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).

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.

Most Popular

New Audi RS3 revealed – AMG’s A45 S rival returns fitter and faster
2021 Audi RS3 Sportback – front tracking
Audi RS3

New Audi RS3 revealed – AMG’s A45 S rival returns fitter and faster

After months of tech insights, we now finally get to see the all-new Audi RS3 in its finished form
19 Jul 2021
Lotus Emira makes world debut – all-new coupe to rival Alpine A110
Lotus Emira
Lotus

Lotus Emira makes world debut – all-new coupe to rival Alpine A110

Lotus's first all-new car for a quarter of a century comes AMG power and sub-£60,000 price tag
13 Jul 2021
Porsche 911 GT3 Touring 2021 review – pairing the magnificent 992 GT3 experience to a more subtle audience
Porsche 911 GT3 Touring 992 review
Porsche 911 GT3

Porsche 911 GT3 Touring 2021 review – pairing the magnificent 992 GT3 experience to a more subtle audience

There are few, if any, more rewarding, engaging or intense experiences for those in pursuit of the thrill of driving
14 Jul 2021