The eight-speed automatic gearbox is a joy to use and changes are pretty much seamless, although it did get caught out on a couple of occasions.
The BMW X3 has been with us since May 2004 and we tested it back in 2006 and 2007.
It is marketed by BMW at the family buyer and has always been seen as the X5’s little brother.
However the X3 has evolved – the new BMW X3 went on sale in the UK on the 18th November 2010 priced from £31,485 for the xDrive20d SE. Initially it was only available with the 2.0 litre diesel engine - the 3.0 litre diesel engine being added later in 2011.
BMW now have a range of sports activity vehicles ranging from the X1 through to the X5 and the X6. And their expertise has grown with the range, which is good news as the X3 has to take on the likes of Range Rover’s Evoque and its main competitor the Audi Q5 – the stakes have risen – and hopefully BMW can rise to the challenge.
We tested the BMW X3 xDrive30d M Sport priced at £40,270 plus £8,450 for the optional extras added to our test car.
The BMW X3 is currently available in the UK with a (xDrive20d) 2.0 litre diesel unit which outputs 184 hp or a choice of a 3.0 litre diesel engine with two power outputs (xDrive30d) 258 hp or (xDrive35d) 313 hp.
The xDrive20d is available with a six-speed manual gearbox or eight-speed Steptronic automatic, where the xDrive30d or xDrive35d is only available with an eight-speed Steptronic automatic gearbox.
We tested the BMW X3 xDrive30d M Sport which is powered by a straight six 3.0 litre diesel unit that outputs 258 hp, which means that 0-62 mph is achieved in a sporty 6.2 seconds with a top speed of 130 mph. Where the 313hp xDrive35d is more potent on paper with a 0-62 mph of 5.8 seconds and a top speed of 149 mph – we are sure that the xDrive30d is quick enough for most people.
The eight-speed automatic gearbox is a joy to use and changes are pretty much seamless, although it did get caught out on a couple of occasions. You can should you wish change manually and there is a sport mode but to be honest we let the X3 take care of these matters itself most of the time.
The combined official fuel consumption figure is quoted as 47.1 mpg, where the CO2 emissions are 159 g/km which considering the performance is very respectable. The xDrive30d is fitted with Auto Start-Stop technology which automatically switches the engine on/off when at rest in stop/start traffic to aid fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Usually with manual cars we find auto Start-Stop at bit disconcerting but with X3 it simply works without any driver input.
On average we achieved 34.3 mpg, which improved to the mid- forties on the motorway, which considering the performance we cannot grumble about.
Overall we were very impressed by the xDrive30d power plant.