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.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Experience the thrill of driving with evo magazine. Subscribe now and get your first 5 issues for £5 or buy the latest issue in all good newsagents!

>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.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/porsche/911/201958/porsche-911-gt3-vs-gt3-rs-vs-gt2-rs-track-battle
Porsche 911

Porsche 911 GT3 vs GT3 RS vs GT2 RS - track battle

Porsche’s GT3, GT3 RS and GT2 RS are the most hardcore of the 911 breed, but pitched head‑to‑head which will we crown champion?
15 Nov 2019
Visit/ferrari/201950/new-ferrari-roma-612bhp-198mph-gt-car-joins-the-range
Ferrari

New Ferrari Roma: 612bhp, 198mph GT car joins the range

Ferrari has expanded its GT car range with the V8 powered Ferrari Roma
14 Nov 2019
Visit/buying-advice/19675/used-car-deals-of-the-week
used cars

Best used cars for sale this week

We’ve delved into the classifieds and chosen our favourite cars for sale this week
15 Nov 2019
Visit/features/22907/hyundai-i30-fastback-n-versus-the-col-de-turini
Hyundai i30 N hatchback

Hyundai i30 Fastback N versus the Col de Turini

We take the Hyundai i30 Fastback N up the Col de Turini, a 31km stage of the Monte Carlo World Rally Championship
19 Jul 2019