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.

• Best 4x4s and SUVs on sale right now

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...

Recommended

Best SUVs to buy 2020
SUVs

Best SUVs to buy 2020

We name the top 10 best SUVs and 4x4s you can buy on the new car market today
15 Jul 2020
BMW X3 review
BMW X3 - front
BMW X3

BMW X3 review

The third generation BMW X3 raises its game to take on the likes of the Jaguar F-Pace and Volvo XC60
5 Apr 2020
Land Rover Discovery Sport vs BMW X3 vs Volvo XC60
Land Rover Discovery Sport, BMW X3, Volvo XC60 - group
Land Rover Discovery Sport

Land Rover Discovery Sport vs BMW X3 vs Volvo XC60

New Land Rover Discovery Sport, BMW X3 and Volvo XC60 aim to bridge the gap between rugged 4x4 and comfortable road car
21 Dec 2019
BMW X3 vs Mercedes GLC
BMW X3

BMW X3 vs Mercedes GLC

The revised Mercedes GLC is drawn against the class-leading BMW X3 in this premium SUV battle
7 Dec 2019

Most Popular

New 2020 Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport turns up the wick to 296bhp
Volkswagen Golf GTI Hatchback

New 2020 Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport turns up the wick to 296bhp

The new Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport adds more power and gets an aero overhaul
13 Oct 2020
New Land Rover Discovery Sport PHEV 2020 review
Land Rover Discovery Sport

New Land Rover Discovery Sport PHEV 2020 review

The Land Rover Discovery Sport P300e plug-in hybrid promises 135mpg and an all-electric range of 38 miles, but does it deliver?
21 Oct 2020
Car exhaust smoke explained
British Steam Car
Tips & advice

Car exhaust smoke explained

Is your car suffering from a smoky exhaust? Our troubleshooting guide tells you the causes and what you need to do to fix it
22 Oct 2020