Beemer turns the frog into a prince

2010-12-15 10:47

Just a few years ago I could never tell BMW models apart even though the German carmaker only had three model ranges in their stable.

The launch of the new-generation X3 made gave me the impression that it was just going to be another X model which you can’t tell apart from the rest, but I was wrong.

When the first X3 was launched a few years ago it was big and bulky. The latest X3 doesn’t look very different from its predecessor, but it is definitely a lot prettier.

The lines are smoother and rather more curvaceous. The bigger kidney grille adds to the more aggressive attitude it now boasts.

Launched on the windy roads of Mpumalanga, the second-generation X3 was introduced with two engines the xDrive2.0d with a 135kW diesel engine and the straight six-cylinder xDrive35i petrol engine with 225kW of power.

While BMW’s xDrive four-wheel drive technology is standard, performance control is optional. New goodies include the auto-start-stop function on the X3 to help reduce carbon emissions when the car is stationary; the eight-speed automatic gearbox and the optional damper control and dynamic drive control.

The interior is rather lavish and the rear seats are split 40:20:40. It has a maximum boot space of 1 600 litres and a 2 400kg towing capacity.

There is also the Connected Drive options which include the heads-up display, internet access and a reversing camera with top view.

BMWs are built to grovel tough terrain yet the people who buy them seldom take the car to the kinds of extreme off-roads it can handle.

The X3 is at home driving over rocks and through deep dips as it would be on a smooth highway. It showed off its ferocious skills en route to the Lion Sands private game reserve and could have taken the place of the fifth member of the big five we didn’t get to see.

Quick stats
Model:
BMW X3
Engine: xDrive2.0d / xDrive35i
Power: 135kW/225kW
Torque: 380Nm / 400Nm
Fuel consumption: 5.6 l/100km / 8.8 l/100km
CO2 emissions: 147g/km / 204g/km
Price: from R463 000 – R629 900

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