And here’s what it’s up against

CAR (UK) - - Insider -

READY TO DO bat­tle with the E Pace later this year, the third-gen­er­a­tion BMW X3 fo­cuses on greater reƒin­e­ment, more space and a se­ri­ous tech in­jec­tion. And for the ƒirst time there will be an M Per­for­mance ver­sion.

The X3’s phys­i­cal struc­ture and elec­tri­cal sys­tems are signiƒicantly up­graded. Built on a ver­sion of BMW’s CLAR ar­chi­tec­ture, it is frac­tion­ally taller and wider than the last X3, and signiƒicantly greater in both wheel­base and over­all length. Even so, the use of ex­otic steels and alu­minium pan­els has helped re­duce the weight by 55kg com­pared to the old car, and re­shaped body­work has cut the drag co-e‘icient to 0.29.

A slew of semi-au­ton­o­mous driver aids will be avail­able for the ƒirst time on the X3, in­clud­ing ac­tive cruise con­trol that will pull away au­to­mat­i­cally, steer­ing and lane con­trol, and in­ter­ven­tion sys­tems guard­ing against on­com­ing and cross­ing tra‘ic. The avail­able con­nec­tiv­ity now in­cludes smart watches as well as smart­phones and even Ama­zon’s Echo home as­sis­tant – you can check your fuel level or lock the car via the home-based voice con­trol sys­tem.

The ini­tial en­gine line-up is mod­est, with just the 189bhp xDrive 20d and 261bhp xDrive 30d on the diesel side. The ƒire­cracker X3 M40i uses the same 3.0-litre turbo six found in the M-en­hanced 1- and 2-se­ries mod­els. Smaller petrols will fol­low, as will petrol-elec­tric hy­brid hard­ware as al­ready seen in the 330e.

The M40i in par­tic­u­lar rep­re­sents a change of di­rec­tion for the smaller BMW X prod­ucts. The M140i has proved to be a hit for those who can’t stretch to an M2, and the X3 ver­sion will pro­vide se­ri­ous com­pe­ti­tion for the hot E Pace and Audi SQ5.

Big­ger but lighter X3 is get­ting smarter, sleeker and faster

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