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BMW’s new range-topping X3, the xDrive30d M Sport, which is now on sale throughout UK showrooms.
And yet it would hardly matter if this car had half of its dynamic poise and purpose, so convincing is the objective prospect that it represents. As practical as almost any medium-sized SUV, this BMW trounces its nearest rivals in key areas.
Equipped with BMW’s optional adaptive dampers, our test car rode fluently enough in ‘Normal’ mode so as not to compromise on comfort, and yet had tighter body control and precise and predictable handling in ‘Sport’ mode. M Sport specification on the X3 includes variable ratio power steering and BMW’s ‘Performance Control’ active four-wheel drive system as standard, but it doesn’t include active anti-roll bars. There’s always enough traction to make use of the car’s performance, and drive is delivered to the road with a sophistication that seems to counteract early-onset understeer very effectively.
In calmer moods, you can also enjoy the compliance of the X3’s adaptive chassis – not to mention, on longer motorway runs, remarkable efficiency from that six-cylinder engine.
If you’re in the market for a premium brand 4x4, few combine performance, economy and practicality with quite as much success. It may be that X3s on passively damped M Sport suspension don’t have this car’s breadth of ability but, with that caveat, we’d say that in the real world – where Range Rover Evoques just aren’t practical enough, and Porsche Cayennes out of your price range – BMW’s range-topping X3 has the fast family 4x4 market all sewn up. I have driven both a 3 series and BMW SUV in winter both with similar low profile tyres etc. Bearing in mind this is a 4x4 and the 3-series is RWD, how did you come to that conclusion? The 4wd will be next to no use on its low profile, summer tyres-ever seen a x5 in the snow? The 488's incredible engine and handling and open-top experience make for something very special indeed. The Isuzu D-Max is starting to show its age; after a drive in the range-topping Blade version, is it still competitive? The X3 combines the utility of a crossover with the sophistication and driving fun of one of our favorite sedans: the legendary 3-series. New compact luxury crossovers are being introduced apace, with strong-selling models like the Lexus NX and the Lincoln MKC claiming large slices of a pie once carved up almost exclusively by Acura, BMW, Mercedes, and Audi. Introduced in 2003 as one of the first of its breed, the BMW X3 entered its second generation for 2011 and was updated for 2015 with revised styling, the addition of diesel and rear-drive models, and some new convenience features. However, as with several other X3s wea€™ve tested, braking distance from 70 mph was disappointinga€”15 feet or so off the segmenta€™s best.
It turns out the old guard can still do good, and if you cana€™t bear the thought of driving an actual station wagon instead of a station wagon on stiltsa€”and can deal with BMWa€™s uninspiring interior designa€”the X3 remains a fine choice in a fiercely competitive segment.
South Carolina's newest naturalized citizen arrives with dapper duds and an available 300-hp turbo six-cylinder. Land Rover and Acura recently launched entries into this growing segment, so how is the revised X3 looking these days?
What is it?The new BMW X4 - driven for the first time in the UK, and with a diesel engine upfront rather than the petrol lump previously made available to us. Much about BMW’s latest we already know; this is an X6 clone with its cheeks sucked in to fit the smaller platform currently found beneath the X3. Almost everything of consequence is carried over from the X3, although its higher status in the lineup means the two-wheel-drive sDrive18d entry-level version gets culled. That four-cylinder car comes with a manual six-speed gearbox as standard, but expect BMW’s eight-speed auto to be a popular option (it’s standard with the 3.0-litre motor).
Trim choice splits the X4 into SE, xLine and M Sport, with the straight-six 255bhp 30d and 308bhp 35d filling out the oil burner-only engine selection.

