In its third instalment, the storied carmaker’s mid-sized SUV – the BMWX3 is its best yet
The BMW X3 was originally introduced as a compact, luxury crossover that had the SUV advantages of the larger X5 and the driving dynamics of the BMW 3-series. Over the years, the X3 has gotten larger and is more of an SUV than a crossover now. Now in its third generation, the carmaker has launched the latest X3 in India.
This mid-sized BMW SUV rivals the likes of the Mercedes GLC, Audi Q5, Volvo XC60 and the Land Rover Discovery Sport. So, what sets the BMW X5 apart though is that it’s a lot more driver-focussed than its rivals? If you enjoy driving yourself instead of being chauffeured around town, the X5 makes a cogent argument for itself.
To begin with, the overall profile strongly resembles the car it replaces; typically X3. That said, the front end has been redesigned with a more aggressive and larger ‘kidney grille’ and at the rear, the restyled tail-lamps look a lot more contemporary and are larger too. Apart from these, the new X3 has got a few nips and tucks all over that make it holistically sharper.
Inside, the new X3 gets a few new features too. The most noticeable of which is the updated infotainment system that it shares with the new BMW 5-series. This system supports gesture control – for example, you can change the volume of the audio system by simply rotating your hand in a clockwise or counter-clockwise motion in front of the infotainment screen. There’s also a heads up display that projects the car’s speed onto the windscreen and into your line of sight and a useful 360 degree camera for parking in tight spaces.
Under the skin is where the real differences lie. The new X3 uses an allp-new chassis that is much lighter than its precursor (about 50kg) while managing to be stiffer too. Additionally, the wheelbase is slightly longer than the older car. This means, there’ll be more leg room at the rear which is always welcome.
The engine options have been fine tuned too. There’s an option between the familiar 2.0-litre 190bhp diesel mill (called the xDrive20d) from the previous car. Additionally, BMW plans to bring a powerful 3.0-litre diesel that’ll produce around 265bhp and a range topping 3.0-litre twin turbo petrol motor that’ll make a hefty 360bhp. This version will get BMW’s performance moniker ‘M’ and will be called the M40i. The X3 M40i is squarely aimed at the Mercedes-Benz GLC43 AMG and will be similarly priced at around Rs. 75 lakhs plus taxes. The X3 gets four-wheel-drive as standard as well as an eight speed automatic gearbox across the range.
The third generation BMW X5 XDrive 20d has been priced at Rs 50 lakhs for the expedition trim and Rs 57 lakhs for the better specked Luxury Line trim. This makes it slightly more expensive than its primary rival, the Mercedes-Benz GLC. However, if you like getting behind the wheel, you may find yourself tilting towards the X3.
Quick Tip: If safety is your priority, opt for the Volvo XC60. For style, the Mercedes-Benz GLC looks the business. But from behind the wheel, we’d probably go with the X3!