From £31,945
Roomier, classier and more refined than old car, yet it also uses less fuel and rides better

Our Verdict

BMW X3

The BMW X3 is both frugal and rewarding to drive, a rare and clever technical achievement

1 June 2010

What is it?

Despite the disguise taping, it is clearly larger than the outgoing X3. Early figures indicate that length is up by 83mm, width by 29mm and height by 40mm. The wheelbase has grown by 15mm to 2810mm.

Those aren't huge increases, but they amount to a more spacious and comfortable interior.

Even more noticeable is the lift in interior quality. The materials are of a higher grade than those found in the old X3, giving it a more expensive feel.

The engines are revised four and six-cylinder petrols and diesels - for full details on the car and spec see Click on BMW X3 - first details

BMW intends to sell the new X3 at the same price as the old one in the UK. Nothing official just yet, but that means a base X3 xDrive20d should go for around £30,600.

What's it like?

We spent only an hour with BMW's prototype second-generation X3 ­- not long enough to form proper impressions but enough to reveal that the new SUV is much more rounded than its predecessor.

The 182bhp 2.0-litre diesel in the xDrive20d will be the most popular in the UK, but in the prototype we drove it felt tardy below 2000rpm and required more revs than should be necessary to hit its stride.That's odd, because it now delivers 281lb ft of torque, 22lb ft more than before.

Perhaps it's the longer gearing in six-speed manual guise, fitted as part of the fuel-saving measures that drop consumption by an impressive nine per cent.

New electro-mechanical steering provides a direct feel even without the added precision that BMW says will be brought by an optional M package. As with the old model, firm damping allows it to change direction with surprisingly little roll, and it's impressively agile, given the ride height. It also appears to lack the low-amplitude choppiness that made its predecessor a chore on British roads.

It gets BMW's variable damping control system with three levels of damper stiffness: Normal, Sport and Sport Plus.

It's still quite firm, but the annoying vertical movement, especially at the rear, has been quelled.

Should I buy one?

Although our early conclusions are drawn from a controlled test drive, it is clear the new X3 is an improvement on its predecessor in a number of areas.

We wouldn't rule out it achieving similar levels of success to the outgoing model.

See all the latest BMW X3 reviews, news and video

Join the debate

Comments
24

4 June 2010

[quote Autocar]We wouldn't rule out it achieving similar levels of success to the outgoing model.[/quote]

way to go, Greg, really sticking your neck out there. So, it(the new X3)'s bigger, more luxurious, faster, more economical, yet lighter and no more expensive, and you 'wouldn't rule it out achieving similar levels of success'. Damned with faint praise, as usual by Autocar. Compare this begrudging write up with the orgasms over the cut and shut 2wd £35k Freelander. Objectivity?

[quote Autocar]low-amplitude choppiness[/quote]

what's that, Mr Kable? In aquatic terms 'low amplitude choppiness' could be ripples, tending to flat calm. Your term is oxymoronic, or perhaps just moronic.

Anonymous

4 June 2010

[quote nicksheele]perhaps just moronic.[/quote]

Ahh, not heaping on praise for German car i.e the piece of crap that is the X3 and you throw a tantrum (again). Quite clearly you have issues with anything Autocar write about BMW, VW etc because you are bitter and biased ???

I suppose if you had your way every motoring publication in the world would come to the one, same conclusion that anything German will be great, hey even if you put a BMW badge on a Jag or Land Rover!!!

Moron

5 June 2010

[quote jmf]

even if you put a BMW badge on a Jag or Land Rover!!!

Moron

[/quote]

according to the saddos - 'British' car nuts - the Germans did, the X5, 'nicked' from Land Rover, nicht wahr?

Can't debate - call names. Is it any wonder the majority of non-Brits think Britain is sunk and degraded. As the Eurovision would say, United Kingdom (saddo nation), null points.

5 June 2010

The fact remains, Autocar hates anything BMW. Just look at the garbage they came up with for the new 530d, while other publications sings its praises, crowning it the new king of the mid execs. Not, autocar! Same with X1, same with X6, GT on and on... why would you, jmf, argue this fact? It's FACT!

