And here’s what it’s up against
READY TO DO battle with the E Pace later this year, the third-generation BMW X3 focuses on greater reinement, more space and a serious tech injection. And for the irst time there will be an M Performance version.
The X3’s physical structure and electrical systems are signiicantly upgraded. Built on a version of BMW’s CLAR architecture, it is fractionally taller and wider than the last X3, and signiicantly 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-eicient to 0.29.
A slew of semi-autonomous driver aids will be available for the irst 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 traic. 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 irecracker 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