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Published Date: 06/11/2017

Renowned for sporty handling, and engineered around a philosophy of ‘sheer driving pleasure’, BMW’s crossovers and SUVs are the astute choice for motorists seeking engaging dynamics and innovative technologies. With the new BMW X3 due to appear in showrooms soon, we look at what enhancements it delivers and how it compares to the X1.

Evocative exterior designs

The BMW X1 was refreshed for a second generation in 2015, when it became fractionally shorter but wider and taller, bestowing it with greater road presence and added visibility. With more rugged, muscular and dynamic aesthetics, it’s an immensely attractive compact SUV. xLine and M Sport models feature full-LED headlights, matt aluminium kidney grilles, beautiful alloy wheel choices and various aerodynamic styling enhancements to make them further stand out.

BMW’s new third generation X3 is 269mm longer, 70mm wider and 64mm taller than the X1 so can’t match its smaller sibling’s outright nimbleness in towns and cities - but with a fleeting glance appears almost as large as the X5 in the flesh and provides even more space for passengers. Compared to the outgoing model, the new X3 is larger and evolves the moniker’s looks perfectly, with a more imposing kidney grille, tauter and more accentuated lines, an X5-like squared-off bonnet and a curvier design at the rear. It truly is a beautiful looking SUV.

Conclusion: the new X3 takes aesthetics to a whole new level.

Luxurious and practical interiors

Inside the X1, the dashboard and controls are driver-oriented, and the attractive, well-built fascia is topped with an elegant colour screen operated with the iDrive controller. The seats are supportive and the elevated ride height is enjoyed by adults and children alike. Plenty of options allow X1 drivers to customise the interior experience to suit their tastes and requirements, and it’s a safe car with a 5-star EURO NCAP rating. Despite its relatively compact footprint, the X1 offers bags of space inside, with abundant leg, shoulder and headroom in the back, plus an impressive 500+ litre boot, which expands to 1,550 litres with the rear seats folded flat. An electric closing boot lid is standard, making it an excellent car for parents or other drivers with full hands.

The all-new BMW X3 due in autumn 2017 is even more luxurious than its predecessor, with an array of beautiful leather trims to choose from, ambient lighting colours to add a personal touch, plus options including a head-up display to heighten the sense of driver engagement even further. The dashboard elegantly incorporates hexagonal shapes in its design and is sophisticated to the touch. Engineers have worked to make it an incredibly quiet car thanks to acoustic enhancements and optional glazing upgrades, a fully digitised dashboard is available and tasteful ‘x’ symbols have been embossed in various places throughout the cabin. An expansive panoramic roof can be specified, and the climate control system can even be equipped to emit specified fragrances. The rear seat backrests can recline and there’s plenty of space for three tall adults. The new X3’s 550-litre boot easily matches rival mid-size premium SUVs and expands to 1,600 litres with the seats lowered.

Conclusion: both models masterfully match practicality with luxury.

Under the bonnet

BMW has simplified the X1’s model range to make the selection process as intuitive as possible for its discerning family, business and active lifestyle customers. Exceptional responsiveness and agile performance are guaranteed from the firm’s Twinpower Turbo petrol and diesel engines.

  • Horsepower starts at 136bhp with the petrol X1 sDrive18i, while the diesel range commences with the sDrive18d, which produces 150bhp.
  • The most powerful petrol engine is fitted to the four-wheel drive X1 xDrive25i with performance figures of 231bhp, a 0-62mph sprint time of just 6.5 seconds and a top speed of 146mph.
  • The range-topping diesel powertrain for the X1 is the xDrive25d, which also produces 231bhp, while its all-wheel drive automatic (Steptronic) setup helps it reach 62mph in 6.6 seconds.
  • The X1’s CO2 emissions range from 109g/km to 152g/km while combined fuel consumption spans from 42.8mpg to an impressive 68.8mpg.

The new BMW X3 will be introduced with three engine choices initially.

  • First up is the 190bhp xDrive20d with credentials of 0-62mph in 8 seconds, a top speed of 132mph and combined fuel consumption of 56.5mpg while emitting 132g/km CO2.
  • The potent xDrive30d offers a whopping 265bhp, 62mph in 5.8 seconds, a top speed of 149mph and CO2 emissions of 149g/km.
  • The initial range-topper immediately after launch will be the mighty X3 M40i with a straight-six under the bonnet delivering 360bhp, spring to 62mph in 4.8 seconds and on to a top speed limited to 155mph.
  • All introductory X3 models fitted with all-wheel drive as standard, BMW’s intelligent system is lighter than ever, helping maximise grip while minimising energy usage.

Conclusion: The xDrive30d promises ground-breaking performance.

In numbers…









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Emissions (CO2, g/km)





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0 – 60mph in…. (seconds)










Both the more compact BMW X1 crossover SUV and the mid-size premium X3 feature the most alluring styling yet, with muscular designs that excite the senses. Their driver-focussed yet practical cabins blend luxury and spaciousness, while their engine ranges provide something for everyone and each powerplant performs strongly to deliver driving thrills.


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