Three is certainly the magic number for BMW – the X3 first launched in 2003 and now the BMW X3 new model is in its third generation.
Things have come a long way since the early noughties, of course. In fact, the latest release is even wider than the original BMW X5, but that predates the turn of the millennium.
So what else should we expect from this compact luxury crossover SUV?
On offer are five trims – the entry-level SE, the BMW X3 xLine, the M Sport, M40d and the M40i. Unlike larger models like the X4, we do have a selection of diesel and petrol variants, which will make the more environmentally conscious motorists among us happy.
For those keeping an eye on price, UK figures start at £37,820 for the entry-level xDrive20i SE and progress all the way through to the BMW X3 M40d at £50,840.
So what can we get for our money? At the bottom end, we have the xDrive20i SE, with a 2.0-litre petrol engine, a top speed of 134MPH and an average fuel economy of 40MPG.
At the top end, the 2018 BMW X3 M40d boasts a top speed of 155MPH, 0 to 62 MPH in 4.9 seconds and 680lb ft of torque.
There are a few things we’ve noticed since its June 2018 release date. Touted as a rival for the Audi SQ5, the third-generation X3 has grown, putting the age-old question, “is the BMW X3 an SUV?” to bed.
Well, is the BMW X3 a 4x4? Absolutely, it is – and it’s one of the most practical large SUVs out there when it comes to space.
Thanks to this new and improved larger design, packing dimensions of 4,716mm length by 1,897mm width by 1,676 mm height, what results is 51 extra mm of room for tall adults.
Both head room and leg room are considerably more comfortable in the third-generation X3, and with the new improved width, passengers won’t be getting too up close and personal either.
Since we’ve established the X3 is very much an SUV, we wouldn’t expect anything less than generous boot space – and the X3 delivers.
It offers 550 litres of space, which is enough to accommodate around eight carry-on suitcases, plus its square shape means there’s no struggle loading your bags into the car.
If you’ve got no passengers in the back, you can fold down the seats and earn yourself 1,600 litres of space – definitely enough for the kitchen sink.
There is the option to upgrade to an advanced sat nav system with more apps, but you’ll do just fine with the onboard technology you have in the X3.
The design is more seamless now, giving it a less cluttered feel, and the buttons are not too much of a distraction. As with the X4 however, the iDrive wheel being on the side of the gear stick is a minor annoyance.
If you want to go for the off-road adventurer look, go for the Xline. What exactly is the Xline BMW X3? The second level up from the entry-level X3, this offers a pro styling package which consists of an add-on front bumper piece, an insert for the back bumper and two rocker panels.
Certainly, the X3 can more than handle the demands of off-roading: it can wade up to 500mm and has decent ground clearance, with a few bonus features like electronic traction and hill-descent control.
Back on the road, the 30d is best aligned with the eight-speed automatic gearbox system, carrying you along effortlessly with 458 lb-ft of torque.
The X3 does not have the most favourable history when it comes to road testing, which is probably why they are focusing on the off-road capabilities, but we have to say that the third-generation is a significant improvement on ride handling.
There is optional variable damper control, which changes the suspension based on three different modes, giving you greater confidence around those bends.
Once we’ve got over the debate of the X3’s capabilities as an SUV, what results is a bigger, better model that has learned from its mistakes and improved with the third-generation release.
There’s a generous catalogue of engines to choose from, so it’s up to you whether you want to cruise or off-road.