In April 2018 Auto Expo, BMW launched the third generation of its compact SUV X3 on the highly popular CLAR Platform. The German automakers have decided to get these automobiles assembled in its Chennai plant keeping in mind with the ‘Make in India’ sentiment. The crossover SUV would be available in three variants- xDrive 20d (Expedition, xLine and Luxury Line) and xDrive 30i currently being offered only in Luxury Line. Auto-lovers can own this SUV in ten attractive colours including the hugely popular Mineral White, Black Sapphire, Sophisto Grey, and Phytonic Blue.
The third generation X3 comes with the same traditional design language that car enthusiasts are already familiar with. It has an inconspicuously long nose, kidney grille, and strong muscular stance. Outwardly it looks like X5 from various angles as designers borrowed some amount of design cues from its bigger sibling. However, being made on the CLAR platform, it comes with aluminium-intense construction which had successfully reduced its weight by 55 kilograms from the outgoing model. The kidney grills have also grown larger with tall slats that remain heavily embedded in chrome. The new improved X3 has partially-hexagonal DRL adding to its aggressive look. At the rear end, there is large wrap around tail lamps with sizzling LED graphics.
Similar to exteriors, the cabin of upgraded X3 also projects an overall attractive design. It has excellent insulation, so riders cannot feel the diesel engine rattle even at low or medium speed. Acoustic glazing on the windscreen functions very well in eliminating outside noise. Interiors look sophisticated with piano black finish intelligent combined with granite-finish inserts. You also get a massive 10.2-inch touchscreen with many innovative features like Apple CarPlay, gesture control and voice recognition. There is also a 16 speaker Harman Kardon music system turning the SUV into a mini auditorium. As far as the storage is concerned, you get a large glove box, twin cup holders on the central console, and an impressive wireless charging tray.
Under the hood, you get a 2.0-litre TwinPower Turbo 4-cylinder engine which can unleash 249 bhp@5200 rpm and a peak torque of 350 Nm@1450-4800 rpm in the petrol trim. The oil burner remains mated to an 8-speed fully automatic transmission gearbox supplying power to all the wheels making it functionally off-roading competent. X3 has amazingly fast acceleration sprinting from 0 to 100 Kmph in just 6.3 seconds. Riders can drive the car either in Sport or Comfort mode based on their preference. It does become a bit jerky, but the driver can enjoy quicker response with the gearbox.
As far as pricing is concerned, you need to shell out INR 49.99 lakh for the Expedition version of X3 in its Diesel trim. The Luxury Line is bit pricey and comes at INR 58.25 lakhs. This SUV takes on the likes of Audi Q5, Volvo XC60, Lexus NX, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Jaguar F-Pace, and Land Rover Evoque.
Upside • The third generation X3 show improved aerodynamics with a lighter aluminium body. • In spite of being a compact crossover, it has enough cabin space for the convenience of riders. • The XUV has excellent infotainment system with 10.2-inch touchscreen loaded with features like Apple CarPlay, gesture control and voice recognition.
Downside • The handling of X3 could have been better. Many rivers offer a powerful 3L engine in the same segment. • Riders find noticeable lag in power delivery, especially in the diesel engine. • Thigh support in the rear section, though not a deal breaker, could have been better.
Finally, we can say, if we take the luxury quotient, gadgets, and cabin space into consideration BMW X3 is a desirable crossover SUV for many.