The 2018 BMW X3 is an all-new car and you can immediately spot it thanks to the arrival of the new kidney grille. This time, the grille actually closes its shutters like most of the new BMWs to earn aero efficiency. The new skin hides a series of tweaks across the car while the story focuses on the gamut of new driver assistance systems, new collision warning and preparedness systems and some comfort features.
Shall we attack the safety systems first? The new X3 gets a new collision warning system that can detect a coming collision and prepare seatbelt and other systems for the impact. It can now detect low speed collisions and notify BMW's central assistance and even put you in touch with the dealer in some markets. The new X3 is also equipped to 'speak' to other BMW cars and share traffic, information and weather information.
The driver and passengers don't see this system. They get to focus on the new 10.25" touchscreen that uses the latest iDrive setup to offer a bunch of entertainment and connectivity options including a hotspot. Apple Car Play and Android Auto are available and there is Amazon Echo integration too where available.
The story of the X3's underpinning begins with the 50:50 weight distribution and the fact that since its 2003 debut, it's been an all-wheel drive model. The new X3 uses the same configuration as before, a double-join spring strut front axle with a five-link rear. Unsprung mass has been reduced with aluminium swivel bearings and lighter anti-roll bars. BMW has also adjusted the all-wheel drive system for greater rear bias, although the system can change the base distribution depending on conditions. The X3 gets 18-inch wheels with options up to 21-inches available. The X3 also gets a handful of safety systems including stability and traction control plus hill descent and more.
The the 2-litre four-cylinder 248PS (8 PS increase) petrol as well as the 3-litre six-cylinder (in the M40i) are available. Both get the improved 8-speed Steptronic Sport automatic with shift paddles and BMW's intelligent all-wheel drive. The xDrive system has also been been lightened for fuel savings.
And then there is the aero. The BMW X3 features full underbody cladding, the active grille, winglets on the rear spoiler and more to make the X3 as sleek as possible to save fuel. The drag coefficient is 0.29 and the car is also over 50kg lighter than before.
BMW X3 M40i
This is one of the models we are driving though we aren't sure it's coming to India. This has the 2,998cc TwinPower Turbo in-line 6-cylinder petrol that makes 360PS and 500Nm. It takes the 8-speed Steptronic only 4.8s to get to 100kmph.
BMW X3 xDrive 30d and 20d
The engines we are getting are here though. The 2,995cc 30d is what we are driving in Europe and the 1,995cc 20d is what we will expect in India. The 30d brings 265PS and 620Nm to the table. The more cost-effective 20d sports 190PS at 4,000rpm and 400Nm between 1,750 and 2,000rpm. Both are family engines with BMW TwinPower variable-geometry turbochargers and common rail direct injection. 0-100kmph times are 5.8 and 8.0 seconds and the top speeds are 240 and 213kmph.
The X3 cabin remains driver-focussed but the hexagonal form that we saw on the fog lights appears inside too. BMW underlines the fact that this X3 has more storage than ever before. It also has three-zone air-conditioning and 40:20:40 rear seats. The seats allow you to individually adjust them and to drop them altogether when you want cargo room. The X3 now gets the ventilated seat option and a bigger panoramic roof is now available. The boot is 550l, 1,600l with seats folded.
The new BMW X3 is, in effect, a facelift. As we noted in the beginning, the new kidney grille starts off proceedings while sticking close to the BMW SUV playbook. The exterior dimensions see no major change though the wheelbase grows about 6cm while keeping the 50:50 weight distribution.
Also new are the hexagonal fog lights and the new tail lights. The X3 gets optional adapative LED headlights and that brings more details tail lights too. At the back, a new roof spoiler with little wings and the twin tail pipes complete the picture.
Launch and availability
Since BMW already has the 20d engine in India, technically, the launch could be at anytime. It will most certainly be revealed at the 2018 Delhi Auto Expo followed by the launch at the event or thereafter. We did have the 30d M Sport and that might happen again. The 30d's 3-litre engine, will be the second engine, while the primary will be the 20d. We expect the pricing to sit I the Rs 50-55 lakh (on-road) range when it arrives.