New cars: what the crit­ics say

The Week - - Leisure -

Auto Ex­press

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.

Au­to­car

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.

Car mag­a­zine

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

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