Now available with mild hybridisation through an 8kW electric motor, the updated BMW X3 range now gets all wheel driving experience across the entire petrol engine range, along with exterior styling upgrades that include a newly designed kidney grille with a matt chrome finish, along with redesigned front and back lights and redesigned front and rear aprons. The xDrive30i M Sport on test is the range topping model aside from the X3 M40i, and sits above the xDrive 20i and the Xdrive20i M Sport variants available in Singapore - we do not however, get the xDrive30e, which features plug in hybrid technology. The xDrive30i M Sport comes with a variety of M Sport trim all around the car, along with 20" M double spoke alloy wheels with runflat tyres as standard. Interior upgrades are headlined by the upgraded 12.3" infotainment unit above the centre console, and the system runs on BMW's OS7 which features old favourites like voice control through BMW's intelligent personal assistant, as well as driving assistance aids such as reverse assistance. Interested to test drive the BMW X3? Book a test drive here today.
For some time now, the X3 has been at the top of its game, forging a reputation as one of the best in its class. It has done so by offering buyers an extremely well rounded experience through positive driving dynamics, excellent real world practicality, and an element of brand prestige that has kept pace with the expectations of Singapore’s affluent mass market. It is little wonder why BMW has now overtaken Mercedes-Benz as the most popular premium luxury brand in Singapore. Among BMW’s stable of very capable offerings, surely the X3 stand out as one of the more well rounded and buyable models.
When the Life Cycle Impulse (LCI) was announced for the X3, there may have been a slight sense of overkill, seeing as the pre-LCI X3 was still an extremely relevant car in today’s environment. And as the old saying goes, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it”. Yet, just when we think the X3 couldn’t get much better for its price point, BMW have somehow managed to make the X3 even more relevant - the most applicable update being the introduction of mild hybrid technology across the range.
By mating an 8kW electric motor to BMW‘s well used 2.0 litre B48 straight 4 engine, the xDrive30 produces a spritely 241 bhp, and will do 0-100km/h in 6.6 seconds. Aside from helping the car achieve better fuel economy, the new mild hybrid drivetrain seems to smoothen out the lower end gear shifts, resulting in a more refined drive around town and urban settings, without compromising its higher speed cruising capabilities. This is a big win in a place like Singapore, where larger vehicles sometimes struggle to find a good balance between town and highway sorties.
With stronger focus being placed on fuel economy these days, the introduction of mild hybrid technology into the X3 is timely, and also coincides with BMW's decision to remove the option of turning off the engine start/stop button - so yes, to the dismay of some, it does mean that you'll now have no choice but to allow your engine to shut off while idling at a traffic light. I must say though, that in BMWs, the engine does restart and kick back into life a little bit more promptly than the next brand, and the presence of milk hybrid technology also means that your air conditioning does not go warm the moment the engine cuts off - but it's not all doom and gloom. If like me, you can't bring yourself to sit through that deafening silence while at the traffic light, one easy workaround is to put the car into sport mode as you are pulling up to a traffic light - it automatically disengages the auto start/stop, and your engine will stay on throughout the duration of your traffic light wait.
Drivetrain aside, the update X3 also features redesigned front and rear headlamp designs along with the redesigned front and rear aprons. For the first time ever, the X3 features a new kidney grille redesign with a matt chrome finish, a detail that I did not expect to like at first, but am becoming increasingly fond of. Combined together, the aesthetic upgrades work well to give the X3 a younger, more futuristic look, taking it away from the traditional premium feel expected of premium luxury vehicles. In a way, the updated design language has given BMWs its own unique and authentic style of premium-ness.
Inside, the X3 is starting to feel its age slightly, and some consumers might feel that this is a cabin that has been around just a little bit too long, but until an all new X3 is released, BMW has done well to add some sparkle - through its new 12.3" infotainment unit which is as massive as it is pretty to look at. The system runs BMW's OS7 which still possesses one of the better voice command modules in the market, and comes with extremely consumer friendly aids such as reverse assistance, which will be just as useful in a tight spot as it is as a party trick. Dated as it may seem, the interior of the X3 is still one that is extremely well put together, with generous use of premium materials that make this cabin a very nice one to be in - especially when equipped with the Vernasca Leather found on the test car. Simply put, what the X3 cabin lacks in flair, it makes up for in quality.
When thinking about which variant to buy, the xDrive30 presents a mild dilemma. At the heart of it, the X3 still feels like a family car. While the xDrive30 packs a very healthy amount of power and handles very well for a tall SUV despite running on large and heavy 20” run flats, the additional performance over the standard xDrive20 feels more like a want than a need. For most daily runs, the xDrive20 already feels plenty capable, and is already a very good car - all wheel drive is now also standard even on the xDrive20. For those reasons, I think the car to buy in Singapore would be the xDrive20. For those who are a little more aesthetically conscious, there is also the xDrive20 M Sport available at a reasonable premium.
When i think about the X3 as a product, I think of versatility, because this is a car that is hard to fault on any level, and it is hard to ask for much more in a car. It is economical for its size, is fast, handles well, has more than enough space for your family, looks sporty, has a desirable badge, and makes you feel like you're more adventurous than you actually are. Yes, it is still an expensive car to purchase in Singapore, but considering that similarly priced cars in the industry are still working out how to be the best version of themselves, the X3 feels like a complete and evolved product. I'll put it this way - if I could only have one more car for the rest of my life, to cover all the needs I might possibly ever have going forward, I think the X3 would be the front-running contender to do so.
Book a Test Drive Today & Get Exclusive Perks
Book your test drive with Performance Motors Limited here.