All-new crossover fulfills BMW’s “X” promise
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BMW introduces a Gen-3 version of the X3 premium compact crossover that effortlessly combines a vibe of gritty off-road style with familiar BMW performance. The German automaker has a diversified lineup of crossovers to fit every size and power profile in the premium category: X1, new X2, X3, X4, X5, X6, and planned X7.
The exterior dimensions of the all-new BMW X3 are pretty much the same as the previous model. The wheelbase has been extended by 2.2 inches and its long hood and extremely short front overhang deliver noticeably balanced proportions that emphasize the highly-desired 50:50 weight distribution between the front and rear axle.
I recently drove both the all-new X3 xDrive 30i and its higher-performance X3 M40i. While the “M” designation means extreme power (and additional cost), the vast majority of Xs sold will be the X3 30i.
In the past, the model numbers reflected the performance characteristics of the model. Under previous nomenclature, the X3 xDrive 30i might have been showcasing a 3.0-liter engine, but new turbo engines are smaller, this 2.0-L 4-cylinder engine pumps out an impressive 248 horsepower and 285 lb.-ft. of torque.
If you choose to drop the extra coin, a base model X3 30i starts at $42,450, for the “M” designation, you can get your X3 up into the $60k range. Stepping up to the higher-performance X3 M40i gets you a 3.0-L V6 with twin turbochargers that makes 355 horsepower and 369 lb.-ft. of torque. (In my book – SOLD).
The U.S.-built X3 30i is a familiar class of compact crossover that exceeds expectations for power and comfort/safety features that define this category. If you are going to upgrade your X3, BMW charges extra for equipment that is often standard in competitors’ vehicles.
A $3,300 Premium package, featuring heated steering wheel, navigation system and head-up display will add $350 for heated front and rear seats. The $2,850 Convenience package gets you a panoramic sunroof, keyless entry, lumbar support, and SXM satellite radio.
My tester featured the Dynamic Handling package, which includes M Sport brakes, dynamic adaptive shock absorbers and variable sport steering for $1,400; while the $900 Driving Assistance package adds blind spot and lane departure warning.
My tester featured the gorgeous Vernasca leather upholstery ($1,700) and the to-die-for audio upgrade Harman Kardon system ($780), $300 for Apple Car Play, and $500 for wireless device charging. My X3 30i tester landed at $57,620, a pretty big jump from the base price, but boy was it enjoyable.
Not everything is optional and BMW has some great standards too: 8-speed automatic transmission, driver-selectable driving modes, hill descent control, automatic stop-start, garage door opener, dark oak wood interior trim, leather-covered steering wheel, tri-zone automatic climate control, 19-inch alloy wheels, LED low-beam headlights and fog lights, and a power tailgate.
The core BMW performance commitment to handling, performance, and braking are certainly the ‘driving force’ behind getting into an X3, but once you are in the cabin, it is an extremely quiet and comfortable place to be.
With sales of 40,691 in 2017, the X3 is BMW’s third-best-selling model, behind the 3 Series sedan and X5, and it is easy to see why. With handsome good looks and plenty of attitude under the hood, the X3 is everything you expect it to be.
This auto review was researched and written by SteinPro Content Services and provided to the Sun-Times for publication