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BMW X3 review - strong engines help make this an impressive SUV - Engine and gearbox

Do you really need an X5?

Evo rating
Price
from £33,945
  • Decent to drive, strong diesel engines, good interior tech
  • Bested by Macan dynamically, numb steering, slightly stiff ride, dated interior design

BMW has elected to run with an all-diesel line-up in the UK, so there’ll be no decadent, big-cube, petrol-powered X3 to snap-up for peanuts a few years from now. In fact, the range is rather narrow by BMW’s standards: at its core is the familiar 2-litre turbo-diesel engine, available in only 20d form (there is no longer an sDrive18d model, it being discontinued from sale in the UK back in August 2015).

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Recently revised for the ‘LCI” facelift of 2014, it produces 187bhp at 4,000rpm and 295lb-ft of torque between 1,750-4,000rpm – the latter output suggesting that despite its limited displacement, it should make a decent job of lugging the X3’s 1,730kg around. This engine is available with either BMW’s six-speed manual gearbox, or the familiar ZF eight-speed automatic unit, with gearchange paddles mounted behind the steering wheel at additional cost.

>Read our Porsche Macan review

The other X3 models use the ubiquitous yet brawny 3-litre straight-‘six’, in 30d and 35d forms. Both feature a single, twin-scroll turbocharger, in the 30d producing 255bhp at 4,000rpm and 413lb-ft of twisting force between 1,500-3,000rpm: in the 35d 309bhp at 4,400rpm and 465lb-ft between 1,500-2,500rpm. These six-pot X3s are only available with the eight-speed auto ‘box, with a ‘Sport’ version of this transmission as an option that includes a Sport+ mode and paddles as standard.

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