The BMW X3 is the pillar of investment for BMW Mzansi as its the Bavarian makers export programme from Pretoria and with 200 000 X3s assembled since its production start in 2018, it’s certainly good for not only BMW but also for local job creation and the economy. This investment has been given a make over with styling tweaks, tech enhancements and the realignment of the local model line up thus ensuring it’s also a worthy buyer investment.
The design changes have not been as drastic as recent designs from BMW and that’s a good and bad thing in that the recent grille designs have been a hit or miss with people but they definitely make a statement when one arrives in them (BMW 4 Series a case in point). The front LED headlights have been slimmed down (Laserlight and multi LED offered as an option) with the grille revised in design and size. The lower part of the bumper design has received more edgy angle design with the lower air intake getting an aluminium strip. The side air intakes have been made more aggressive on the standard model. The M Sport and M Performance models get a more dynamic looking bumper with black polished inserts that work excellently with bright colours.
The side sees all models gain one inch up in wheel size starting at 19-inch for the base model up to 21-inch for the M Performance M40i, with the latter model also gaining the aerodynamic mirrors from the X3M (polished black). Roof rails ensure the X lifestyle is maintained whilst front fender air intakes receive mild redesign. The rear gets a noticeable design makeover starting with 3D effect LED rear lights which give the rear a compact, stylish look. The rear bumper has also received a more edgy redesign with an aluminium underbody protection whilst the twin tailpipes now come with the trapezoidal metal tail piece as standard on all models. The M Sport and M Performance models get darker finish for the tailpipes with the rear bumper being more dynamic, also getting high gloss accents as well thus ensuring no one mistakes the M-Sport, Performance models for the standard ones.
Inside, BMW have taken the “If its the best, why make too many changes” approach with the most obvious change coming from the now bigger infotainment screen that’s now 12.3 inches, controlled by the iDrive knob between the front seats or touchscreen (BMW Live cockpit also allows you to issue instructions verbally….”Hey BMW”). The instrument cluster is now digital in all models whilst the Heads Up Display is also optional should the driver want that “fighter pilot” sensation. The BMW Hi fi Loud-system, wireless Android Auto/Apple CarPlay is now standard across the range.
The centre console is now in line with recent BMW models with the Start/Stop button placed next to the gear lever. The seats come standard with leather and buyers can opt for full electrical adjustments, heating, cooling with the M Sport and M Performance models getting more figure hugging sport seats.
Rear seating allows more space with a multi seats split folding capability should the buyer want to carry bigger items. The electrically opening and closing tailgate comes standard on all models. BMW has enhanced the standard kit on all models meaning making less stress for buyers who are on a tight budget but still want goodies inside their BMW. For those that want to tailor make their X3, there is a long list of extras that one can use to ensure their X3 is just that bit more special.
Powering the models is a range of Turbo engine petrols and diesels with electric drive reserved for the upcoming IX3. Drive is either to the rear wheels only (sDrive) or to all wheels (xDrive) with all models getting the 8 Speed auto transmission. The diesel range starts with the sDrive 18d (125kW/250Nm, 0-100km/h in 9.1 sec topping at 198km/h) from its 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine claimed to consume 5.6l/100km with the mid range xDrive 20d (140kW/400Nm, 0-100km/h in 7.9 seconds topping at 213km/h) consuming a claimed 5.8l/100km from its 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine. The diesel top range is now the xDrive 30d (M 40d dropped locally) which has a 3.0 litre straight six engine (210kW/600Nm, 0-100km/h in 5.7 seconds topping 245km/h) claimed to consume 6.2l/100km.
The petrol models start off with the sDrive 20i which gets a 1.6-litre 4-cylinder engine (125kW/250Nm, 0-100km/h in 9.1 sec topping at 208km/h) whilst the current range topper (till the full M X3M Competition is launched) is the M Performance M40i which gets a 3.0-litre straight six engine (265kW/500Nm, 0-100km/h in 4.9 sec topping at a limited 250km/h) claimed to consume 8.7l/100km. All models get the modes adjuster (Eco, Comfort, Sport) with the M Performance models also getting Sport Plus. Variable suspension is also offered as an option. Safety is top class with multi airbags and electronic driver aids at semi autonomy levels.
Pricing includes a full BMW Maintenance Plan meaning for the duration of the plan, buyers only pay for petrol and tyres. Price includes Vat and Co2 emissions tax.
BMW X3 sDive 18d R895, 658
BMW X3 sDive 20i R939, 798
BMW X3 xDive 20d R997, 176
BMW X3 sDive 18d M Sport R935, 658
BMW X3 sDive 20i M Sport R979, 798
BMW X3 xDive 20d M Sport R1, 037, 176
BMW X3 xDive 30d M Sport R1, 210, 764
BMW X3 M40i R1, 415, 042