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BMW X3 xDrive 18d launched

Fri, 10 Apr 2009 00:00:00 -0700

BMW has introduced a new entry-level X3 - the BMW X3 xDrive 18d

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I really can’t make my mind up about the BMW X3. It has certainly sold in decent numbers (500,000+), so it must strike a chord somewhere with the great car buying public. But I just don’t get it. It’s not much smaller than the X5, even though it seems to be marketed as a CUV (Compact Urban Vehicle). It’s not exactly cheap, and it’s not a great drive. Add to that that it’s about as much use off-road as a chocolate tea pot, and I can’t see the point. And yet…

There is something appealing about the X3 that transcends all my criticisms. Is it the badge? Is it the high-driving position? I can’t put my finger on it, and I’m not sure that those who buy it can either, but there’s something. And maybe this new version of the X3, the BMW X3 xDrive 18d is the one that has a point.

Logically, you’d expect this to be a 1.8 litre car. But it’s not; it’s a 2.0 litre. But when Mercedes calls the 6.2 litre AMG the 63, and the 2.0 litre A Class the A180, I suppose it’s no surprise. But anyway, the 18d has a 2.0 litre turbo diesel delivering 143bhp (which still sounds a huge amount out of a 2.0 litre diesel – I remember my 3.0 litre Capri from the ’70s, when at the time I thought I was the fastest kid on the block, having an enormous 138bhp!). But its big plus is the economy. With a claimed 45.5mpg on the combined cycle, it gives the X3 18d a range of pushing on 450 miles between fill-ups, and a reasonable 165g/km Co2.

I still don’t really ‘Get’ the X3. But with this sort of economy it does make it a fairly economical runaround. And given the excellent residuals the X3 range enjoys, it shouldn’t be too painful on depreciation either. But why do BMW persist in selling the X3 as a rufty-tufty off-roader (just look at the pictures in the gallery below)? Why not just market it as a cheapish high-riding CUV for badge snobs?

But for my money, I’d take the excellent Audi Q5 ever time.


By Cars UK