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JOHANNESBURG – To celebrate BMW South Africa's switch from producing the 3 Series sedan to building the X3 SUV at its Rosslyn Plant in Pretoria, we had the chance to drive several X3 models for more than 1 000 km through Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Limpopo. What better way to learn about a vehicle than spend a three full days behind the wheel?

Plant Rosslyn

The motor manufacturing industry is an exceptionally important one here in South Africa and, frankly, every automaker building locally should be congratulated for its contribution to the economy, especially during these challenging times.

BMW invested billions of rands at its plant in Rosslyn to switch from the manufacture of the 3 Series to that of the X3. Perhaps most impressive, though, is the fact that production of the 3 Series continued unabated while the extensive building work and upgrades were going on in and around the factory.

The X3 produced at Rosslyn is for local consumption as well as the export market. The local range currently comprises the xDrive20d, xDrive30i, xDrive30d and flagship M40i (before the inevitable X3 M arrives, anyway). We have already driven the X3 xDrive 30d Steptronic and the X3 M40i, so during this trip, I decided to spend some time with what is currently the "entry-level" model in the line-up: the xDrive20d.

Behind the wheel

I expected to be a little disappointed as I climbed into the xDrive20d after a long stint behind the wheel of the xDrive30d, with the latter impressing thanks to the high perceived quality of its cabin, a smooth engine (which offers an abundance of torque) and a chassis that offers a good ride quality.

But the interior of the xDrive20d isn't really a letdown. Sure, you notice that the infotainment screen is smaller than that in the more expensive model, but it's more than sufficient for most needs.

Our test unit was fitted with 19-inch wheels (18- and 20-inch items are also available). During the trip, we negotiated some 150 km of gravel roads, and it was over these surfaces that we were thankful for the 19-inch wheels. As expected, some bumps filter into the cabin, but at constant speeds and taking the changing surface conditions into account, the road tyres and suspension coped well.

Back on tarmac, the 19-inch wheels offered both sufficient damping and high levels of grip. Still, if you plan on traveling often on gravel roads, I would recommend opting for the fatter 18-inch tyres.

The 2,0-litre turbodiesel engine in this derivative delivers 140 kW and 400 N.m, with the latter on tap from as low as 1 750 r/min. And this unit performed admirably, both over the mountain passes of Mpumalanga and on the highways. The low-down torque helps with overtaking, and even renders the X3 mildly amusing in the twisties. As with the 3,0-litre model, the cabin is quiet and the overall experience relaxing when you want it to be, despite the SUV's obvious dynamic abilities.

Summary

BMW's X models have long been positioned as more dynamically adept than the majority of their competitors, and that remains the case here. However, depending on your chosen specification, the new X3 can also be one of the more comfortable and luxurious SUVs in its segment. Indeed, if you're considering “downgrading” from an older X5 to a new X3, you'll likely find that the new vehicle ticks more than enough boxes.

And that powertrain? Well, the xDrive30d might offer the sort of performance associated with the Bavarian brand's in-line six-cylinder turbodiesel engine, but there's no denying that the more affordable xDrive20d will get the job done for the vast majority of buyers, too.

