New 2021 BMW X3 SUV facelift adds sportier new look

The facelifted BMW X3 SUV gets a sharper look and 48-volt mild hybrid technology across the petrol range

BMW has revitalised its best-selling SUV for 2021 with a facelift for the popular X3, alongside similarly updated versions of the X4 coupé-SUV, and the high-performance X3 M and X4 M options. 

On sale this summer, prices for the BMW X3 will start from £43,370. All models get exterior and interior design updates, plus new tech, while the X3’s petrol engine line-up changes to adopt 48-volt mild-hybrid systems across the board.

Two trim levels are being prepared for mainstream versions of the X3: xLine and M Sport, while the M40i and M40d versions of the car are also offered in M Sport Pro trim.

The X3 receives an entirely new front apron with a sportier, more angular look to it. The reshaped kidney grille sits between new, slimmer headlamps with new lighting signatures. A fresh rear bumper is joined by striking new tail-light signatures, while M Sport trim models have a new-look bodykit, even sportier than before and with a more striking interpretation of the new, more angular look introduced on the X3. 

New paint and wheel choices are offered across the line-up, including the availability of the 19-inch aero alloys reserved for the all-electric iX3.

Inside, the fresh centre console has the more angular-looking ventilation set-up from the latest 4 Series. Alongside fully digital instrumentation, the central touchscreen sizes up at 12.3-inches on all versions of the X3 sold in the UK. BMW has also updated the X3 with its latest switchgear layout that places key functions, such as the start-stop button, next to the gear selector on the centre console. 

The interior design changes are joined by updated upholstery and trim options. All xLine versions of the X3 use perforated Sensatec faux leather upholstery, while M Sport cars get Vernasca leather by default. These models also feature sports steering and M Sport suspension, with optional adaptive dampers. 

Further development of BMW’s 48-volt mild-hybrid systems means that all petrol and diesel versions of the X3 line-up make use of the technology. Energy is recuperated while decelerating, and can be used to support the 12-volt electric system for key vehicle functions.The system can also provide a boost of 11bhp when called upon. 

The UK line-up for the X3 will open with the four-cylinder petrol xDrive20i model, which produces 181bhp, sends drive to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox, and delivers 0-62mph in 8.4 seconds with a top speed of 133mph. Fuel economy of up to 37.7mpg is claimed, with CO2 emissions from 197g/km. Prices for this model start from £43,370. 

The plug-in hybrid xDrive30e model remains on sale, priced from £50,600 and capable of returning up to 141mpg. This uses a 2.0-litre petrol engine in combination with a battery and electric motor system, for a total power output of 249bhp and 420Nm torque. BMW claims 0-62mph in 6.1 seconds and a top speed of 130mph, while up to 31 miles of battery-electric running is possible. It’s still the company car tax-busting option too, thanks to CO2 emissions as low as 43g/km. 

The petrol-powered line-up is crowned by the 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged six-cylinder M40i model. With 355bhp and 500Nm on demand, 0-62mph takes 4.9 seconds while top speed is limited to 155mph. Prices start from £59,010. 

The diesel line-up opens with the xDrive20d model, making use of turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder power. BMW claims 187bhp, 0-62mph in 7.9 seconds, a top speed of 132mph and up to 48.7mpg. Prices start from £44,310. 

Six-cylinder diesel power is provided in the xDrive30d and the high-performance M40d variants. The 30d model makes use of a 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel with 282bhp and 650Nm. It combines fuel economy of up to 45.6mpg with performance of 0-62mph in 5.7 seconds and a top speed of 152mph. It’s priced from £51,510. 

The M40d uses the same engine but with 335bhp and 700Nm, taking the 0-62mph sprint down to 4.9 seconds and the top speed to a limited 155mph. Fuel economy dips to 42.8mpg, while this model is priced from £58,560. 

All versions of the X3 come with xDrive all-wheel-drive and an eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard.

Click here to read our in-depth review of the current BMW X3...

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