur­is­tic.

On the in­te­rior, a 12.3in screen con­sti­tutes the in­stru­ment clus­ter while a 10.2in screen is in the cen­tre dis­play for the in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem and like the new 5-Se­ries, can be con­trolled by ges­tures as well as the lat­est 6th gen Idrive. And the four-colour heads-up dis­play is much larger than be­fore, like on the 5-Se­ries. In­te­rior fit and fin­ish is great, the ma­te­ri­als used seem more pre­mium and like on the 5, there is a touch of matte alu­minium on most of the switches.

The 3-litre straight six en­gine on the M-Sport vari­ant fea­tures Twinpower Turbo tech with a twin scroll tur­bocharger, high pre­ci­sion di­rect-in­jec­tion

IN­TE­RIOR FIT AND FIN­ISH IS GREAT. IN FACT, THE MA­TE­RI­ALS USED SEEM MORE PRE­MIUM AND SIM­I­LAR TO THAT ON THE NEW 5-SE­RIES

as well as fully vari­able valve con­trol and vari­able camshaft tim­ing. The re­sult is a crisp per­former that makes the X3 a se­ri­ously quick SUV and it feels and sounds as good as the fig­ures in­di­cate.

On the M40i, the steer­ing has a sporty setup and the sus­pen­sion is adap­tive, mean­ing that in ad­di­tion to sports sedan-like han­dling, the ride qual­ity is not ma­jorly com­pro­mised. Af­ter driv­ing the car in Lis­bon, I had the op­por­tu­nity to take the new X3 up the An­ge­les Crest High­way north of Los An­ge­les and on the moun­tain road, the more I pushed the car, the more I was sur­prised. The SUV can be thrown around cor­ners and slowed down with­out it los­ing com­po­sure and that’s where the big­gest dif­fer­ence from the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion X3 lies. No doubt the M40i is the sporti­est of them all till we get an X3M but the ef­fort from the en­gi­neers at BMW has been to make the X3 more sporty through­out the model range.

Al­though we did get an op­por­tu­nity to go off-road with one of the X3 mod­els, it would suf­fice to say that while the X3 is not a true blue off-roader by any stretch of the imag­i­na­tion, its over 200mm of ground clear­ance, im­pres­sive break-over and ap­proach and de­par­ture an­gles of 19.4, 25.7 and 22.6 degress means that it can ac­tu­ally be taken off the tar­mac with ford­ing

ca­pa­bil­ity of upto 500mm. Acous­tic glass com­bined with the Har­man Kar­don Logic 7 sur­round sound sys­tem with 14 high per­for­mance speak­ers and two sub­woofers means that the in­te­ri­ors can be tran­formed into an opera house or rock con­cert with crys­tal clear sound and ex­cel­lent acous­tics.

Of course, we in In­dia will def­i­nitely get the diesel en­gines as well, with both the 2-litre four cylin­der and the 3-litre straight six be­ing the ob­vi­ous choices. Suf­fice to say that both those will feel sporty as well in the new X3 and one will per­haps have to choose the adap­tive sus­pen­sion to en­sure ride qual­ity as the stan­dard tyre size has also gone up from the ear­lier 17in to 18 inches now.

1. The in­te­ri­ors are plush and sporty. Gets a 10.2in screen for the in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem. 2. Matte alu­minium fin­ish dom­i­nates with hon­ey­comb sur­faces adding class. 3. 12.3in screen serves as in­stru ment panel. 4. like the 5-Se­ries, switchgear...

Yo­gen­dra Pratap Ed­i­tor yo­gen­dra.pratap@in­to­day.com @Yo­genPratap

1. The dis­play key is also avail­able like on the 7- and 5-Se­ries cars . 2. Gad­gets can be con­nected to the car via the BMW Con­nected App VER­DICT The X3 now in its 3rd gen­er­a­tion gets a dose of char­ac­ter, more dis­tinc­tive looks, as well as buck­et­fuls...

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