2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 15:44
BMW has given the X3 a gentle facelift. That did the off-roader good, especially in the interior. The new from Munich can impress above all with the top diesel.
The BMW X3 is a bestseller. Since the off-road vehicle from the Munich company came onto the market two and a half years ago, it has sold more than 260,000 times. No wonder that the Bavarian carmaker proceeded extremely cautiously with the facelift of such a model. After all, the changes to this best seller - in 2005 it was the front runner in the off-road vehicle segment with a market share of 11.4 percent - are not intended to alienate customers, but to attract new ones.
In return, the X3 has been given new, two-part bumpers, with the lower areas made of black plastic. Slightly modified headlights have also been installed at the front, under which the fog lights are located. The kidney grille, which has increased in size and whose lattice struts are colored differently depending on the model, has also been modified.
At the rear there are new taillights with so-called horizontal light rods, which are supposed to give the X3 an unmistakable appearance at night. While many customers were critical of the look and feel of the interior of the previous model, the passenger compartment now gives a much more valuable impression thanks to the use of other materials. BMW has done well to take customer criticism seriously - the quality offensive in the interior has obviously done the X3 well.
Not only visually, but above all haptically, you feel comfortable in the new Bayern model. The highlight of the new X3 is under the bonnet. This is where the 3.0 sd does its job among the six engines on offer (three petrol, three diesel). This engine is a real powerhouse: the six-cylinder diesel engine has an impressive 210 kW / 286 hp. This top diesel, which was first installed in the BMW 535d in 2004, has 14 hp more than its predecessor.
The developers achieved the extra performance through changes to the injection system and the exhaust system. The beauty of this twin-turbo engine, in addition to its impressive power development, is above all the low level of noise: the engine runs so quietly that the driver has to listen very carefully to notice that he is driving a diesel.
Anyone who believes that off-road vehicles, thanks to their body (the X 3 brings it to a height of 1.67 meters) and their high weight (1.95 tons), are not suitable for sporty driving, will be taught better in the X3. Whoever depresses the accelerator pedal on the country road is gently pressed into the well-contoured seats. The X3 accelerates from 0 to 100 km / h in just 6.6 seconds. The top speed is reached at 240 km / h. The maximum torque of 580 Nm is between 1750 and 2250 revolutions per minute. For the intermediate sprint from 80 to 120 km / h, the X3 also needs only 5.7 seconds in fourth gear. Even when overtaking at increasing engine speed, the interior remains pleasantly quiet.
The new six-speed automatic does an excellent job. It converts the gas commands into propulsion precisely and without any noticeable delay. At the same time, the use of a new converter technology with an integrated torsional damper should achieve lower fuel consumption than the previous six-speed automatic. BMW specifies the average consumption at 8.7 liters, but during the test drives it was around 10.5 liters. For a car with this engine and this weight it is still a good value.
The tendency towards sportiness is underlined by the firm, but by no means uncomfortable chassis, with which the almost two-ton colossus can be moved extremely dynamically through the curves. In spite of the height of the car, there is hardly any noticeable swaying. If you need it, you can even order a sports suspension for the X3.
The ground clearance remains the same as that of the production model, but springs, dampers and stabilizers are more rigid. However, it is not necessary - even with the standard chassis, the X3 makes a dazzling impression, which is rounded off by an extremely responsive steering. If you consider that only a tiny fraction of customers (only around two to three percent) ever go off-road with an SUV, the off-road suitability of the X3 could actually be neglected.
For the sake of completeness, however, it should be mentioned that the X3 cuts a good figure here too. This is ensured above all by the xDrive all-wheel drive system, which distributes the engine power variably between the four wheels. Under normal conditions, the drive torque is 40:60 percent distributed between the front and rear axles. If the driving situation makes it necessary, almost all of the drive torque can be applied to just one axle.
When driving off-road in light terrain in the Fröttmaninger Heide in Munich, the X3 could not be disturbed by changing surfaces and inclines. The driver is relieved by control systems: In addition to the DSC driving dynamics control, there is also a hill start aid (it prevents the vehicle from rolling back) and a hill descent control. When the HDC button is switched on, the speed is automatically regulated from a speed of less than 35 km / h. Of course, all of this has its price. The fun of driving a 3.0 sd starts at an impressive 50,300 euros.