BMW X3, the Compact Crossover SUV has been launched in India with a new look. The X3 launched in India is the second Generation X3, signifying a milestone in the growth strategy of BMW in India. The first generation BMW X3, unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show in 2003, was a big success story in terms of sales, though it attracted mixed reviews from the press. The car was initially condemned for its harsh ride quality, an austere interior, excessive use of plastic components and the quality of the summer tyres used. There were other reviews which appreciated the capability, safe bottom which assisted in rough terrain rides and the hill-descent control quality. BMW, however, worked on the shortcomings in 2005 and affected various upgrades working on the body bumpers, engine, interiors and suspension. The changes were well accepted and X3 bagged the Canadian Car of the Year and Best Sports Utility Vehicle awards in 2005.
The X3 is available in eight colour options including Alpine white (non-metallic) and metallic colour options including Titanium Silver, Black Sapphire, Mineral Silver, Space Grey, Deep Sea Blue, Vermillion Red and Sparkling Bronze.
The BMW X3 in India comes with a roomy interior and remarkable on and off-road capabilities and in two diesel variants. The xDrive 30d comes with a 3.0L, 6-cylinder DOHC engine, which produces 254 bhp and 560 Nm torque while the xDrive 20d comes with a 4-cylinder engine producing 184 bhp and 380 Nm torque. The car boasts of technologically advanced features, supportive seats and an optional sunroof, providing comfort with convenience apart from delivering a smooth ride and good acceleration. The 8-speed automatic transmission keeps the engine speeds lower and the auto start-stop functions prevent wastage of fuel and aids efficient and dynamic driving. The responsive transmission also assists in smooth gear shifts. The xDrive 30d variant has a 0-100 km/h time of 6.4 seconds and the xDrive 20d variant can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 9.3 seconds and achieve a top speed of 210 km/h. The brake energy regeneration feature captures the energy that would have otherwise been wasted as heat during braking to charge the battery.
The BMW X3 is a little bigger than its previous generation model. The company has also introduced many notable mechanical improvements. The suspension is better balanced and the handling capacity has been enhanced offering a better ride quality. The quality of automatic start/stop helps to conserve energy while the aerodynamic features have given the X3 one of the best drag coefficients in its class, consuming lower fuel and giving better acoustics and greater safety. Electro mechanical power steering feature of the X3 gets activated only when one turns the wheel, drawing electrical power (from previously captured kinetic energy of the vehicle) from the battery.
The exterior and interiors have been designed incorporating the latest electronic technologies including a GPRS enabled cruise control feature. Other luxuries in the car include heated rear seats and steering wheel, Bluetooth streaming audio, multi-view parking cameras and an advanced music system which includes 10 speakers, a CD Changer which is MP3 compatible, a remote boot opener, AC with dual-zone climate control and electric sun room amongst others. The interior of the car is highlighted by an attractive dark ash wood trim coupled with high-quality textured surface. Though less spacious compared to the X5, the X3 would easily accommodate four adults. The rear seats can be folded to accommodate more cargo. A net extends from the back seat to the ceiling, accommodating sleeping bags.
The X3 has a smaller frontal area, which contributes towards its better fuel efficiency. Safety features in the car includes 6 air bags and ABS with EBD. The responsive engines in the xDrive system provide precise steering, enabling one to drive well in any weather condition and an ability to instantly detect slippage. The car allows the driver to redirect power to the wheels with the most traction, making the BMW X3 a great car to own and ride in safety and comfort.