BIG NEWS FROM BMW
ARRIVAL OF THE NEW X3
The third generation BMW X3, the vehicle which, according to the German automaker, initiated the mid-size Sports Activity Vehicle segment, is a key model for Munich … and for South Africa.
Introduced in 2003, over 1.5 million have been sold across two model generations. Last year, X3 sales accounted for more than 24% of global X-model sales. With SUV sales still rising, much is expected from the new model.
The new X3 will be produced at the BMW Plant in Rosslyn, making it an important model for South Africa. BMW has already pumped an additional R160 million into the facility after an initial R6 billion investment announced in November 2015. These investments will raise the production capacity of the plant by almost ten percent, from 71,000 units to 76,000 units.
Designed by Aussie Calvin Luk, the new generation BMW X3 combines strong, muscular lines with a sporting presence – flagrantly displayed by the new X3 M40i, the first M Performance model in the X3 range. It features a chunky “three-dimensional” kidney grille, fog lamps with a hexagonal design, understated character lines on the flanks, rear light clusters with a three-dimensional look in full-led guise, a prominent roof spoiler, and beefy twin exhaust tailpipes.
Available in Luxury Line, xline, and M Sport trim, the X3 now rides on 18-inch wheels as standard (previously it was 17-inch), with options for wheel and tyre combinations up to 21-inch.
Inside, hexagonal forms and precise, bevelled edges, plus a driver-focused and ergonomically optimised layout ensures a classier and more luxurious ambience than before, with material quality, fit and finish in the X5 league. Equipment options now include three-zone climate control, contour and ambient lighting, the BMW Display Key, a panoramic glass roof, and acoustic glazing for the front side windows (besides standard windscreen acoustic glazing). Fitted with BMW Connecteddrive and its associated systems, the new X3 is in a league of its own compared to its rivals. BMW Connected now also features gesture control of the navigation and infotainment system functions.
The new X3 is up to 55 kg lighter than its respective predecessor models, with a class-beating Cd of 0.29. Its engine line-up consist of two diesels – a 4-cylinder unit (140 kw/400 Nm) powering the xdrive 20d and a 6-cylinder (195 kw/620 Nm) for the xdrive 30d, and three petrol units (only two for South Africa) – a 2-litre 4-cylinder (185 kw/350 Nm) in the xdrive 30i and 3-litre 6-cylinder (265 kw/500 Nm) in the range-topping M40i, all mated to an 8-speed Steptronic transmission driving the xdrive system.
The new flagship, available for just under R1 million (without options) is not exactly cheap, and with prices ranging from R684,200 to R742,800, the same applies for the other models. However, in terms of styling, appointments, and performance, it is now closer to the X5 than ever before.