Chances are, you’ve seen many BMW X3’s on the road. Over 1.5 million of them have been sold worldwide, and a fair chunk of those have found their way onto UK driveways. This third generation, though, faces some stiff competition. Primarily from the likes of Audi’s Q5 and the Land Rover Discovery Sport, and then again it is fitted with the latest gadgets to amuse and schmooze, and it’s lighter and more efficient than before. In this video review we’ll tell you what it’s like to drive, how easy it is to live with, and remember if you’re interested in buying one, at the end of this review head to whatcar.com to our New Car Buying service where we can potentially save you thousands. First though let’s see what this car is like on the open road. The 2-litre xDrive 20d diesel engine that we’re testing today is the most popular in the UK, and it’s easy to see why because it offers strong performance whether you’re driving around city streets, or in the outside lane of the motorway, and is far punchier than equivalent diesels you’ll find in its rivals. If you’re after more pace then the straight six engined xDrive 30d is pleasantly quick, and for breathtaking performance go for the range-topping M40i. But note it also has breathtaking fuel economy, and if you’re doing mainly urban miles then the two litre petrol is a good choice. The two-litre diesel engine isn’t the smoothest in its class, but it is better than the Discovery Sport. There’s very little wind and road noise, so this cabin is a very quiet place to be – most of the time. Most versions of the X3 get passive non-adjustable suspension as standard while M Sport versions get stiffer springs and the M40i has a lowered adaptive setup by default. On most versions though, you can also opt for adjustable dampers for an extra fee and with this chosen, and its most comfortable setting the X3 rides fairly well and copes with lumps and bumps in the road amicably. It’s only when there are lots of small dimples that it tends to fidget. Most SUV buyers will not be looking for agile handling as their top priority, that said on adaptive suspension the X3 does keep it’s chunky body nicely in check through tight corners. Although Audi’s Q5 offers a little bit more grip. If you’re buying an SUV because you’d like a lofty driving position and a great commanding view of the road then the X3 definitely delivers. That said, you still get front and rear parking sensors as well as a reversing camera as standard – on all models. This driver’s seat is comfortable and supportive and holds you in place around the corners – even more so if you go for the M Sport or M40i version. The steering wheel is plenty adjustable, and so is the seat, so you should be able to find a comfortable driving position. BMW doesn’t give you adjustable lumbar support as standard though, so as a relatively cheap option we recommend that you do go for that. If you run your hands over this interior you’ll feel why we believe this is one of the best premium SUVs. It shares a lot of its interior with the 5 Series – which is our favourite premium saloon car. That said Audi just manages to make it a little bit better, and we do wonder if BMW has gone slightly overboard with this key. Which does have a lot of functions on it, although we would prefer to see this in an app, and not on a key that’s about the size of a mobile phone. This infotainment system though, is miles ahead of anything else in its class, it’s displayed on either a 6.5 or 10.3-inch touchscreen, depending on which one you choose, and it comes with Bluetooth connectivity, DAB radio, and USB input as standard. You have to pay extra for Apple CarPlay and Android users it’s worth noting now you cannot get Android Auto at all. It’s all controlled with this central dial here – in between the two front seats – or you can just select on the screen like so. There’s lots of space here in front of the BMW X3 and thanks to its high roofline six-footers amongst you will find there is plenty of headroom and plenty of legroom. And if you really want to invade your passengers personal space you’re going to have to lean quite far. Move into the second row, and a couple of tall adults will be able to sit here in quite a lot of comfort. Go for a third adult though, and it’s a bit more of a squeeze than it is in the Land Rover Discovery Sport or Audi Q5. There’s some decent storage because there’s somewhere here for healthy snacks, decent sized door bins, very useful. And if you are carrying people in the back here regularly, it’s worth going for the extra reclining back rests, which are actually very comfortable. This boot is truly fit for a family, it’s large, and the square shape means there’s easy access to all the luggage you can fit in here. And the lack of load lip is perfect for carrying those extra heavy items. Then, you can fold down the rear seats if you need an even larger boot. There’s little to separate the BMW X3 from its main rivals in terms of price, and dealer discounts may seem appealing. But they are offset by the fact the X3 will depreciate faster than the Land Rover Discovery Sport and Audi Q5. The xDrive 20d version that we recommend is also a good choice for company car drivers, thanks to its CO2 emissions matching the best-in-class. The good news is that there’s no need to look past the entry-level SE trim, because this comes with everything you’re likely to need. Including heated leather seats, automatic tailgate, climate and cruise controls, and sat-nav. In fact, now all X3s come with six airbags and automatic emergency braking, and if you’d like to add to that safety package, you can get lane keeping assist and blind spot monitoring. The new X3 is great to drive, and has a spacious, high quality interior. In fact, we think it’s one of the best SUVs you can buy. And if you buy through whatcar.com New Car Buying service we can help save you thousands! Head to whatcar.com for our full online review, and remember to catch every video hit subscribe!
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