5 June 2010

[quote Giom37]

The fact remains, Autocar hates anything BMW. Just look at the garbage they came up with for the new 530d, while other publications sings its praises, crowning it the new king of the mid execs. Not, autocar! Same with X1, same with X6, GT on and on... why would you, jmf, argue this fact? It's FACT!

[/quote]

Agreed. Personally, I think it's only because BMW's board member for sales and marketing is a Brit, Ian Robertson, that Autocar still gets any cooperation from BMW. They, BMW, labour under the misapprehension that Autocar's hacks don't have an agenda and continue to give them their shiny new products, which right on cue, Autocar spits back in their faces, regular as clockwork. Trouble is, more and more people are beginning to notice this pathetic jingoism by Autocar, and jingoism as we know is the last resort of the coward. Not one other automotive publication in UK, Germany or the US , reviewing the new X3's pre-launch ride, has brought up the 2 litre diesel being 'tardy below 2,000 rpm', quite the contrary, which stands to reason when the diesel unit has had its power and torque increased and the new X3 is lighter than its predecessor, plus, no one else mentioned 'low amplitude choppiness', whatever the hell that is. Autocar's agenda is painfully obvious, to all but the 'British' car industry fanboys, who hang around Autocar's forums like a bad smell. Matters not, the new X3 will sell, Autocar and its saddos notwithstanding.

5 June 2010

Well I must say that this is a major improvement from the last X3. The previous model looked cheap, had a cheap interior and was rubbish off road, probably because the thing was built in Austria !! This new model is, like all BMW's nowadays, quite a handsome looking brute, I am not saying that the old model was an ugly car because it definately wasn't, I thought it was great looking, but this looks more contemporary and modern, which is what I like about it. The interior also looks a lot more promising on this new model. Thumbs up BMW.

5 June 2010

[quote 2uettottanta]I am not saying that the old model was an ugly car because it definately wasn't[/quote]

Yes it bloody well was.

5 June 2010

[quote nicksheele]

[quote jmf]

even if you put a BMW badge on a Jag or Land Rover!!!

Moron

[/quote]

according to the saddos - 'British' car nuts - the Germans did, the X5, 'nicked' from Land Rover, nicht wahr?

Can't debate - call names. Is it any wonder the majority of non-Brits think Britain is sunk and degraded. As the Eurovision would say, United Kingdom (saddo nation), null points.

[/quote]

A lot of the tech in the X5 was under development for Land Rover. Also, the MINI was designed by Rover - they had full pre-production running prototypes driving around in 1997, and the design went a lot further back than that. It was supposed to replace the Metro/Rover 100 as well as the Mini. BMW made off with the X5, the MINI, Land Rover and the Triumph and Riley brands (just to ensure those two could never be used again), sold the remains of MG Rover to a bunch of people they knew they could rely on to destroy it, then flogged off LR to Ford. Even as a BMW fan, I find their handling of the whole Rover Group débacle rather shameful.

5 June 2010

What I find most surprising is that nobody has commented on the fact that BMW has covered the seats in Dale Winton...

5 June 2010

I was about to ask if they got British Leyland in to do the seats. For all their expensive leathery brownness (hello Dale) they do look like something in top quality PVC from a 1972 Marina. Not exactly comfortable either.

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • 2016 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron UK review
    First Drive
    29 September 2016
    First UK drive finds the facelifted A3 Sportback e-tron remains a first-rate plug-in hybrid that is packed with tech if a little short on driver appeal
  • Citroen C11.2 Puretech 82 Furio
    First Drive
    29 September 2016
    Citroën's city car gets a new sporty-looking trim level, adding visual adornments, but no premium for the 1.2-litre Puretech triple we're driving
  • Mercedes C350e Sport
    First Drive
    28 September 2016
    Petrol-electric C-Class is a surprisingly well-priced alternative to a diesel but not the greatest example of the new ‘PHEV’ breed
  • Car review
    23 September 2016
    Aston kicks off its ‘second century plan’ with an all-new turbo V12 grand tourer
  • Ford Ka+ 1.2 Ti-VCT 85
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    A rounded, refined and well-sorted bargain supermini – once you’re used to the confusing role redefinition imposed on the once-cheeky Ka