BMW X3 is being sold as an SAV.
What’s an SAV do I hear you ask? It is the kind of car a sporty, active, outdoorsy type will want, and use. There’ll be wet suits at 20 paces.
It is hard to stand out in the crowd in a segment crammed full of offerings, both new and old. BMW does it with signature headlights. They’re a version of those much-copied “angel eyes” and like those angel eyes, are unmistakable.
A chunky 2 box design sits on 20” wheels with a tailgate that is hands-free power operated. Stick a boot under the rear bumper (in the right spot if you can find it) and up goes the tailgate quick as you like.
Subtle character lines make an otherwise plain-Jane profile look slightly more interesting. The familiar double-kidney grille, LED lighting, and BMW roundel give a final flourish that will look right at home in the underground inner-city car parks, and the posh leafy suburbs X3 will call home.
The cabin is all class and is given extra spit-and-polish with a few optional-extra boxes ticked. Lavish butter-soft leather is set off by the mirror finish of highly polished woodwork, that is genuine veneer not cheap plakky add-ons.
There is a ton of height so even the most capacious Bee-Hive will arrive un-mussed.
A landscape touch tablet floats above the centre stack with auxiliary controls on the steering wheel, and the iDrive6 controller between the front seats. Voice control can be had if you have the patience to try and figure out how it works. You’ll probably give up, especially if you’ve ordered the optional Apple CarPlay, something I strongly suggest you do.
Comfortable seats are supportive yet firm with enough adjustment to get the perfect driving position. Memory stores seats, mirror and audio settings
There are further memory settings on the centre console for radio, satnav and other handy one-touch features. They are personalized to the memory of the key used to access the car. Smart access/start means the key need never leave your pocket, just don’t let it go through the wash.
Cabin ambience makes the drive feel effortless, but in case it doesn’t quite do it for you, the drive experience certainly will. The damned thing is on rails.
X3 drives exactly like a BMW is expected to. You notice the height in tight bends but the active suspension sorts out any misdemenours. Other than that, it is like driving a 3 Series.
Along with the drive modes, there is active lane control, active cruise control with queue function, and a Satnav system that warns you of obstacles even when a destination isn’t set. Blind sport monitoring is also active and will try to steer you back into the lane if you try careless maneuver.
There is no doubt at least some of the driving fun is removed with all of this stuff looking out for you but the aim is to lower the road toll. I suggest you sit back and relax, and enjoy the view.
If you have a prang in one of these things, you shouldn’t be driving.
Our rating is 8.5/10 and the full story and specs are HERE.