The much anticipated new generation of the BMW X3 is now running on Indian roads. The company first began by launching just the diesel variants of the car but recently the petrol version was launched as well. The luxury SUV space in the country is growing well, and is taking over from sedans. And all stakeholders are present here with their best bets. BMW also would like to increase their market share in the SUV space. The X1 has been doing well and is the leader in the segment. The German giant must be hoping the X3 too takes a strong lead against its rivals. With the X3 they’re to offer all aspects into one and that includes luxury, sportiness and looks.
The X3 gets a compelling front with a boldly enhanced distinctive double kidney grille. Fully adaptive LED headlights and LED fog lamps featuring the new hexagonal design ensure a prominent stance. This the first Sports activity vehicle from BMW to get a Luxury Line variant which adds that extra appeal to the car. The chrome radiator grille bars, two-tone underbody protection in frozen grey matt with chrome trim, air-breather and nicely designed 19” light-alloy wheels all add a bit of glamour. At the rear, LED expressive taillights are combined with a low-slung roof spoiler. This along with exhaust tail pipes on both sides in chrome make for an appealing look. Automatic tailgate operation is expected in this segment and the company does not disappoint.
The car gets a 12.3-inch Multifunction Instrument Display, BMW iDrive, including touch controller and also works with Apple car play. Just like a few other cars from the brand, the BMW Display Key is here as well. It allows drivers to keep in contact with their car round the clock. Then there’s the smart phone holder which is integrated into the centre console and allows for wireless charging. There are also a lot of storage spaces in the cabin which means the car scores well ergonomically. The seats get real leather unlike some competitors and that is bound to make you feel more comfortable. But that great pull on the 7 & 5 series, the gesture control for audio is missing here. The car also gets a 600 watt high end Harman surround sound system that is amongst the best in the segment. A nice panoramic sunroof also adds to a luxurious experience. The wheel base has gone up and so has the space on the second row. Boot space stands at 550 liters which can be expanded to 1,600 liters.
On this drive of ours we had the diesel variant with us. It runs on a 2 liter 4 cylinder engine that generated 190 hp of power and a maximum torque of 400 Nm at 1,750 rpm. The car accelerates from 0-100 km / hr in around 8 seconds. The 1.8 ton kerb weight is handled well by this engine. The petrol in comparison is quicker and more powerful. Its two-liter four-cylinder mill produces an output of 252 hp and a maximum torque of 350 Nm which starts kicking in at 1,450 rpm. The car accelerates from 0-100 km / hr in just 6.3 seconds. The eight-speed automatic Steptronic sport transmission performs smooth gear shifts. For even greater driving pleasure, the transmission is available with steering wheel paddle shifters.
Ride & Handling
There are many driving modes on offer including comfort that comes to your aid on bad roads. There’s plenty of travel and that helps in giving a comfortable ride. Handling characteristics too are acceptable considering this is a SUV but the bigger dimensions do not hamper in giving a stable ride. The car also gets BMW xDrive, all-wheel-drive system. The SUV monitors the driving situation constantly and is quick to respond. The system distributes the engine’s power between the front and rear axle exactly to suit the driving situation and the surface. Adaptive suspensions, electronically controlled Automatic Differential Brakes, extended ‘Dynamic Traction control, Hill Start Assist and Hill Descent Control also help in taking on the tough terrains. Also the new generation of the BMW X3 is lighter by around 55 kgs than its predecessor. This provides for better handling and stiffer drive. BMW Efficient Dynamics also helps in better fuel efficiency as it features Auto Start-Stop, ECO PRO mode and Brake-Energy Regeneration.
The mid-luxury SUV segment is perhaps the most competitive in its class with some really impressive cars present here. These include the recently launched Audi Q5, Volvo XC 60 and the Mercedes GLC. But with that new design, platform and all the innovations the new X3 stands strong. The car also gets some useful safety features like Attentiveness Assistance, Dynamic Stability Control, side-impact protection, electronic vehicle immobilizer and crash sensor. The only Petrol variant is priced at Rs. 56.9 lakhs that’s just Rs. 20,000 more than the diesel Luxury line variant. The most affordable though is the diesel expedition model that will cost you 49.9 lakh rupees (ex-showroom). That’s a good price to pay for the package on offer.
Shams Naqvi is an anchor/producer for the News X motor show Living Cars