BMW X3 debuts with luxury, innovative features

For drivers seeking seamless compact luxury Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV), the choices have just expanded as the all-new (third generation) BMW X3 has stepped up its game, and now offers a dynamic experience to the typical driver looking for upgrade.

The new BMW X3 elevates the already boldly strong design of its predecessor to new, even more eye-catching territory.The third generation of the pioneering premium mid-size Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) treads a familiar BMW X family path in combining rugged off-road looks with sporting presence.

The new BMW X3 line-up from launch consists of the xDrive20d with four-cylinder diesel engine, the xDrive30d with a straight-six diesel unit, the xDrive30i with four-cylinder petrol engine and the range-topping petrol model, the BMW X3 M40i.

These will soon be followed by the BMW X3 xDrive 20i engine variant, which will be available in both rear-wheel-drive (sDrive), and all-wheel-drive (xDrive) versions.

All the power units stem from the latest generation of BMW engines and operate even more efficiently than the models they replace. Further improvements have also been made to the efficiency of both the eight-speed Steptronic transmission and the BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive system.

The vehicle, which is due to arrive showroom in Nigeria through Coscharis Motors later in the first quarter of 2018, is expected to be in the sub-Saharan market within same period. Besides, the X3 finds itself in the middle of competition between the Jaguar F Pace, Porsche Macan and Mercedes GLC.

The exterior dimensions of the new X3 may be largely unchanged, but its five-centimetre-longer wheelbase, long bonnet and extremely short front overhang with even more finely balanced proportions. These emphasise the perfect 50:50 distribution of weight between the front and rear axle – give it the edge over its predecessor.

All of the models available are equipped with xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive as standard. The BMW X3 sDrive20i with dynamic rear-wheel drive will follow in 2018. The new model generation enjoys the benefits of both a more efficient and lighter rear differential, and a modified transfer case, which made its debut in the current BMW 7 Series, operates far more efficiently and therefore represents yet another fuel-saving measure.

Lowering the vehicle weight is a key factor in the efficiency and agility of the BMW X3. For this reason, intelligent lightweight design is integrated into all areas of development and encompasses every component, as well as the inclusion of plastics and state-of the-art composites. The increased use of aluminium components in the engine and suspension systems have also further reduced the weight of the relevant assemblies. As a result, the new BMW X3 is up to 55 kilograms lighter than the respective predecessor models in similar specification.

Speaking at the national media launch, in George, Western Cape Province, Manager, Group Product Communications, BMW Group, South Africa, Edward Makwana, said the vehicle is expected to go on sale in Nigeria in the first quarter of 2018. He said only the petrol derivatives will be sold in Nigeria (xDrive30i and M40i, and later the sDrive20i and xDrive20i).

Makwana said: “We look at the overall demand, Nigeria would be a slightly different picture as to what we would be bringing to the market. Same applies to Kenya, it will get some diesel variants and petrol variants.“We would go for the generic affordable engine variant in Nigeria, which is different from market to market considering the demand,” he stated.

The new BMW X3 can be ordered with a number of new, chiefly comfort-enhancing equipment options not offered for its predecessor.These include three-zone automatic climate control, which adds separate temperature controls for the rear compartment to those for the driver and front passenger. The driver and front passenger can now also settle into perforated leather climate seats as well as seat heating for cold days, offering active seat ventilation to maximise comfort when the going gets hotter.

To further improve comfort in the rear compartment, the angle of the standard 40:20:40 split/folding rear seat backrests can be adjusted individually and through various stages, thanks to the optional cargo function. This feature also allows the backrests to be released remotely from the load compartment, which expands the standard load capacity of 550 litres to 1,600 litres.

The new BMW X3 can be locked and unlocked using the optional BMW Display Key familiar from the BMW 7 Series and BMW 5 Series. The BMW Display Key offers a whole series of additional features, such as keeping the driver informed of fuel levels and any service or maintenance work due, and letting them know if the windows and sunroof are closed. Plus, it can also be used to operate the optional auxiliary heating.

The optional combination of contour lighting above the trim strip in the instrument panel and ambient lighting, which directs a soft stream of light downwards from below the accent strip, bathes the interior in an extremely classy and relaxing ambience. In darkness, the central monitor appears to be literally floating above the instrument panel. Customers can choose from six colour tones (Orange, Lilac, Mint, Bronze, Blue and White).

The dynamic handling qualities of the new BMW X3 are rooted in its ideal 50:50 weight distribution, its meticulously honed chassis and the xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive system, which made its debut in 2003 when the first generation of the BMW X3 was launched. Not only has the system been offering superior grip on slippery surfaces ever since, it has had a beneficial effect on driving dynamics, too. It is interlinked with the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) meaning that the power split between all four wheels can be constantly varied to always produce the handling characteristics for which BMW is renowned, even when the driver is pressing on. The latest set-up has further enhanced the dynamic prowess of the new BMW X3.

Furthermore, the standard Driving Experience Control switch lets the driver choose between various configurations – i.e. ECO PRO, COMFORT, SPORT and SPORT+ modes (only on the 30i, 30d and M40i) – designed to make the vehicle more dynamic, more comfortable or more efficient to drive.

As far as the chassis technology is concerned, the third generation of the BMW X3 continues to rely on its winning formula of a double-joint spring strut axle at the front and a five-link rear axle. At the same time, this refreshingly engaging Sports Activity Vehicle delivers an even sportier driving experience than its predecessor without compromising on ride comfort. The engineers have succeeded in bringing about a considerable reduction in unsprung mass by fitting aluminium swivel bearings and lighter tubular anti-roll bars as well as optimising wheel location at the front. Plus, handling dynamics, straight-line stability and steering feel have all benefited from the uprated axle kinematics and the Electric Power Steering system with Servotronic function.

The new BMW X3 boasts the same off-road skills as its predecessor. The high ground clearance of 204 millimetres helps to ensure unhindered progress, not only when travelling along rutted gravel or sand tracks, over churned-up ground or in deep snow, but also on city centre roads with high speed bumps. The approach angle (25.7°) and departure angle (22.6°) of the new BMW X3 together with its breakover angle of 19.4° create plenty of margin for negotiating steep sections or crests. And with a fording depth of 500 millimetres, the vehicle can tackle water crossings with ease as well.

The cutting-edge BMW TwinPower Turbo technology at the heart of the petrol engines comprises TwinScroll turbocharging, High Precision Injection, Double-VANOS variable camshaft control and Valvetronic fully variable valve timing. The diesel units, meanwhile, employ a turbocharger with variable turbine geometry as well as a common-rail direct injection system generating injection pressures of up to 2,500 bar.

When it comes to driver assistance and (semi-)automated driving, all the systems currently offered by BMW are available, such as the latest generation of Active Cruise Control (ACC), whose capabilities include braking the car to a halt in stop-and-go traffic and automatically pulling away again. The Steering and lane control assistant, and Lane Keep Assist with side collision protection, all form part of the optional Driving Assistant Plus safety package and work via active steering inputs. These functions enhance both comfort and safety, while also setting standards in the class.

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