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BMW X3 : A facelift that brings it up to speed with the rest 

S. Muralidhar | Updated on: Apr 22, 2022

Competitors had less exciting but more loaded models. Now the X3 can show off a chiseled bod and more kit 

The new BMW X3 is an example of two peculiar attributes about automotive design and development. First, just when you think that the auto industry must have already tried every body colour there is to try from the palette, BMW has still gone on to identify one that not just sits nicely on the body but is simply stunning. What BMW calls Metallic M Brooklyn Grey on the M Sport trim variant that I had as my test mule a few weeks ago, looks like a smooth, milky light grey, and makes the new X3 stand out on the streets. The other thing that’s peculiar, yet remarkable is how the facelift’s design gives one the impression that it has grown in proportion to the predecessor, while it actually hasn’t. The new X3 is still only about 4.7 metres long, 1.9 metres wide and sports a wheelbase of about 2.9 metres. 

Design

This new 2022 BMW X3 is a facelift. But it is a significant change in exterior design, specifically focused on making it look sharper, and more aligned to the chiseled appearance of the X5. The front fascia of the 2022 X3 has become more striking compared to the predecessor. It sports a single frame kidney grille, and can also be had now with active vents. Highlighted by chrome, it still seems a bit oversized, but grows on me after a while. The front apron in my M Sport test mule featured larger air inlets and air curtains. The headlamps are slimmer now and feature full LED adaptive light elements with matrix function, including BMW’s version of the J-blade LED signature DRLs. From the side the new X3 looks nearly identical to the previous model, with that tall SUV stance and the horizontal lines accentuating that impression. The new 20-inch light alloy wheels in my mule looked good, though the standard spec will be 19-inch. 

The best angle to view the facelifted X3 is the rear, with the 3D LED tail-lights being the most attractive part

The best angle to view the facelifted X3 is the rear, with the 3D LED tail-lights being the most attractive part

The best angle to view the facelifted X3 is the rear, with the 3D LED tail-lights (BMW calls their shape ‘pincer contour’) being the most attractive part. The tail-lamps sit on the very edge of the haunches delivering even more of that squat, wide stance. There is more by way of surfacing and layering with the rear fender and the diffuser creating visual depth and character. The underside protector also houses dual free-form tail-pipes that enhance the new X3’s impact as a powerful SUV in its segment. 

Cabin

The X3 gets a facelift and some new equipment inside the cabin too. The interior is classic BMW in its mix of materials used -brushed aluminium, soft-touch plastics, stitched leather clad surfaces and, of course, perforated seat upholstery. There are a lot of hexagonal design elements too—another BMW trademark. The X3’s hierarchical position is identifiable amongst other BMW cabins, but it is still quite plush. It is another matter that the cabin layout is becoming a bit over familiar by now. The highlights in the cabin are the 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen at the top of the centre console and the digital instrument cluster. Both these are driver-focused and offer all the key information There is a new set of aircon controls that sit within the galvanised frame housing the twin vents at the centre stack. Right below this is the array of physical controls for the 16-speaker Harman Kardon music system. 

The seats are just perfect, featuring a sporty construction and are ventilated. My M Sport test mule’s ‘Sensatec’ leather upholstery was tanned a warm woody brown. The M Sport’s steering wheel is nice and chunky to hold offering access to multiple functions. Some of the other trim variant dependent features include a panoramic sunroof, a welcome light carpet, ambient lighting and 3-zone climate control. The boot offers 550-litres of space with all seats in use, and can be expanded to 1,600-litres by folding down the rear seats. The X3 is being offered only in two loaded trim variants - xDrive30i SportX Plus and the xDrive30i M Sport. 

The highlights in the cabin are the 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen at the top of the centre console and the digital instrument cluster

The highlights in the cabin are the 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen at the top of the centre console and the digital instrument cluster

The digital instrument cluster runs the latest 7th gen BMW OS for its live cockpit professional and includes 3D Navigation. Connectivity options include wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and it also offers gesture control. There is a bunch of driver assistance systems too, including 360-degree camera and parking assistant plus for auto parking in tight spots. The new X3 is also offered with a whole suite of safety tech including six airbags. 

Performance

The petrol powertrain from the predecessor has been carried forward into the facelifted X3. It is the same 2-litre, inline 4-cylinder, twin turbo petrol engine generating the same 252hp of peak power and 350Nm of peak torque. The engine is still very apt for the X3, continues to be refined, torquey and tractable. The X3 is quite agile with a rated 0-100 kmph sprint being clocked at 6.6 seconds. The rated top speed is 235kmph and the rated mileage is 13.17kmpl. Peak torque kicks in from a low 1,450rpm; that is just a throttle tap away from the idling 900rpm. Combined with xDrive, BMW’s all-wheel drive system, the X3 can be very competent even in off-road conditions. It continues to deliver a very sedan-like performance on twisty roads with a very balanced chassis and adaptive suspension. The only crib during my test drive was that the 20-inch rims and the low profile 245/ 45 R20 meant that the ride as a bit too firm riding over Mumbai’s roads. 

The engine is paired with the 8-speed automatic steptronic sport transmission. Quiet, refined and unobtrusive, this gearbox can switch very easily between docile and nimble performance on the road. Manual gear selection via steering mounted paddles is also possible. There are four driving modes to choose from - Comfort. Eco Pro, Sport and Sport+. BMW Efficient Dynamics features include auto start-stop and brake-energy regen. Adaptive cruise control and auto differential brakes with electronic diff locks is standard. 

Bottom Line

The new X3 is currently being offered with only the 2-litre petrol engine, but a diesel engine will soon be offered as an option for buyers looking for the tractability and efficiency of a diesel. Unlike some of the other markets where the X3 is offered with lower equipment levels, the two trim options for the Indian market have been carefully kitted out to deliver more features and tech compared to the competitors in the segment. So, despite the over familiarity of the cabin, the new X3 manages to impress. 

Prices for the new BMW X3 is ₹59.9 lakh for the xDrive30i SportX Plus and ₹65.9 lakh for the xDrive30i M Sport. 

Published on April 22, 2022
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