Aside from the cosmetic alterations, the X4 gets you a chassis tweak and the toys to go with it - including Performance Control, Variable Sport Steering, and, in the case of our test car, the even firmer M Sport suspension. To help justify its positioning, the new model gets bigger 18-inch wheels as standard over the X3, as well as the convenience of a 40-20-40 split rear seat.
What's it like?As we suspected on our first glance overseas, the X4 is less likely to attract the teeth-gnashing consternation that greeted its big brother. It’s a similar story in the boot, where 50 litres of seat-up capacity - not to mention clearance for especially big, longer items - has been lost. Being lower to the road is a prominent X4 theme; a 36mm reduction in height has brought the centre of gravity down, and the retuned chassis is obviously primed to take advantage of that. Teamed with the steady fizz of BMW’s straight-six, and the xDrive30d makes for a consummate hot hatch botherer.
Despite defaulting on start-up to its softest Comfort setting, the X4 (admittedly in M Sport garb with 19-inch wheels) never truly relaxes on its springs. Also, some of the switchgear and polished trim plastic used in the taller dash architecture isn’t of the same standard as those used in the 3-Series - unforgivable in a car which starts and then ascends at a much steeper cost rate.
Should I buy one?It’s conceivable that you might want to, and likely for the same reason people plucked up the courage to buy the X6.
But we prefer a bit more roundedness to our sporty SUVs, and recent additions to the canon - not least the Porsche Macan S Diesel - have shown the breadth of ability that can be shoehorned into a good-looking body.
Having that presence in the price bracket makes it likely that most X4 buyers will look to shop below ?40k, thereby taking advantage of the xDrive20d’s lower running costs. Yes because a 0-60 in 6 seconds is so relevant in the real world, there are far better vehicles out there for towing a caravan around, a Skoda Superb Estate Outdoor 170DSG 4x4 for instance at ?29k, and still leave you over ?10k to buy a toy for the weekend..
That interior fills me with a feeling of gloom - it's like a 90s German executive boardroom. This car is so conflicted I struggle to understand the thought process of anyone who buys it.
Combining generous standard equipment levels and advanced chassis technology with class-leading performance and genuinely sporting handling, it’s a car that gives real credibility to BMW’s claim of making the most driver-focused SUVs in the world.
Capable of going almost ten miles further for every gallon of diesel than Audi’s equivalent Q5, this car is also faster and more powerful than the Audi, and more than three seconds faster accelerating to 62mph than Land Rover’s most powerful diesel Freelander. It felt grippy and tautly controlled on turn-in, and much more agile and responsive to drive than most cars of its size. So equipped, the X3 corners with a great deal more composure and throttle adjustability than you expect of such a tall car, making it engaging and interactive on a flowing country road. 47mpg may be a little difficult to match, but you can certainly expect to see 40mpg from this car at a typical motorway cruise.
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So far the only refreshed model wea€™ve tested wasa€”ahema€”the xDrive28d diesel, but wea€™ve reviewed this generation plenty.
The X3a€™s chassisa€”an adaptation of the 3-seriesa€™a€”delivers levels of engagement and poise rare among its peers. All-wheel drive is standard with this engine, as is a well-programmed and unobtrusive eight-speed automatic transmission. The hardware is solid, and the brake pedal offers consistent feel, but the X3 should be better. While the rear-drive sDrive28i and its turbocharged four-cylinder engine ring in around $40K, the 35i starts at $46,025 and goes up from therea€”our example rang in at $54,325. All 5’8” of yours truly fits fine in the back, but even with the ceiling emphatically scooped out, it appears likely that Autocar’s collection of six-footers can, at the very least, expect to have their hairline tickled.

This it does in now familiar style, spurning the dynamic handicap of being still comparatively tall with the kind of bemusing nimbleness one associates with an NBA point guard. There’s rather a lot of wind noise at motorway speed, and a wee bit too much engine noise below it.
That said, you can tell the reviewer had already made up his mind he was going to dislike the X4 conceptually no matter how good or not the car is (same with the X6 - cue the X6 reference in the article as having "the obnoxious on-road presence of a chromed whale carcass"). Just wish BMW GB would give us a choice of decent petrol engines so that those of us who are not concerned with outright fuel economy or emissions bands can enjoy these cars as the BMW engineers intended. Fire the engine up and you’ll find it a little more vocal than the bigger-selling four-pot diesel; significantly less well isolated than it is in a 5-series. The 3 series on winter tyres could easily be better than either but i have not tried so cant be sure. The turbocharged gasoline four-cylinder model won a comparison test against the Audi Q5 and the Range Rover Evoque, and wea€™ve also spent quality time with the four-cylinder xDrive28i and the pre-update xDrive35i. While our preferred choice for back-road bombing is something much lower to the ground, the X3 is willing to play along, and ita€™s well suited for day-to-day driving, too. The factory-fitted all-season rubber might be to blame, but at this price point, one shouldna€™t have to swap out tires to get satisfactory stopping performance.
While the $950 Cold Weather pack (heated front and rear seats, heated steering wheel, headlamp washers) and $550 red paint seem like reasonable charges, the $3150 Technology (navigation, head-up display, BMW Apps and other connectivity functions) and $2200 Premium packages (leather, proximity entry and start, adjustable lumbar support, satellite radio) come across as gouging to us; wea€™d likely leave at least one of those boxes unchecked.
Heave it onto the scales, and you’ll discover the X4 still weighs the best part of two tonnes - so expect its claimed 47.9mpg to be difficult to eke out while deploying anything more than a slither of its potential. Its a Nissan Juke in a posh frock, and suddenly makes the Evoque looks like a cheaper better option.. I'm not in a position to have a Cayman plus a family caravan lugger on my drive so I'll stick with 40mpg, 4wd, 255hp and 6s 0-60 thanks. Never mind that the X4 is probably far better built and will run rings round the beloved Evoque dynamically. It’s far from noisy though, and combined with the eight-speed automatic gearbox that comes as standard, drives the X3 forward with enough mid-range pace to really concentrate the mind. With them it was perfectly fine in moderate amounts of snow.I have one question about this car. The options list is long, but in our opinion, the Dynamic Handling package is one you must consider.
The steering is accurate and linear (if not particularly talkative), and the chassis offers a ride-and-handling balance that belies this crossovera€™s height and weight, although the ride can verge on too firm with the larger wheels and sportier suspension options our review model lacked. The balance of the as-tested price can be chalked up to the $950 Driver Assistance bundle (rearview camera, parking sensors) and $500 Bluetooth and smartphone connectivity. Spec the Variable Damper Control, this deselecting the M Sport Suspension, or stick with the default?I see the VDC getting fantastic reviews, but not seen it compared against the Sport Suspension so much, just the normal one. The X3a€™s standout trait, however, is simply how cohesive it feels in operation; whether driven hard or at a lesser pace, its major elements all work in harmony. It's got raised ground clearance but stupid MSport suspension and wheels to counteract the higher centre of gravity.

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01.10.2015 admin

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