Latest Resutls for BMW X3

Manufacturer Specifications

Standard - standard Optional - optional
  • Cloth upholstery: partial cloth + leather
  • Leather upholstery: partial cloth + leather (opt leather)
  • Seats quantity: 5
  • Split rear seat: Standard
  • Folding rear seat: Standard
  • Air conditioning: Standard
  • Climate control automatic air conditioning: Standard
  • Cup bottle holders: front + rear
  • Lumbar support adjustment: opt front electric
  • Front armrests: Standard
  • Heated ventilated seats: opt front heated / opt front + rear heated / opt front heated + ventilated
  • Antilock braking system (ABS): Standard
  • Electronic brake distribution (EBD): Standard
  • Brake assist (BAS/EBA): Standard
  • Stability control: Standard
  • Hill descent control downhill brake control: Standard
  • Run flat tyres: Standard
  • Tyre pressure sensor monitor deflation detection system: Standard
  • Driver airbag: Standard
  • Front passenger airbag: Standard
  • Front side airbags: Standard
  • Curtain airbags: Standard
  • Airbag quantity: 6
  • Lane departure warning: opt / opt lane keeping assist
  • Lane change blindspot warning assist monitor: Optional
  • Automatic drive away locking: Standard
  • Approach home safe lighting time delay park headlights: Standard
  • Directional turning headlights: opt LED
  • Adaptive headlights varying light distribution: opt LED
  • Emergency brake hazardlights: dynamic flashing brake lights
  • Start stop button: Standard
  • Engine auto Stop Start idle stop ecostop: Standard
  • Hillstart assist hillholder: Standard
  • Alloy wheelsrims: Standard
  • Sports suspension: Optional
  • Electronically adjustable suspension: opt adaptive
  • Driving mode switch eg sport comfort: Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport
  • Power steering: Standard
  • Multifunction steering wheel controls: Standard
  • Head up display: Optional
  • On board computer multi information display: Standard
  • Navigation: Standard
  • Cruise control: std incl brake function (opt adaptive)
  • Active adaptive cruise control: Optional
  • Bluetooth connectivity: Standard
  • CD player: Standard
  • TV television: Optional
  • USB port: Standard
  • Powersocket 12V: front + rear + boot
  • Central locking: remote (opt keyless)
  • Remote central locking: Standard
  • Key less access start hands free key: keyless start (opt keyless access)
  • Electric windows: front + rear
  • Rain sensor auto wipers: Standard
  • Auto dim interior mirror: Optional
  • Electric adjust mirrors: Standard
  • Heated exterior mirrors: Standard
  • Auto dimexterior mirrors: opt driver
  • Sun roof: opt sliding/tilting panoramic
  • Panoramic roof: opt sliding/tilting
  • Electric seat adjustment: opt front
  • Memory for electric seat adjustment: opt driver
  • Daytime driving running lights: LED
  • Light sensor auto on off lights: Standard
  • Xenon headlights: LED
  • Highbeam assist: Optional
  • Frontfog lamps lights: LED
  • Highlevel 3rd brakelight: Standard
  • Rear fog lamps lights: Standard
  • Camera for park distance control: opt rear / opt surround view
  • Towbar trailer hitch: opt electric detachable
  • Metallic pearl escent paint: Optional
  • Fuel Type: diesel
  • Fuel range average: 1236 km
  • Driven wheels: all
  • Driven wheels quantity: 4
  • All wheel drive: full-time
  • Gearratios quantity: 8
  • Gearshift: automatic
  • Transmission type: automatic
  • Transmission name: Steptronic
  • Gear shift paddles: Optional
  • Electromechanical parking brake: Standard
  • Front tyres: 245/50 R19 (opt 245/45 R20 / opt 245/40 R21)
  • Reartyres: 245/50 R19 (opt 275/40 R20 / opt 275/35 R21)
  • Length: 4708 mm
  • Width excl mirrors incl mirrors: 1891-2138 mm
  • Height: 1676 mm
  • Wheel base: 2864 mm
  • Ground clearance minimum maximum: 204 mm
  • Turning circle wheels body: 12 m
  • Load volume / capacity: 550-1600 L
  • Load volume / capacity: 1600 L
  • Unladen/tare/kerb weight: 1825 kg
  • Load carrying capacity / payload: 660
  • Gross weight (GVM): 2420 kg
  • Towing capacity - unbraked: 750
  • Towing capacity - braked: 2400
  • Fuel tank capacity (incl reserve): 68l
  • Fuel consumption urban: 5.3 l/100km
  • Fuel consumption extra urban: 4.2 l/100km
  • Fuel consumption average: 5.5 l/100km
  • CO2 emissions average: 146g/km
  • Power maximum: 140 kW
  • Power maximum total: 140 kW
  • Power peak revs: 4000 r/min
  • Power to weight ratio: 76.7 kW/ton
  • Torque maximum: 400 Nm
  • Torque peak revs: 1750-2500 r/min
  • Torque maximum total: 400 Nm
  • Acceleration 0-100 kmh: 8.0s
  • Maximum top speed: 213 km/h
  • Engine position/ location: front
  • Engine capacity: 1995 cc
  • Engine size: 2.0l
  • enginedetailshort: 2.0TD
  • Engine + detail: 2.0 turbo diesel
  • Cylinder layout: inline
  • Cylinders: 4
  • Cylinder layout + quantity: i4
  • Cam: dohc
  • Valves per cylinder: 4
  • Valves quantity: 16
  • Variable camvalve timing: Standard
  • Variable valvelift: Standard
  • Turbocharger: Standard
  • Warranty time (years): 2
  • Warranty distance (km): unlimited km
  • Maintenance plan: Standard
  • Maintenance plan time (years): 5
  • Maintenance plan distance (km): 100000 km
  • Service interval indicator: Standard
  • Service interval (distance): service interval indicator km
  • Brand: BMW
  • Status: c
  • Segment: passenger car
  • MMcode: 05046210
  • MMVariant: X3 xDRIVE 20d xLINE (G01)
  • MMintrodat: 2017-09-01
  • Introdate: 2017-09-01
  • DuoportarecordID: BMWX3_3e2

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