Third-gen X3 range to be topped by 355bhp M40i M Performance model
BMW is ramping up the performance SUV stakes by adding a 355bhp M40i M Performance model to its new third-generation X3 range, due on sale in the UK this November.
The new X3 is longer, wider, more aerodynamically efficient and 55kg lighter than the old one. Australian designer Calvin Luk has talked about giving the new model a sense of extra athleticism without losing the old model’s formality. “It is known within the design team as the rugby player in a suit.”
A modified suspension arrangement of front double wishbones and five-link rear features aluminium swivel bearings and hollow anti-roll bars. Besides the usual firmer M-Sport suspension there will be an option of electronically controlled dynamic dampers.
The xDrive four wheel drive system has been tweaked to deliver more power to the rear wheels. New driver assist systems include the latest active cruise control, lane change and lane keeping assistants with side collision control.
The initial X3 offering will have two 4WD diesels – the £38,880 187bhp xDrive20d and the £44,380 261bhp xDrive30d. The range-topping 4WD £51,280 M40i model has a turbocharged 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder petrol engine producing 355bhp and 369lb ft of torque, good for a claimed 0-62mph time of 4.8 seconds and a top speed of 155mph.
Petrol 181bhp xDrive20i and 248bhp xDrive30i models will be added in early 2018, with a plug-in petrol-electric hybrid xDrive40e and a full electric X3e coming after that.
The three UK trim variants will be SE (LED headlamps and tail lamps, aluminium roof rails, 18-inch wheels); xLine (aluminium grille highlights, different bumpers, off-road style 19-inch wheels); and M Sport (unique bumper design, optional blue brake calipers, sportier 19-inch wheels). The M40i has its own look with optional 21-inch wheels.
Refinement will be enhanced through the use of an acoustic glass windscreen and extra sound deadening material. A completely restyled cabin based on a hexagonal bevelled theme features a free-standing infotainment monitor, more storage opportunities and more comfort for rear passengers. Boot capacity is unchanged at 550 litres, or 1,600 litres when the split-fold rear seats are down.
Options include a 12.3-inch digital instrument display, a head-up multi-colour display and a 10.2-inch infotainment monitor that can be ordered with conversational speech and gesture control function.