A strange statement to be sure but it means X3 is not defined by unneeded off-road credentials. Once we understand that all becomes clear. Very few SUV-like vehicles will ever see a dirt road let-alone rocky mountainside.
SAVs, or Sports Activity Vehicles, are intended to be for the week-end active crew rather than campers and off-roader fanatics.
BMW kept the X3 lineup simple. 4 engines define 2 equipment levels with only an eagle-eye able to pick the difference. The badge is the key.
“30i” used to mean 3 litre straight six with fuel injection. Now, you have to look carefully at the brochure or webpage to be sure. There are 4 models: 20i, 20d, 30i, and 30d. The latter is the only 6-cylinder in the range. You can even leave the badge off if you want admirers to think you paid more.
Think of the X range as the higher-set wagon version of the low-slung road going sedans. Traditional wagons are so last decade. That is a great shame given the wagons drive exactly like their booted sisters.
X3 shares DNA with the 3 series cars.
The look is restrained to the point of a chicken dinner sans gravy. BMW could have done much more without going the full Bangle. We never want to see those hideous jarring lines again. In trying to appeal to as wide a market as possible, the look has been tamed too far.
BMW circular “angel eye” DTRLs have morphed into a more mature double-4-sided array. A larger kidney grille and BMW roundel keep a familiar look which dates back to era of the sexy-as-hell 507 roadster. While you’re googling, have a look at the ’56 503 coupe some time.
Large rear lights wrap the rear corners in an impressive light show that looks good. The fact that LEDs are visible in all weather conditions is a big plus. All lighting is now super-bright, power-saving LED.
LED headlights are adaptive, with dusk sensing with time-saving auto-high beam.
Thankfully the metalwork sticks to a proven formula with a relatively upright rear window giving the cargo hold decent usable capacity.
Smart entry and start allows the driver to lock and unlock by touching the door handle, and to start the engine with a button on the dash. The key can stay safely secreted about your person.
There is a handy gesture-controlled tailgate. Waving your foot casually under the left-hand side under the bumper will open or close the hatch, and will amuse your friends no end.
20” Y-spoke wheels look great in Orbit Grey. They fill the wheel arches just like those drawings of cars on our school books used to.
We’ve reviewed other BMWs Like them, X3 cabins are tres chic. A calm ambience belies the advanced engineering and computer power concealed within it. There are lots of horizontal lines, and a proliferation of materials, but it all works.
Unlike the cutting-edge, clutter-free Tesla which removes all switches and knobs, X3 has a carefully thought out design to put everything where the driver needs it. It looks complex at first, but each function sits within a……
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