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BMW X3 sends heartbeats racing

Created on 17/12/2018 @ 19:54
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Test Drive by Graham Breeze

The BMW X3 never really sent heartbeats racing but now 15 years on all that’s changed with the arrival of the third-generation model.

Intense competition in the SUV sector meant BMW bosses had little choice. The X3 was starting to look dated in a market containing Jaguar F-Pace, Discovery Sport, Audi Q5, Volvo XC60 and Alfa Romeo Stelvio.

It’s definitely not dated anymore with class-leading refinement, more technology than most will be able to cope with, outstanding ride quality and heaps of BMW style.

Exterior dimensions are largely unchanged, but its five centimetre-longer wheelbase, long bonnet and short front overhang emphasise its 50:50 weight distribution between front and rear axle.

At the front, the chunky three-dimensional Active Air Stream kidney grille and LED fog lamps feature a hexagonal design for the first time on a BMW X model.

At the rear three-dimensional LED light clusters, downward sloping roof spoiler and twin exhaust tailpipes give the X3 stand-out looks.

Inside you just know you are going to get top spec and BMW has really come up with the goods. Material quality, fit and finish are top class.

We tested the Drive2.0d in MSport format – a first for the X3 range. The sports-oriented model stood impressively on 19inch alloys with stunning painted brake callipers. The callipers did cause one motorist an embarrassing moment when she flagged me down to tell me there was something stuck in the wheel.

Customers can choose from six colour tones - Orange, Lilac, Green, Bronze, Blue and White. The car has standard Business Navigation and Park Assist (including Front and Rear PDC and a Reversing Assist Camera.)

The M Sport gets a bespoke leather steering wheel, sports seats, anthracite-coloured BMW Individual headlining and new interior trim strips in Aluminium Rhombicle.

This car model is also equipped as standard with the BMW Professional Navigation system with new 10.25-inch widescreen display.

There are a number of BMW Individual options for the interior, centred around three exquisite variants of Merino leather. Comfort and practicality. X3 features three-zone automatic climate control as standard.

This feature adds separate, adding temperature controls for the rear compartment to those for the driver and front passenger.

To further improve comfort in the rear compartment, the angle of the standard 40:20:40 split/folding rear seat backrests can be adjusted individually and through various stages thanks to the optional Seat Backrest adjustment.

This feature also allows the backrests to be released remotely from the load compartment, which expands the standard load capacity of 550 litres to 1,600 litres. 

Both front passengers can now also settle into optional perforated leather climate seats, which, as well as heating for cold days, offer active seat ventilation to provide more comfort when the going gets hotter.

Another option is a generously sized panoramic glass sunroof, while optional acoustic windscreen glazing contributes to extremely low noise levels in the cabin.

The test car came with a top speed of 32mph and 0-62mph in just eight seconds, combined fuel figures of 56.5mpgand C02 emissions of 144g/km.

On-the-road price was £41,990 but extras including a technology pack, high-beam assist, head-up display, Bluetooth with wireless charging, digital cockpit, WiFi hotspot preparation, a comfort package, adaptive suspension, sports steering, roof rails, electric front sports seats, cruise control, pparking assist, M aerodynamic body styling and exterior trim sent that total up to £49,530.

The X3 M Sport is an example of BMW at its very best and pushes the model back up the SUV rankings.

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