BMW has given the second-generation X3 a fresh look for 2014, updating the engine range and making subtle cosmetic tweaks inside and out. The BMW X3 has been one of the most popular mid-size SUVs since its launch back in 2003, racking up more than one million sales globally.
Visually, the refresh has given the X3 a more grownup image, almost resembling that of a downsized X5. Changes include a new headlight design, bolder kidney grille, a revised front and rear bumper, along with a new alloy wheel design and tweaked side skirts.
Viewed in profile and the X3 retains the subtly flared wheel arches and rising crease along the flanks. Inside, BMW reshuffled the centre console with a refreshed control cluster and added chrome and gloss-black inserts to the dash and lower section of the centre console. The manufacturer also now offers a wider variety of upholstery trim and exterior finishes, too.
A new xLine trim level joins the SE and M Sport options, marked out by metallic inserts in the bumpers, aluminium side cladding and bars in the air intakes, underguard protection at the front and rear and exclusive 18-inch alloy wheels. Inside, the new model features exclusive leather upholstery, dark copper trim and a sport leather steering wheel. The new xLine trim commands a £1,500 premium over SE models.
BMW has made more significant changes under the bonnet with a newly developed and more efficient 2.0-litre diesel engine. The rear-wheel drive 148bhp sDrive18d variant delivers best-in-range economy, returning a claimed 60.1mpg with emissions of 124g/km. The other three diesel options, xDrive20d, xDrive30d and flagship xDrive35d all come with four-wheel drive as standard.
Power outputs range from 148bhp to 309bhp, with the option of either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission available depending on engine choice. BMW has also updated its EfficientDynamics package, adding stop/start technology, a coasting function and a brake energy regeneration system to help further boost economy.
The BMW ConnectedDrive for the revised X3 has also seen a raft of new tech added. The iDrive Controller now has an integrated touchpad, there’s full-colour BMW Head-Up Display, anti-dazzle high beam assistant and Driving Assistant Plus, including lane departure warning, active cruise control with Stop & Go function and preventive pedestrian protection.
Sales for the refreshed X3 will begin in June, with prices starting from £30,990 for the entry-level sDrive18d in SE trim - an increase of £2,020 over the outgoing model.