- Published On: 8 March 2018
- 5 min read
The X3 has traditionally lagged behind its rivals, but this new model could change that.
BMW will launch its New X3 sometime in April and it will be priced competitively. When you first look at the car, it looks like the X5 from certain angles – it looks like a barely shrunken X5. The larger bonnet, larger ‘squared’ wheel arches and the more substantial tail-lights and bumper take inspiration from its bigger sibling. The kidney grille is larger, taller and more prominent and the ‘double-barreled’ headlights feature neat LED ‘inserts’ placed high.
This third-generation car is built on BMW’s new CLAR platform, which means it is stiffer and 55kg lighter than the outgoing car. Get in and first impressions from the driver seat are extremely positive. Sound insulation in the cabin is great and the diesel rattle is now well muffled at low and medium engine speeds. Even when you step on the gas, aggressively, the engine remains relatively muted, for a diesel. However, this 190hp, 2.0-litre diesel does feel a bit sluggish but once you go past the 2,000rpm mark, it leaps ahead. Shift the gearbox to ‘Sport’ and the X3 is a thrill to drive – responses tighten up, the engine becomes more responsive, and the smart eight-speed automatic drops a gear in a flash, allowing you to set off quickly. Post 4,000rpm, though, the engine starts to get a bit noisy.
Switch to ‘Comfort’ and even when you’re on a really bad road, the X3 manages to barely be shaken. The suspension keeps the car flat and it seldom pitches around. When you hit faster and smoother roads the BMW shines – its rear-biased four-wheel-drive system gives it fantastic balance. The faster you go in this car, the more confident you feel. Even grip levels at the front is great – in fact you won’t even notice the car’s 1.8-tonne kerb weight at all, the more you drive.
This car sits on a longer wheelbase, so there’s a lot of improvement in terms of legroom in the cabin. BMW has also upped the luxury quotient as well – it’s more in line with the 5-series and 7-series. The company has gotten rid of a lot of the smaller buttons and the few that remain are finished really well and function effectively. The driving position and seats feel better as well. The seats are real leather and the design of the digital-only instrument panel, air con controls, and iDrive screen give you a futuristic feel. The dash sees a huge step up in quality and luxury overall.
This car’s sixth-gen iDrive system features a wide screen that is controlled via the rotary iDrive controller, the touchscreen, or even voice. The three-spoke M Sport steering wheel is great to hold and is beautifully crafted. There’s more kneeroom at the back thanks to the longer wheelbase, and the new seats are wider and also more comfortable. You can even recline the seatback but thigh support could have been a bit better. At the back, you get climate control, individual window shades, and the seats can be split in a 40:20:40 configuration if you need more boot space. There’s a space saver in the boot floor as well. The full range of specs will be available once the car goes on sale but what’s unlikely to feature is BMW’s gesture control, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
The X3 will be priced very competitively when it goes on sale in April, somewhere around the Rs 56 lakh mark. The new BMW X3 now has what it takes to be a class leader, so if you’re in the market for a luxury SUV, we’d suggest waiting for this one.