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The insatiable urge for bigger and faster seems to be an unwritten rule for most car manufacturers with each new generation. This holds true for SUVs as well. The BMW X3 is a prime example — a testament to its growth spurt over the years. Imagine my surprise when picking up the new X3 at the service centre. Parked innocently beside it was a first-generation X3. The size difference was staggering!

But unlike a bulky sedan, this growth spurt feels entirely appropriate for an SUV. After all, who wouldn’t welcome more space and comfort in a vehicle designed for adventure? BMW’s gamble on SUVs, starting with the iconic X5 in the late ’90s, has proven to be a golden touch. Today, their SUV lineup, including the X3, consistently outsells their sedans, offering the perfect blend of car-like handling and SUV practicality. Let’s delve deeper and see if the X3 lives up to its reputation.

The new X3 sheds its skin and emerges with a bolder, more assertive exterior. Gone are the slightly rounded edges; the new design language embraces a muscular stance with a focus on chiselled lines and a prominent grille. While undeniably an SUV, the X3’s profile retains a hint of sportiness, achieved through a lower roofline compared to some of its boxier competitors. This design choice gives the X3 a more dynamic look, like a sprinter crouched in the starting blocks,
eager to unleash its athletic prowess.

The X3’s muscularity extends to the fenders, which have been noticeably flared to emphasise its width and road presence. This, combined with the increased use of chrome accents around the windows and along the beltline, creates a more upscale and imposing appearance. The overall impression is one of a refined yet rugged SUV, perfectly suited for navigating the urban jungle or venturing off the beaten path.

Focus on the drive. X3 dashboard: intuitive & driver-centric

Get inside the X3, and you’re greeted by a cabin that seamlessly blends luxury with functionality. The automatic climate control ensures year-round comfort, while the roller sunblind for the rear windows provides shade for passengers. A highlight of the interior is the impressive 12.3-inch infotainment system, serving as the nerve centre for the car’s various functions. It offers Apple CarPlay integration for seamless smartphone connectivity, while Park Distance Control (PDC) and a rearview camera aid in safe manoeuvring. The Parking Assistant with a camera takes the stress out of tight parking situations. Ambient lighting adds a touch of personalisation and ambience to the cabin.

The X3 boasts a generous cargo capacity of 550 litres, expandable to a cavernous 1600 litres when the rear seats are folded down. The 40:20:40 split-fold rear seats offer versatility for carrying passengers and cargo simultaneously. The through-loading system allows for the transportation of longer items with ease. The optional Luxury Line package elevates the interior experience even further. Supple Vernasca leather upholstery adds a touch of elegance, while the Sensatec-covered instrument panel with contrast stitching and fine wood trim exude sophistication.

Sink into comfort with the X3’s supportive seats

One notable omission, however, is the lack of ventilated seats. Given the X3’s price point and the often scorching summer heat, ventilated seats would have been a welcome addition. Their absence remains a minor sore point in an otherwise impressive and comfortable cabin.

Don’t let the 2.0L fool you. This engine packs a punch

As a self-proclaimed diesel devotee, my ears perk up whenever a smooth, refined oil-burner comes along, and the X3’s 2.0-litre four-cylinder ticks all the boxes. This engine is a masterpiece of modern engineering, delivering a delightful blend of power and efficiency. Don’t let the four-cylinder configuration fool you. This engine punches well above its weight, churning out a healthy 188 bhp and a substantial 40.78 kgm of torque. The X3 propels itself from 0-100 kph in a brisk 7.9 seconds, and there’s always ample power on tap, even on highways. The best part? The engine feels unfazed, never hinting that it’s nearing its limits. This feeling of effortless performance is a hallmark of a truly well-engineered diesel engine.

But the beauty doesn’t end there. The X3’s diesel engine is remarkably refined. Unlike some diesels of yore, there’s minimal clatter or vibration, making for a serenely quiet cabin experience. The impressive fuel efficiency figures further solidify the engine’s brilliance. While the claimed mileage is 16.55 kpl, we even managed to achieve close to 19.32 kpl on a relaxed highway stretch. This combination of power, refinement, and efficiency makes the X3’s 2.0-litre diesel engine a true gem. It’s a testament to BMW’s engineering prowess and a compelling option for those seeking a capable and economical SUV.

The X3 masterfully balances the sometimes-conflicting demands of comfort and agility. The suspension delivers a composed ride, effectively absorbing bumps and imperfections without sacrificing handling. While some SUVs tend to lean heavily in corners, the X3 stays remarkably flat, inspiring confidence behind the wheel.

The X3 offers a variety of selectable driving modes, allowing you to tailor the driving experience to your preferences. There’s the standard Eco Pro mode for maximising fuel efficiency, Comfort mode for a smooth and relaxed ride, and Sport mode for sharper handling and a more dynamic driving experience.

Interestingly, during our time with the X3, we found ourselves gravitating most
towards the Comfort mode. While Sport mode undeniably sharpened the handling, it also introduced a slightly firmer ride quality, which wasn’t entirely desirable on Indian roads. The Comfort mode struck the perfect balance, offering a composed yet engaging driving experience that perfectly suited a variety of road conditions.

So, whether you’re cruising on the highway or navigating city streets, the X3 has a driving mode that caters to your needs. SUVs are here to stay, and sedans might be waving goodbye. But if you crave the perfect blend of both, the X3 delivers on that promise. The muscular design is matched by a refined diesel engine that delivers both power and impressive mileage. It tackles corners with confidence yet offers a comfortable ride, making it a pleasure to drive anywhere. While rivals like the Q5 and GLC are strong, the X3’s blend of driving dynamics, efficiency, and a well-rounded cabin experience makes it the sweet spot in the segment.


BMW X3 xDrive20d



Max Power:

Max Torque:


1995cc, inline-four



8-speed automatic


F/R: 245/50 R19


L/W/H (mm):


Ground Clearance:

Kerb Weight:

Fuel Capacity:


2864 mm

165 mm

1825 kg

60 litres


Rs 64.83 lakh (ex-showroom, India)