The booming mid-size premium AWD SUV segment is full of a diverse array of offerings from almost all manufacturers and honing that selection down to just a few that suit your needs is a difficult task.
That is why we have this website.
Launched in June 2017 the current-generation BMW X3 xDrive20d continues a long tradition of quality AWD SUVs with excellent driving dynamics.
Externally the new X3 styling is quite unusual. The distinctive front face guarantees it is immediately recognisable as a member of the BMW X family.
In profile, the low coupé-style roofline extending slightly into the rear provides a wagon capability.
However the side profile is where the difference of opinions comes in. Some feel the design is like a smaller car that has been grabbed at both ends and stretched without changing the proportions of the ends, others like the low squat curved side profile.
To me it just doesn’t hold its proportions well.
New design 19″ light alloy wheels are fitted as standard to the BMW X3 xDrive20d, fitted with 245/50R19 run-flat tyres.
Internally the X3 is mainly aimed at the driver. A typical BMW cockpit faces the driver, where every control element is angled towards the driver for optimal ergonomics.
Both front seats are exceptionally comfortable for long trips. Despite its low coupé-style roofline the front seats still allow the driver an elevated driving position and feel.
You are either a fan of the Oak Brown leather interior or not. However there is no disputing the quality or comfort. Interior craftsmanship is superb.
The rear seat bench has two slightly sculptured seats that are a little hard in the squab but reasonably comfortable and although it will fit 3 at a squeeze it is better suited to two occupants.
There is really good headroom, shoulder and knee and leg room.
A couple of minor points. The mirrors in the sun visors are impossibly small yet the interior lights above the centre dash display are intrusively large.
The surround view camera is an invaluable tool - top, front and back view. Once you have it, you’ll never want to drive a car without it again.
The 2018 BMW X3xDrive20d comes equipped with 40:20:40 split fold rear seats which allows for a flexible luggage compartment capacity of between 550 and 1,600 litres.
Overall storage is pretty good with a range of handy storage and luggage carrying features, like 1L bottles in the doors etc. as also standard.
The X3 offers the latest iDrive6 infotainment system, accessed via a new 6.5-inch central screen with the navigation system ‘Business’ package fitted as standard to the xDrive20d.
Additionally the easy to read heads up display clearly displays useful information (particularly it clearly communicates navigation).
The speed also turns red when you go over the speed limit - great as a safety feature but can be annoying/off-putting for those who sit a couple of KM’s over.
The new BMW X3 xDrive20d also boasts an impressive array of specification and style as standard.
Equipment highlights include:
- xLine exterior trim with matt aluminium design elements
- 19″ light alloy wheels
- Eight-speed automatic transmission
- Electric folding exterior mirrors
- Roof rails
- Sport leather steering wheel
- Electric sports front seats
- LED headlights
- Parking assistant with front and rear park distance control
- Rear view camera
- Wireless phone charging
And the aforementioned Navigation system Business with Real-Time Traffic Information and Speed Limit Info.
The heart of the X3xDrive20d is a 2.0 litre, four cylinder engine, with BMW Turbo technology.
This produces 140kW and 400Nm for a zero-100km/h time in 8.0 seconds, with fuel economy of 5.7L/100km on the combined cycle.
The power and torque is about average for the entry level of the segment. However there is a smooth and consistent delivery of power without ever feeling a struggle or jostling/noise in the cabin - typical of BMW’s commitment to refinement.
BMW X3xDrive20d is fitted with an eight-speed sports automatic transmission and variable driving modes.
All new BMW X3 models’ maintenance requirements are controlled by BMW’s Condition Based Service (CBS) program which identifies the condition of a vehicle based on actual use, realising the full potential of a vehicle and minimising costs.
The BMW X3 comes with a five star ANCAP safety rating.
- Head up display
- Lane Departure - with Passive Steer Assist
- Lane Departure Warning
- Airbag – Driver, Passenger, first and second row head and side
- Blind Spot Sensor
- Brake Emergency Display - Hazard/Stoplights
- Forward and Reverse Collision mitigation
- Forward Collision Warning
- Pedestrian Avoidance
- Traction Control
- Rear Cross Traffic Alert
- Power & economy
- Ride & Handling
Not So Good Bits
- Long and expensive options list
- Visibility around ‘C’ pillar
- Side profile
Remember that while the X3 xDrive 35d is technically an AWD SUV, it definitely isn’t designed for virtually any sort of off road driving. It will allow reasonable all road capacity.
It is ideally suited to trips to the snow with icy roads, trips to the holiday house or farm and it does allow the driver to tow up to 2000kg braked though and that is in keeping with its sporting activity nature.
The engine won’t even feel 2000kg on the back by the way.
I have always been a fan of the BMW X3 series and apart from the design, which I find just plain ugly, I am a fan of this series as well.
They always have exemplary quality interiors, display sporty driving dynamics and provide the owner with a sense of pride.
What more could you ask for?
Facts and Figures: 2018 BMW X3 xDrive20d
- Engine: 2.0 litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder 140kW/400Nm
- Transmission: Eight-speed auto AWD
- Safety: Five stars
- Origin: Germany
- Warranty: 3 yrs/Unlimited km
- Price: from $76,917