New cars: what the critics say
When the X3 launched in 2003, medium-sized premium SUVS were relatively unusual. Since then, the market has “exploded”, with the likes of the Audi Q5 and Volvo XC60 turning it into a “highly competitive segment”. Following updates to its rivals, the BMW was starting to feel “long in the tooth” – but it has now had a complete overhaul, with a new platform, engine and technology.
Visually, at least, this new model is an improvement: it looks “more athletic”, and there is an “aura of craftsmanship” in the beautifully finished cabin. The seats are comfortable and roomy, and the 550litre boot expands to 1,600 when they’re folded flat. There’s “a battery of electronic protection features”, which warn you if you’re at risk of collision or veering out of your lane.
The X3 drives very impressively, more like a car than an SUV. It’s “engaging” on the road, with light, precise steering and strong grip. The 261bhp turbo diesel engine that we tried (there are also petrol options) “delivers all the performance you really need” and the car is “good enough” offroad. The X3 offers space and enjoyable driving – it’s a “great all-rounder”.
BMW X3 from £37,980