If there’s one area in which BMW has made good progress with the X3, it’s the ride quality.
Indeed, normally we might dissuade you from specifying 19in wheels – as fitted to our M Sport test car – but in this case there’s still a good chunk of Michelin sidewall on offer so the X3’s ability to absorb ruts and coarse surfaces remains unsullied.
There’s grip, too, meaning the suspension has a solid base on which to operate and can by and large elude the lateral see-sawing sensation you sometimes get when tall but under-tyred SUVs struggle for purchase with the road.
The result is a deep-seated composure that’s impressive even for a marque that, with the first-generation X5, proved SUVs really could do ‘handling’.
A Q5 riding on air suspension isolates its occupants from the road better still, as does a like-for-like Mercedes-Benz GLC, but in doing so, both sacrifice the perception apparent in the BMW that you can barrel into bends as keenly as if you were in a much lower, lighter car.
In short, BMW has struck a good balance with this car. And its optional variable damper control, which alters the suspension characteristics through three modes and was fitted to our test car, adds plenty of dynamic breadth of ability.