The new BMW X3

The new BMW X3 has raised the bar in the premium sports activity market this year with the introduction of what is the lowest-emission four-wheel-drive model in the sector. This new Sports Activity Vehicle is also the first in the UK to come equipped with an Auto Start-Stop system combined with an automatic transmission. With unparalleled agility, a significantly upgraded cabin and a raft of sector-first technology, the new BMW X3 will set a new benchmark in the Sports Activity Vehicle market.

With a class-leading diesel engine, numerous chassis configurations courtesy of Variable Damper Control, as well as UK specific equipment packages and innovations such as Head-up Display and online connectivity, thanks to ConnectedDrive, the new BMW X3 offers customers the perfect sporty four-wheel-drive vehicle, whatever their activity.

The new BMW X3 combines BMWs X character with a dynamically stretched silhouette to produce an elegant, durable and sporting car. The typically characteristic upright kidney grille and triangular headlight arrangement of BMW X models is reflected in the front end of the X3 ensuring a powerful presence, further emphasised by the flared wheelarches and short wheelbase. Meanwhile the horizontal rear lines on the rear emphasise the X3s robust character.

High-grade materials and intelligent packaging are integral to the new BMW X3s interior. As always, the asymmetrical instrument panel and centre console are orientated towards the driver, while the latest generation iDrive, with 6.5-inch screen as standard, ensures all infotainment capabilities are easily accessible. The 8.8-inch highresolution screen of the navigation system in the Professional Multimedia package featured in the new BMW X3 is the largest on-board monitor in its segment.

Throughout the cabin are a large number of storage compartments, trays and cup holders. The three rear seats offer outstanding comfort for travelling long distances and significantly more leg and elbow room compared to its predecessor.

With a volume of between 550 and 1,600 litres, the luggage compartment of the new BMW X3 is also one of the best in its segment. But it is not just about pure volume useable space is essential to the SAV customer, and the new BMW X3 has an adaptable interior which can be changed to suit personal requirements.

The rear seat backrests can be split 60:40 as standard or, as an option, 40:20:40 where the three segments can be folded down either individually or together. In this way it is possible to adapt the luggage compartment according to requirements.

Offering unrivalled levels of performance and efficiency is BMWs philosophy no matter what type of car and this concept has been applied to the Sports Activity Vehicle sector too. As a result, the new BMW X3 xDrive20d now offers better performance and higher efficiency than any of its rivals.

Powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel engine with aluminium crankcase and common rail direct injection, it delivers a maximum power output of 184hp at 4,000rpm and peak torque of 380 Nm between 1,750 and 2,750rpm. This results in a zero-62mph time of 8.5 seconds, reaching a top speed of 130mph, yet CO2 emissions for this four-wheel-drive vehicle are only 149g/km, with average fuel consumption of 50.4 mpg. The table below outlines just how competitive the new BMW X3 is compared to its rivals.

Other engines, all diesel, will be launched at a later date, but in the UK the BMW X3 xDrive20d will account for approximately 80 per cent of all sales when all other engines have been introduced.

The new BMW X3 xDrive20d with an automatic transmission achieves identical acceleration, top speed and fuel consumption, with a CO2 emission level of 147g/km.

This reduction in emissions is thanks to the X3 being the first BMW model in the UK to team Auto Start-Stop technology with the optional eight-speed automatic transmission. The Auto Start-Stop function also features as standard on the manual transmission.

The advantage of the eight-speed gearbox is a shorter reaction time, smoother changes and the ability to match the perfect gear for any driving situation: whether trying to maximise performance and efficiency, or ensuring the right gear for all occasions when carrying a particularly heavy load.

A six-speed manual gearbox is fitted as standard to the new BMW X3.

Chassis and safety
The first generation BMW X3 set the bar when it came to the driving dynamics of this type of vehicle, and the second generation builds on that exceptional agility with newly conceived suspension technology, electronically controlled driver assistance and advanced four-wheel-drive.

For drivers who want to personalise the feel of their BMW X3, Variable Damper Control is available for the first time on this model. The electronically controlled dampers adapt to road surface conditions and the style of driving, while the driver is able to influence the action of the dampers by means of the Drive Dynamic Control system.

This function enables the driver to choose between Normal, Sport and Sport+ modes using a button on the centre console. As well as damping behaviour, it can adjust the character of the accelerator, engine response, power steering weight, DSC response thresholds and if specified the shifting dynamics of the automatic transmission.

Electric Power Steering is incorporated in the BMW X3 for the first time and allows for precise handling and increased efficiency. Variable sports steering is also available for the first time as an option, and reduces the degree of steering movement necessary to turn the front wheels in various conditions including parking, cornering and swerving manoeuvres. Variable sports steering differs from Integral Active Steering as it does not have a mechanical element such as a planetary gearset adding steering lock. It relies on the Servotronic system to provide greater assistance.

As standard, the new BMW X3 comes with xDrive permanent four-wheel-drive technology, an electronically controlled system that ensures variable distribution of drive to the front and rear axles. Linked to DSC, Dynamic Stability Control, xDrive can counteract oversteer or understeer at an extremely early stage, and help to control the car through bends by sending increased drive to the rear wheels while, if needed, braking the inside rear wheel to increase the cars mid-bend agility and traction.

The commitment to offering the most complete driving on and off-road experience in the sector means the new BMW X3 also features completely redeveloped suspension technology with a double-joint spring-strut axle at the front and a multi-link rear axle.

Performance Control is a new feature for the BMW X3 and sees power distributed electronically between the rear wheels depending on loading to effectively act like an electronic differential.