Mid-size Premium SUV of the Year 2018: BMW X3
The BMW X3 is the 2018 Auto Express Premium Mid-size SUV of the Year, with the Jaguar F-Pace and Volvo XC60 commended
More than 1.5 million BMW X3s have been sold since the mid-size premium SUV first went on sale in 2003, but the old Mk2 model was starting to feel its age. This new version is a huge step forward, which is why it takes victory here.
The third-generation X3 is an all-new model based on the brand’s CLAR platform, which it shares with the excellent 5 Series saloon. That’s an extremely strong basis to work from, and the X3 proves itself further with its all-round appeal.
The package includes xDrive four-wheel drive as standard – there’s no two-wheel-drive option – a range of petrol and diesel engines linked to an eight-speed auto box, and a luxurious, spacious, five-seater interior equipped with BMW’s latest infotainment. Plenty of safety tech is available, too.
M Sport cars feature the BMW Professional Multimedia infotainment, with its slick 10.25-inch widescreen. It’s among the best systems around, with snappy menus and an intuitive interface.
One of the stand-out features of the latest X3 is the extra level of finesse the driving experience provides. Even the entry-level 2.0-litre diesel engine operates with a pleasingly subdued hum, so it’s not intrusive when cruising.
Factor in the general air of refinement and capable handling, and the X3 is a pleasure to drive. The chassis feels nimble and turns into corners neatly, in effect hiding the car’s size.
The suspension copes well with potholes, giving a good level of ride comfort, too, while at the same time keeping body roll under control. This BMW trait to the driving experience is a key to the X3’s success, as is the even more upmarket, practical interior which means it’ll fit into your life seamlessly.
BMW X3 xDrive20d M Sport (£42,620)
It’s worth picking an X3 in M Sport trim particularly to get the standard 10.25-inch infotainment system. This spec also brings leather upholstery, triple-zone climate control and a sportier cabin feel, plus the 20d powertrain offers all the performance you’ll need.
The Jaguar F-Pace was our Car of the Year back in 2016, and it’s still a fine premium SUV. It’s spacious, great to drive and has a wide engine range with a choice of two or four-wheel-drive transmissions. Sharp styling, a practical 650-litre boot and plenty of dynamic ability make up for some average cabin quality.
Last year the Volvo XC60 won this category, and it remains a top car in this class, thanks to its comfortable ride, individual design and high-quality cabin, which exudes an ultra-refined atmosphere. The car scores strongly on infotainment and safety equipment as well.
Auto Express New Car Awards 2018
For complete, in-depth coverage of the 2018 New Car Awards, buy your collector's edition copy of the Auto Express magazine now or click here to subscribe...
- 1IntroductionWhat are the best new cars to buy in the UK today? The 2018 New Car Awards have the answer...
- 2Car of the YearThe Auto Express Car of the Year for 2018 is the all-electric Jaguar I-Pace
- 3City Car of the YearThe Volkswagen up! is the 2018 Auto Express City Car of the Year, with the Kia Picanto and Skoda Citigo commended
- 4Supermini of the YearThe Ford Fiesta is the 2018 Auto Express Supermini of the Year, with the MINI 5-door and SEAT Ibiza commended
- 5Convertible of the YearThe MINI Convertible is the 2018 Auto Express Convertible of the Year, with the Audi A3 Cabriolet and Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet commended
- 6Compact Family Car of the YearThe Volkswagen Golf is the 2018 Auto Express Compact Family Car of the Year, with the Mercedes A-Class and Skoda Octavia commended
- 7Family Car of the YearThe Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport is the 2018 Auto Express Family Car of the Year, with the Skoda Superb and Toyota Prius commended
- 8Compact Executive Car of the YearThe Mercedes C-Class is the 2018 Auto Express Compact Executive Car of the Year, with the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Jaguar XE commended
- 9Executive Car of the YearThe BMW 5 Series is the 2018 Auto Express Executive Car of the Year, with the Mercedes E-Class and Volvo S90 commended
- 10Estate Car of the YearThe Skoda Octavia Estate is the 2018 Auto Express Estate Car of the Year, with the BMW 5 Series Touring and Volvo V60 commended
- 11Small SUV of the YearThe Citroen C3 Aircross is the 2018 Auto Express Small SUV of the Year, with the SEAT Arona and Volkswagen T-Roc commended
- 12Mid-size SUV of the YearSkoda is on a roll, and the Karoq is proof that the Czech brand knows exactly what it’s doing in the field of family SUVs.
- 13Large SUV of the YearThe Skoda Kodiaq is the 2018 Auto Express Large SUV of the Year, with the Peugeot 5008 and SsangYong Rexton commended
- 14Small Premium SUV of the YearThe Volvo XC40 is the 2018 Auto Express Small Premium SUV of the Year, with the BMW X1 and MINI Countryman commended
- 15Mid-size Premium SUV of the Year - currently readingThe BMW X3 is the 2018 Auto Express Premium Mid-size SUV of the Year, with the Jaguar F-Pace and Volvo XC60 commended