BMW un­veils its third-gen X3, to be built here in SA

The Star Early Edition - - MOTORING - MO­TOR­ING STAFF

THE THIRD gen­er­a­tion of BMW’s X3 SUV might not look rad­i­cally dif­fer­ent to its pre­de­ces­sor, but the lat­est re­design does bring the Sports Util­ity Ve­hi­cle, or Sports Ac­tiv­ity Ve­hi­cle as the sales­man will in­sist on call­ing it, bang up to date on the tech­no­log­i­cal front and there’s also an M40i per­for­mance vari­ant on of­fer

The new­comer is of spe­cial sig­nif­i­cance to South Africa as it will be pro­duced at BMW’s lo­cal plant in Ross­lyn, for both lo­cal con­sump­tion and ex­port, while the 3 Se­ries sedan range will in fu­ture be im­ported. Ex­pect the new X3 to go on sale here in Novem­ber.

Although ap­pear­ing to be sim­i­lar in size to its pre­de­ces­sor, the new X3 is up to 55kg lighter, thanks to the more lib­eral use of alu­minium, and BMW claims to have achieved class-lead­ing aero­dy­nam­ics.

This X3 also en­ters the world of semi-au­to­mated driv­ing, with op­tional gad­gets like Ac­tive Cruise Con­trol that can bring the car to a halt and pull off au­to­mat­i­cally in dense traf­fic, and the Driv­ing As­sis­tant Plus pack with steer­ing as­sis­tance and cross-traf­fic warn­ing.

Fur­ther­more, BMW claims that the new X3 will “seam­lessly in­te­grate into the owner’s dig­i­tal life” with a cloud-based sys­tem that can, for in­stance, pick up ad­dresses from your smart­phone’s cal­en­dar en­tries and in­te­grate them into the nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem and then, well ahead of time, it’ll even cal­cu­late your ideal time of de­par­ture.

Buy­ers will be able to or­der new gad­gets handme-downed from the 5 and 7 Se­ries, in­clud­ing BMW’s dig­i­tal Dis­play Key, an up­graded in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem with ges­ture con­trol and a new Head-Up Dis­play sys­tem that’s said to be un­ri­valled in terms of graph­ics and res­o­lu­tion.

The X3 also ups the ante on the per­for­mance front with the M40i flag­ship. Fit­ted with a ver­sion of BMW’s 3-litre six-cylin­der tur­bopetrol en­gine that’s good for 265kW and 500Nm, the M40i will al­legedly sprint from 0-100km/h in just 4.8 sec­onds.

The other petrol vari­ants are fit­ted with a 2-litre tur­bopetrol tuned to 185kW and 350Nm in the xDrive30i and 135kW/290Nm in xDrive20i and sDrive20i mod­els. Your diesel se­lec­tion will be be­tween a 195kW/620Nm 3-litre, six-cylin­der unit and a 140kW/400Nm 2-litre four-pot.

All en­gines are mated to eight-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sions and BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive sys­tem fea­tures in all but the sDrive20i petrol vari­ant, which is rear-wheel driven.

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