Although BMW SA’s revised X3 range doesn’t offer the twin-turbo three-litre turbodiesel model that headlines the range in Europe, Munich’s compact SUV still offers a selection of notable improvements over its predecessor in addition to a number of cosmetic tweaks inside and out.
Styling changes to the front of the X3 include a larger grille and redesigned bumper and spoiler with integrated foglights. The rear light clusters have been given the clear-cover-and-LED treatment and the inclusion of body-coloured bumpers give the new X3 a more formal appearance. The changes move the X3 closer to its big brother, the X5, in terms of styling.
A new six cylinder has been introduced to the X3 in the form of a Valvetronic 200-kW 3,0-litre petrol powerplant, which is complemented by a 160-kW 2,5-litre petrol unit. Both powerplants are based on BMW’s lightweight aluminium and magnesium alloy six-cylinder. The 2,5 goes from zero-to-100 km/h in 8,5 seconds and has a top speed of 220 km/h, while the 3,0-litre accelerates to 100 km/h from standstill in 7,5 seconds, and hits a top end of 229 km/h.
The 2,0d and 3,0d will retain their current engines. The 2,0-litre turbodiesel has a power output of 110 kW and peak torque of 330 N.m, while the 3,0 produces 160 kW and maximum torque of 480 N.m. Although the 2,0d will only be offered with a six-speed manual, the 2,5si is available in manual or five-speed automatic and the three-litre models (3,0si and 3,0d) with six-speed automatic transmissions only.
Interior quality was often an issue with the previous model but the materials are said to be of a higher quality in the revised X3. The instrument panel picks up on the trim colour and materials used on the center console and galvanized metal accents now feature on the door handles and controls while a new three-spoke steering wheel has also been introduced. A 0,65mƒU two-piece panoramic glass roof section is also available to lend some light to the interior.
Two navigation systems are now available; a basic voice system with a small display integrated into the sound system and a premium system that adds a colour graphic display. A range of sound systems is available for the revised X3, the range-topper featuring ten speakers and generating a maximum output of 500 W. Acoustic park distance control is also available to aid maneuvers in tight spaces.
Adaptive bi-xenon headlights that track the vehicle¡¦s movements on the road are available as an option and can be specified in conjunction with a Cornering Light function that utilises the foglights to aid visibility in low light conditions.
Six airbags (front, side and A-pillar curtain) are fitted as standard. The front airbags inflate in stages so as to provide protection in situations where the occupants are not sitting in a normal position and are augmented by a network of steel reinforcement bars in the body and doors.
Safety upgrades include the standard fitment of xDrive four-wheel drive with Dynamic Stability Control + (DSC+) – used for the first time on an “X” model. On the X3, this system includes pre-tensioning brakes, brake drying, brake fade compensation, and hill start assist. Tyre pressure indicators are now fitted as standard across the revised X3 range. A first for any production BMW is the addition of Adaptive Brake Lights that alter in intensity depending on how hard the driver applies the brakes, thereby giving anyone behind a warning to hit the anchors themselves. Another “X” first is DSC’s Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) that can be selected via a button on the center console.
2,0d 6-spd manual R386 000
2,5si 6-spd manual R437 500
2,5si 5-spd auto R451 500
3,0si 6-spd auto R484 000
3,0d 6-spd auto R499 500