• Ishaan Bharadwaj

BMW X3 xDrive20d - X your Car Now!



When BMW brought in the X3 internationally for the first time back in the year 2003 (Codename : E83), it was quite literally an access to the people who thought that the X5 was to big and expensive for them. But the critics all around the world thought it was the ugly duckling of the BMW's rather brilliant line up. It looked quirky and very squarish, disproportionaite from many angles. Also, as much as the size on the outside suggested it to be larger, on the inside it was running short of room.



The Second Generation (Codename : F23) however, was a sunrise to the X3 marqee. It looked brilliant, had a lot of room to fit many kids and their sports gears and drove like a proper BMW should. In some markets, it outsold the X5 and the X1! It was a great take off from the untidy jimble jamble of a design the first generation had.


DESIGN


What BMW have done now, is confuse the buyer massively between the X3 and X5, as from the front they look very very identical. Welcome the Third and very beautiful looking generation (Codename : G01) of the BMW X3. From the moment you look at it, you will fall in love with the smooth lines, lusturous paint and magnificent muscle lines. Special mention about those skull bulges on the bonnet, they look so exotic. The car is proportionally larger than any car in it's class. It is longer taller and wider than the Audi Q5, Mercedes Benz GLC and the Volvo XC60. The only thing that differentiates it at large from the front look being identical to the X5 is the marginally smaller kidney grill.



The proportions on the side are a little smaller to the X5 and that is a very good thing to start of with. There is a sharp character line running through the side of the body creating a brawny effect on the panel below. There are no fake vents on the front quarter panel, every element on the car that you see is real and functional. At the back it is one of the most gorgeous rear ends of any car in it's class. The large tail-lamps and sporty bumper with twin tail pipes add the too the oomph factor of the X3.



The alloy wheel design on this xDrive Luxury Line variant are the talking point in a lot of automotive forums. The multi spoke design and gunmetal satin finish make it look really very expensive. The design is intended to make it structurally strong on hardcore off road activities as well as at absorbing bigger bumps at speeds.The wheel arch also looks large and proportionaite to accomodate suspension travel in most rough road drives.


INTERIORS



Step inside and you will be greeted by an ostentatious looking cabin. The space exuded quality, everything that you touch and feel is of top drawer fit and finish. The space around the driver too is very sport oriented. All the buttons, knobs and touch panels are within easy reach of the driver. The 8.8 inch iDrive display is the best multimedia interface by far in the industry in terms of useability and response of the software itself. The graphics are second to none and there are loads of personlisation options within the setup.


It also is within the reach of the driver and can be controlled via a iDrive knob on the central console. The quality of the wood and the aluminium casing around it makes it a notch higher experience. The world is moving rapidly towards the installing more touch screens and touch panels for controls in the car and it comes in as a revelation that BMW chose to keep the design minilaistic and highly functional. Having knobs and buttons to control things instead of touch panels and large touch screens is an absolute bliss. You don't have to get your eyes off the road to figure where the point to control a specific function is and doesn't hamper safety. The Harman Kardon sound system in addition to the iDrive is a major upgrade in this Luxury line model and sounds magnificent with 11 speakers and a sub-woofer providing clear and crisp sound output.


The seats on the X3 are wonderful, they are extremely comfortable and are covered with soft touch leather. The design of the seats is such that it can accommodate people with broad structures and it is indeed an amazing thing. On longer journeys these sofas are a bliss to be on, we did an average of 150 kms daily in this car and it won't let you break a sweat. The 12 way adjustmets for both the driver and the passenger with memory function means that you can suit yourself back to your adjustments even if someone else has sat on the seats. The rear seats are very spacious too, with acres of legroom and shoulder room, you can seat three adults with absolute ease. Further, there are a lot of handy cubby spaces to keep you knick knacks. The space on the inside is improved further visually because of the large panoramic sunroof which has the largest opening of any sunroofs in its competition.



Move to the back for another surprise, the boot space is a healthy 550 L, the opening is large, wide and with a lower loading lip it is very easy to put in your lugguage and heavy boxes. What's more, there is a space saver tyre neatly tucked below the boot floor unlike how other manufacturers do, 'killing the space for bags'. There is ample amount of light in the boot area too so that you don't lose smaller items. What's more, the 40-20-40 split rear seats can be folded down at a touch of lever in the boot opening itself which is very handy indeed.


DRIVE



Like any other BMW, the X3 is the greatest driving machine amongst its peers. The xDrive system works seemlessly through the smooth roads providing excellent grip and ride balance. There is a 70 : 30 split in power supply between the rear and the front wheels respectively and when the system senses loss of grip it can provide 50 : 50 power distribution to both the axles. The 245/50 R18 tyres provide ample grip on any surface, we tried doing a 0-100 kmph launch in the X3 and we accomplished a figure of 7.7 seconds which is massively impressive. The car is powered by the legendary 2 litre, 4 cylinder turbocharged diesel engine producing 190 bhp and 400 Nm of torque. The torque is available at a low 1700 rpm and it makes acceleration very linear and accessible at low speeds. What is also great at low speeds is the ride quality. BMW, although has supplied the X3 in India with stiff suspension, but it easily soaks up all kinds of bumps and potholes attacking the tires.



The engine bay is also very well packaged, the dynamic mounts above and below the engine work seemlessly to provide maximum damping when accelerating and going over off-road surfaces. The system in addition to the multi-layered engine bay insulation, cuts out any and every noise to creep inside the cabin. The cabin is very very quite when cruising long distances and it makes for a great travel machine! The fact that we were able to extract 14.5 kmpl in the city and obscenely impressive 20.2 kmpl on the highway in the X3 xDrive20d made it even more lucrative to drive on a daily basis.


VERDICT

BMW has done commendable job in executing the G01 X3, it is high on quality, great on space and is very very frugal as well. We always love the fact how BMW cars balance between great driving dynamics and frugal fuel economy. All of this added with supreme comfort and loads of driving aids and equipment. The X3 is also one of the best cars to go off-road in, with a lot of top drawer tech on-board to tackle the worst of terrains it is quite a wholesome package. And at ₹ 55 lac ex-showroom it is the best value for money proposition and I absolutely recommend getting one if you really want to enjoy your drives to the fullest. What's more, BMW gets you covered with their incredible warranty packages which also include your tires! Brilliant!








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