New 2017 BMW X3 SUV: details, prices and pics

The new BMW X3 mid-size SUV has an evolutionary look, but it’s all change under the skin

This is the all-new BMW X3 – the German brand’s latest attempt to stamp on the toes of the newly launched and rebooted Audi Q5 and Volvo XC60 in the premium mid-size SUV market.

It goes on sale in November starting at £38,880 – a near-£4,500 price hike over today’s entry-level model. The line-up tops out at £51,280, but later down the line a top-spec X3 M and fully electric version with a 250-mile range will appear.

This third-generation X3 is 55kg lighter than the car it replaces and sits on BMW’s new CLAR platform, which it shares with the new 5 Series saloon. It carries on with the same distinctive looks BMW has used on its SUVs since the late nineties with the X5 – a mass of muscular curves and jacked-up estate car-like proportions. It’s certainly an evolution of the outgoing model, though, with the brand deciding not to alienate loyal buyers of that car; more than 1.5 million X3s have been sold since 2003.

From launch there will be three models available in the UK: an xDrive20d powered by a 187bhp 2.0-litre diesel, an xDrive30d which uses a 262bhp 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel, plus an M Performance model for the first time in the shape of the M40i which houses a 355bhp turbocharged 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol under the bonnet.

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A lesser-powered 2.0-litre turbo, badged xDrive20i, will join the line-up at a later date. In the UK, X3 buyers will also get a choice of three trim levels: SE, xLine and M Sport. The range will kick off with the SE which will come with 18-inch alloys, climate control, sat-nav and leather seats, while xLine adds more of an off-road look.

M Sport models benefit from a range of racier features such as sports seats, and each X3 can be further upgraded with the BMW Individual programme. All models come with LED headlamps, a full leather interior and alloy wheels as standard.

Auto Express met up with lead exterior designer Calvin Luk, who talked us round BMW’s latest SUV. He told us: “We approached this third-generation X3 with the attitude of ‘go big or go home’. 187

The kidney grille is larger than before – the whole front end is more puffed up – bold, strong and yet we’ve also added simpler, more flowing surfaces.” There’s a long, squared-off bonnet which is very X5 in design, and the sides gently taper outwards over the rear wheels; at the back it’s more curvaceous than the previous two X3s.

As you’d expect, the styling differs from model to model; xLine versions get a tougher look with kick plates and rugged exterior details, while the M Sport features more aggressive, sporty add-ons as well as more body-coloured trim. Yet while the outside could be described as a gentle evolution of the previous X3, it’s on the inside where the new car stretches ahead of its predecessor. It’s not just the platform the X3 shares with 5 Series, but also various chunks of tech.

The dashboard design with its hexagonal shapes is in keeping with the large saloon, and so is the quality – the soft-touch plastics feel great, plus the fit and finish is excellent and easily rivals the Audi Q5’s.

As in the 5 Series, there’s ambient lighting with a choice of six colours, and among the options there’s a head-up display, acoustic glass for the front windows, climate control with the ability to pump out fragranced air of up to eight different scents, ventilated seats and a large panoramic sunroof that stretches back over the rear passengers.

Other extras include BMW’s Display Key (its smartphone-like screen gives fuel range and security info, but it doesn’t feature the 5 and 7 Series’ clever self-parking feature), plus gesture control.

In the back there’s plenty of space for two six-footers or three people at a push, and the seats split and fold 40:20:40. An optional ‘cargo function’ sees the backrests recline.

Meanwhile, the X3’s boot measures up well against its rivals; at 550 litres it’s the same as in the Q5 and Mercedes GLC, but 100 litres down on the Jaguar F-Pace. With the seats folded it offers 1,600 litres; on par with the Mercedes, larger than the Audi, but behind the Jag. Previous X3 owners won’t mind, though; the boot’s the same size as the old car’s.

The X3’s sleeker sister car, the X4, should receive similar updates a few months later.

Do you like the look of the new BMW X3? Let us know in the comments section below...

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