The X3 is a tricky one in the luxury SUV space. The thing is that, amongst its rivals, it just doesn’t feel quite as premium. And that’s a problem! People who are buying luxury SUVs look for the most up-to-date product in terms of design, features and comfort. But the new X3 doesn’t really satisfy any of those aspects as well as its rivals – the Audi Q5, Volvo XC60 and Lexus NX. All these cars come with more equipment, they feel plusher on the inside and their styling grabs more attention. Now that’s not to say that the X3 isn’t good looking or doesn’t come well equipped. The new vehicle, in fact, looks decidedly more modern than the car it replaces and certainly has more road presence. The interior too feels more luxurious than before. But the BMW just lacks that overall sheen of its rivals.
If, however, you want to buy an SUV not just for its obvious practicality but also for the thrill it offers from behind the wheel – well, in that case, look no further. The X3, with its trademark BMW powertrain characteristics, is a true delight to drive. Its 2.0-litre engine may only develop 187bhp and 400Nm, but the instantaneous manner in which that power is delivered is just impressive – especially the way this 2.0-litre motor manages to briskly haul this SUV. Of course, being a large diesel SUV, throttle response isn’t lighting quick, but once the X3 gets off the line, you can use those paddle shifters to really make that speedo needle soar. Out on the track, you can feel its weight around high speed corners. But, aside from a bit of body roll, the X3 remains very well poised when you push it hard.
All in all, the X3 is easily the best 2.0-litre diesel luxury SUV available today in terms of performance.