Set to rival the Audi SQ5 and Mercedes-AMG GLC43 at a price of £51,280, the new range topping X3 model runs the same driveline as the recently introduced X4 M40i M Performance in a move that endows it with a claimed 0-62mph time of 4.8sec and top speed of 155mph.
Revealed here for the first time ahead of a start to UK deliveries in November, the X3 has been extensively re-engineered for 2017 with a new platform that forms the basis for a incremental increase in dimensions, a further increase in interior accommodation and a reduction in kerb weight over the outgoing second-generation X3, which first entered showrooms in 2010.
Corresponding upgrades to the new SUV’s electrical system also see the adoption of a range of contemporary driver assistant systems, including the latest generation of BMW’s active cruise control and driving assistant plus package, which incorporates both a lane change assistant and lane keeping assistant with side collision control.
Headed by the new M40i M Performance, the new X3 line-up initially consists of three models, including two diesels in the form of the £38,880 xDrive20d and the £44,380 xDrive30d. However, BMW plans to widen the range with additional petrol models, including the xDrive20i and xDrive30i in early 2018.
Further variants are under development, including a new plug-in petrol-electric hybrid touting X3 xDrive40e and a full electric X3e – the latter of which is set to arrive in 2020 as a rival to the likes of the upcoming Jaguar E-Pace and Telsa Model X.
The design of the new X3 is credited to Calvin Luk, the young Australian who also takes the kudos for the second-generation X1 and upcoming third-generation Z4. “The plan from the outset was to give the new model a more athletic spirit while retaining the visual formality of its predecessor. It is known within the design team as the rugby player in a suit, he says.”
At 4716mm in length, 1897mm in width and 1676mm in height, the new BMW is 61mm longer, 17mm wider and, in its most sporting M40i M Performance guise, 16mm higher than its predecessor. By comparison, the recently introduced second-generation Audi Q5 stretches to 4663mm in length, 1893mm in width and 1659mm in height.