2.12.2010 BMW X3 xDrive 2.0d SE review
Much smarter looking with a better quality interior and even better to drive, the new BMW X3 in 2-litre turbo-diesel format is the lowest emissions four-wheel drive model in its class. Emissions are 147g/km for the eight-speed automatic and 149/km for the six-speed manual. This compares to 165g/km for the Land Rover Freelander 2 and 174g/km for the Volvo XC60. BMW's combined 54mpg figure shows how rapidly technology is progressing.
Performance is enthusiastic but engine a bit growly around town. Much improved legroom, headroom and boot space includes optional 40:20:40 split arrangement for the rear seats for greater versatility.
Review by Russell Bray for nextgreencar.com
Most new X3s sold in the UK will be powered by this 1995cc, 184bhp four-cylinder turbo diesel which punches out 288 lbs ft of torque from just 1,750rpm and delivers sprightly performance even when teamed with an automatic gearbox as here. The X3 breaks new ground by offering automatic stop-start with an auto. Changes are butter smooth and general noise levels low, especially when cruising. Acceleration to 60mph takes just 8.3 seconds. Top speed is a more than adequate 130mph.
Pick some options and there is almost too much choice in how the car feels on and off the road. Personally I wouldn't bother with Servotronic power steering (£175), variable sport steering (£370) which corrupts the purity of standard systems, or the variable damper control (£910). The X3 already has xDrive four-wheel drive with fully variable torque split without prodding buttons for Normal, Sport and Sport plus with different degrees of stability and traction control. The anti-lock brakes always operate though in fresh snow cars can often stop quicker by locking the wheels and building up a wedge of snow.
I am sure the more elegant looks of the new X3 help account for the 1,000 advance orders as much as the car's increased size and much improved luggage carrying capacity. Naturally the front has the usual imposing countenance familiar in most folks' rear view mirrors. Some 83mm longer than its predecessor the new X3 delivers better legroom and headroom too. M Sport body kits will come along in due course. Length 4648mm. Width 1881mm.
COMFORT & CONTROLS
Without having to account for a gear lever most drivers should be able to get comfortable behind the wheel of the new X3. Crucially getting in and out has been made easier by reducing and lowering the bottom of the door aperture – in response to feedback from female drivers I understand.
There's plenty of adjustment to the steering column and the new iDrive controller to access car functions via a colour screen in the centre of the dashboard is easily understood. Ride comfort was good on softer winter tyres.
MPG & RUNNING COSTS
The BMW X3 is the lowest emissions four-wheel drive model in its class. Official fuel economy figures are impressive at urban 46.3mpg, extra-urban 53.3mpg, combined 54.4mpg. This translates to a fuel cost of about 10p per mile. On test in Austria on winter tyres the car averaged 47.9mpg excluding off-road driving. Carbon dioxide emissions of 147g/km (149g/km with a six-speed manual gearbox) put the BMW X3 xDrive 2-litre diesel in road tax band F at £125 per year. Insurance is group n/a. Warranty cover three years/unlimited miles.
Brake energy regeneration (with recuperation display), electrically assisted power steering, auto start stop, gear shift indicator (with manual transmission), demand controlled ancillary systems, map-controlled oil pump, 'intelligent' lightweight construction, final drive with optimised warm-up behaviour and tyres with reduced rolling resistance. Diesel catalytic converter and particulate filter (DPF), digital diesel electronics (DDE) and EU5 emissions management. Next Green Car Rating of 41.
The SE model at £30,490 is £115 less than the outgoing model, but comes as standard with leather upholstery, two-zone air conditioning, iDrive controller and colour display. Options include a panoramic sunroof, uprated audio equipment and multimedia package with hard-disk storage. Electric boot lid operation, head-up instrument display, adaptive headlights and reversing camera including Top View with a 360 degree panoramic view for the driver are also available.
Model tested: BMW X3 xDrive 2.0d SE Auto
Body-style: Sports Activity Vehicle
Engine/CO2: 184bhp 1995cc turbo-diesel / 147 gCO2/km
Trim grades: SE only at present
On-road price: From £30,490. Price as tested £31,985
Warranty: Three years/unlimited miles
In the showroom: Available now
Review rating: 4.5 STARS
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