BMW Reveals All-New 2018 X3 Crossover
New Generation Brings First-Ever M Performance X3 Model
BMW will be adding a redesigned model to its so-called Sports Activity Vehicle lineup, the 2018 X3. The all-new X3 will replace its predecessor at dealerships this November, giving buyers a chance to snap up the next generation of one of BMW’s best-selling model lines.
Subtly SmoothYou’d be forgiven if you had to take a second look to figure out if you’re looking at something new. BMW rarely performs drastic redesigns to its vehicles, favoring a subtle, evolutionary restyling instead of wild new looks. As such, the X3 retains its two-box shape, with a conventional roofline, crisp bodysides, BMW’s signature kidney grilles and Hofmeister-kink rear quarter window, and four-eyes headlamp elements.
The BMW devil is in the details for the 2018 X3, as many of those aforementioned styling elements have been gently tweaked to yield a more cohesive design. Reshaped head- and taillights have smoother contours, and the bodyside surfacing is more symmetrical between the front and rear axles. The hoodline is more horizontal, and the greenhouse’s trim features fewer edges and corners. Up front, foglamps ride in hexagonal nacelles, flanking a similarly shaped center air intake. Overall, the 2018 X3 is a bit smoother and more polished than its predecessor, but if you liked the old one, you won’t find anything to complain about with the new one.
Changes inside are much more substantial, particularly on the new-for-2018 X3 M40i shown here. Featuring the most recent BMW interior design language, the new X3 proudly showcases its tablet-like touchscreen infotainment display, while a driver-oriented center stack divides front occupants. The hexagonal theme repeats on that center stack, with unusual-but-attractive metallic trim surrounding the upper center HVAC vents. BMW’s counterintuitive joystick gear selector persists into this newest generation of X3s; we wish they’d just go back to a logical PRND-gated shifter. Luckily, the thick-rimmed steering wheel hides snappy-looking shift paddles for enthusiastic driving.
Ultimate Driving Machine?Under the skin, the X3 gains a few inches of wheelbase for better weight distribution and improved cabin comfort. On the base X3 xDrive30i, the engine bay houses a 2.0L twin-scroll-turbocharged I-4 making 248 hp at 5,200-6,500 rpm and 258 lb-ft at 1,450-4,800 rpm (up 8 hp and down 2 lb-ft from 2017). Driven through an eight-speed automatic transmission to all four wheels, the powertrain should enable a 0-60 sprint of less than six seconds, with a top speed of 130 mph.
However, those with a lust for speed should go for the aforementioned X3 M40i, which replaces the outgoing X3 xDrive35i. By adding a liter of displacement and two additional cylinders to the base X3, the twin-scroll-turbo M40i makes 355 hp at 5,500-6,500 rpm and 369 lb-ft at 1,520-4,800 rpm. A sport-tuned version of the same eight-speed automatic transmission allows the X3 M40i to hit 60 mph in well under five seconds, with enough steam to shove the SUV—sorry, SAV—to 155 mph when equipped with a speed governor–expanding sport package. A sportier suspension and larger, wider brakes should provide plenty of control over the faster X3.
Numbers like those prove BMW is chasing the heavy hitters in the compact luxury crossover segment, particularly the X3’s crosstown rivals Mercedes-AMG GLC43 and Audi SQ5. All three feature similar horsepower and performance stats, and we predict the X3 to match its foes on twisty roads and in long-distance grand touring as well.
Safer, Not TamerAs you’d expect in the high-dollar luxury SUV space, the new X3 can be kitted out with a long list of safety and convenience features. Active Protection is BMW’s suite of pre-collision safety initiatives that include pretensioning the safety belts, closing the windows and moonroof, and post-collision automatic braking to prevent secondary impacts. Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go also incorporates forward collision monitoring with collision mitigation, and the expected blind-spot monitoring and other driver-assist features are available as well.
In addition to park distance control, the X3 will also offer a Remote 3D View function, which projects a surround-view image of the X3 to prevent parking lot uh-ohs. BMW will also offer advance parking space booking and payment in select cities, as well as cloud-based street parking assistance, both of which will help alleviate congestion, according to the company.
Overall, the 2018 BMW X3 looks to offer a good amount of safety, performance, and luxury to devotees of the brand and luxury buyers looking for something with all the style and panache expected of something wearing a Roundel badge. And with ever-improving competition in the luxury crossover space, BMW’s refreshed and high-tech 2018 X3 can’t arrive in dealers soon enough. Pricing will be announced closer to the November launch.