It’s tough to compete with a sports car—especially one that comes from your own company. That was the feeling surrounding the release of the X5, BMW’s original SUV, in 1999. Typically known for its involvement in sporting events, the German multinational nevertheless applied the slick performance and aerodynamic design of its classic models to this new, sensible line of cars. The departure was a success, and BMW has gone on to manufacture the X series over the last two decades. Its latest iteration, the X3, refines this balance between sporting presence and everyday functionality even more, leading to a ride that offers purposeful driving in any location.
Though the X3’s exterior has remained largely unchanged, it sports a more muscular make that’s 55 kilograms lighter than predecessor models of similar specs. It also boasts an even 50-50 weight distribution between the front and rear axles. This reduction in aerodynamic drag means lower fuel consumption and noise levels inside the car.
Of course, the X3 doesn’t perform better at the expense of comfort, either. New comfort-enhancing equipment provides separate temperature controls for the driver’s seat, passenger seat, and rear compartment. The rear seat backrests can also be adjusted individually and released remotely from the load compartment, expanding its load capacity from 550 liters to 1,600 liters. And for those just along for the ride, a panorama glass roof, plus narrower pillars between windows, allows for virtually unobstructed, 360-degree sightseeing.
In the interest of not spoiling your fun after taking the X3 out on the road, BMW has also improved the model’s connectivity. Touchscreen and gesture control has been integrated into the X3’s iDrive and Navigation systems. The optional intelligent Parking Assistant also helps to automatically position the car into parallel and lateral parking spaces. All of these features are available to the X3’s two new variations: the elegant, leather-upholstered X3 xDrive20d xLine, and the X3 xDrive20d M Sport equipped with sports seats and a leather steering wheel. No matter how one wants to drive or modify the X3, it’s proven its hard-earned reputation as a mature, compact choice for the active driver.