BMW X3 Front Side

We found the 3.0 diesel engine to be a flexible powerful unit, yet still remaining quite frugal - on average we returned 34 mpg which increased on a relaxed tour of Wales to a little over 40 mpg, which we considered quite respectable.

We found the throw of the standard 6-speed manual gearbox a bit vague but unlike a lot of SUVs it was light to use, making the X3 more car like to drive than a ponderous 4x4.

As with most turbo charged diesel engines, if you let the revs drop off you can find yourself floundering having to build the speed back up again. Saying that, the X3 is no slouch with 0 to 62mph coming up in a mere 7.4 seconds, that is as quick as a respectable hot hatchback. Needless to say we did not try out the quoted top speed of 130 mph.

To prove how flexible and quick the 3.0d engine is, you only have to look at the BMW quoted 50-75 mph acceleration times in 4th gear – X3 3.0i (petrol) 7.7 seconds - X3 3.0d (diesel) 5.7 seconds, which is a comparable to the MINI Cooper S Works.

In summary we liked the engine and this is the option we would choose.

How It Drove - Ride and Handling

We tested the BMW X3 3.0d M-Sport (with sports suspension) and 18 inch wheels, 225/45 tyres on the front and 235/50 on the rear.

The ride is hard and you certainly feel poor road surfaces at low speeds but it pays absolute dividends when you find your favourite ‘B’ roads. The X3 handles more like a competent hatchback than an SUV.  Overall levels of grip are superb even when pressing on in the wet, in fact surprisingly so, bordering on the sublime. On good road surfaces, which are becoming a lot harder to find, the ride softens out, becoming quite pleasing, we really did like it.

Off road, which in our case was limited to our friendly farmer’s tracks and fields, we found that the X3 was quite capable of handling the off-road conditions and made a good job of rebuffing the transmission of mild impacts back through the cabin.

BMW X3 Review | Part Three
BMW X3 News

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