Updated SUV comes with bolder grille and updated infotainment.
The facelifted BMW X3 SUV is now available to order in the UK with prices starting at just over £43,000. Customers get a choice of three main trim levels, two petrol engines and three diesels, all of which use mild-hybrid tech, as well as a 2-litre plug-in hybrid option. The go-faster X3 M Competition will sit apart from the rest of the range, priced from £85,100.
As part of its mid-life refresh, the X3 has been fitted with a new, larger front grille and new headlights, while the cabin gets an updated design with a centre console nicked from the 4 Series Coupe. The X3 also gets BMW’s latest-generation iDrive infotainment system, complete with an updated navigation system that’s supposed to be more intuitive.
The headline asking price buys you the entry-level xLine model, which comes with rugged-looking exterior trim, LED headlights and satin aluminium roof rails, while the interior is adorned with BMW’s Live Cockpit Professional infotainment system. That means you get a digital instrument cluster and the latest-generation iDrive infotainment technology, as well as three-zone climate control.
Stepping up to the M Sport trim gets you sportier and more aerodynamic body styling, glossy black exterior trim and a sportier interior. Sports seats and a sports steering wheel make up the main alterations.
The M40d and M40i versions get their own trim level, which represents a halfway house between the standard X3 and the high-performance X3 M Competition. Those models come with even more M performance design tweaks, as well as some race-bred mechanical upgrades to the suspension, brakes and all-wheel drive system.
As before, the X3 comes with a choice of engines, including 2- and 3-litre petrol and diesel options, as well as a plug-in hybrid. All six come with four-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission as standard.
The entry point to the range is the xDrive 20i petrol engine, a 2-litre unit with 181 bhp. That’s enough to get from 0-62 mph in 8.4 seconds before surging on to a top speed of 133 mph. Perhaps more importantly, the engine will return fuel economy figures of between 33.6 and 37.7 mpg on the official economy test.
The only other petrol option is the high-performance M40i, which uses a 3-litre straight-six engine to produce 355 bhp. With that engine under the bonnet, the X3 will race from 0-62 mph in just 4.9 seconds before topping out at an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph. Official figures suggest fuel economy of between 29.7 and 32.1 mpg.
If you prefer diesel power, you have a choice of three different options. The cheapest of those is the £44,310 xDrive 20d, a 2-litre engine with 188 bhp. It’s much more economical than the xDrive 20i, returning 43.5-48.7 mpg on the official test, but it’s also faster, cutting the 0-62 mph time to 7.9 seconds.
Alternatively, you can have the more powerful xDrive 30d, which comes with a 3-litre diesel straight-six engine that churns out 282 bhp. With that under the bonnet, the X3 will return 40.4-45.6 mpg, and it’ll also sprint from 0-62 mph in 5.7 seconds – although not necessarily at the same time.
The final diesel option is the M40d, which uses the same engine block as the 30d, but adds a little more power. With 335 bhp, that engine takes the X3 from 0-62 mph in the same 4.9 seconds as the M40i, but it’s much more economical. Officially, it’ll return 38.7-42.8 mpg.
On paper, however, the xDrive 30e plug-in hybrid is the more economical choice, with a 31-mile all-electric range. The combination of electric motor and 2-litre petrol engine provides 248 bhp, but the official data suggests economy of 108.7-141.2 mpg if your lifestyle suits the vehicle and you can charge it regularly.
Gallery: BMW X3 M Competition (2021)
Above all those will be the X3 M Competition, which BMW has effectively pitched as a standalone high-performance model. Using a more powerful version of the M40i model’s 3-litre straight-six engine, the X3 M Competition has 503 bhp, allowing it to race from 0-62 mph in 3.8 seconds. The halo model will also come with model-specific interior and exterior styling, 21-inch alloy wheels and adaptive M suspension, not to mention M brakes and a fleet of other performance-orientated additions.
The BMW X3 and X3 M Competition are available to order now with prices starting at £43,370 and £85,100 respectively. The first customer cars will arrive in the UK in September.