BMW unveiled the second technology of its X3 small SUV in 2010, and given its product cycles, the 2017 X3 is the final of this technology, because the 2018 X3, the third technology, is already turning into out there.
So I used to be shocked once I received within the 2017 BMW X3 to search out, as an alternative of seven-year-old cabin expertise, an up-to-date interface for navigation, stereo and related automotive options.
BMW managed to unravel the issue bedeviling automakers since client electronics entered the dashboard, updating software program options exterior of conventional automobile product cycles. Fairly than a dated, clunky interface on this X3, circa 2010, I may use fast on-line vacation spot search and third-party apps, and a full colour head-up show.
The X3’s sheet metallic, particularly beneath the contour traces, reveals a liquid smoothness.
BMW’s smallish SUV, the 2017 X3 slots in between the X1 and X5, naturally, providing moderately snug seating for 5 and 27.6 cubic toes of cargo house. Drop the rear seats and that house expands to 63.Three cubic toes. The passenger compartment feels roomy, particularly with the optionally available panoramic sunroof, which comes with BMW’s $Three,200 Premium package deal.
It is a handsome little SUV, with BMW’s signature kidney grille up entrance and liquid-smooth sheet metallic down the perimeters. The Mineral Silver Metallic paint on my instance actually enhanced its curves.
BMW sells the 2017 X3 with 4 drivelines, denoted sDrive28i, xDrive28i, xDrive35i and the diesel xDrive28d. The “s” mannequin means rear-wheel-drive, whereas the “x” fashions include all-wheel-drive. “28” signifies a 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, and “35” is a Three-liter turbocharged inline six cylinder.
I drove the X3 xDrive28i loaded up with the Premium package deal, and the $2,750 Expertise package deal, including navigation, head-up show and an built-in knowledge connection, amongst different issues.
In BMWs from a number of years again, the dashboard LCD confirmed a line-item menu display for the corporate’s iDrive infotainment system. Right here, the 2017 X3 handled me to a row of six icons masking navigation, media, automobile settings and communications, all accessible utilizing a dial and button pod on the console.
BMW updates its software program for the X3, right here displaying an icon-based principal interface as an alternative of the earlier line-item menu.
The X3’s navigation system used properly detailed maps with 3D rendered buildings. Making vacation spot entry straightforward, the system provides a Fast Search choice, which let me enter enterprise names or addresses in a single field, slightly than a tortured search by means of classes in a points-of-interest database.
For route steerage, I may look to the middle LCD or the X3’s head-up show, displaying which lanes I wanted to be in for complicated street junctions.
The X3 helps Apple CarPlay over a Bluetooth connection.
Extra impressively, the X3’s system consists of BMW’s newest innovation, wi-fi Apple CarPlay. As with regular CarPlay, the automotive mirrored a few of my iPhone’s ($699.00 at Apple) capabilities, akin to podcasts and navigation, on its LCD. However not like different CarPlay implementations, it labored over the telephone’s Bluetooth connection, so I did not must plug into the one USB port each time I wished to make use of it. Sorry, Android telephone customers, BMW nonetheless does not assist Android Auto.
BMW’s implementation of Yelp and apps for climate, information and native sights within the X3 are simply icing on the cake.
The one situation with the X3’s dashboard electronics I discovered was that the processor energy does not fairly sustain with the brand new software program. Most operations labored simply high-quality, however I noticed delays when zooming the navigation system’s map. I anticipate the new-generation X3 will repair that situation with a sooner processor.
The X3’s navigation system and CarPlay integration served me effectively on a jaunt from San Francisco to the Los Angeles Auto Present and again, serving to me discover a handy In-n-Out Burger for lunch, get out on the sand at Pismo Seaside, and negotiate Los Angeles’ infamous site visitors.
For my analysis of the X3, I set it to Sport mode with the rocker swap on the console and felt this small SUV’s throttle grow to be too delicate for every day use. Setting it to Eco Professional, the instrument cluster rewarded me with a readout of what number of additional miles its environment friendly driving managed, however the weak throttle response felt disappointing.
To finish this Goldilocks story, the automotive’s Consolation mode hit the precise steadiness for 99 p.c of my time behind the wheel. Past that, the X3 defaults to Consolation at ignition, which means that 99 p.c of drivers will simply go away it in that mode for all their journeys.
Though you may choose from three drive modes, the X3 is principally a get-in-and-go type of automotive.
In my greater than 800 miles with the X3, I used to be content material to drive like a standard individual, in Consolation mode.
The X3’s 2-liter turbocharged engine, turning all 4 wheels by means of an eight-speed automated transmission, manages 240 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Its idle-stop function shut down the engine at cease lights, saving some gasoline within the metropolis, and restarted shortly sufficient for all however probably the most impatient drivers.
That engine gave the X3 sufficient enhance for me to get a soar on site visitors when the lights turned inexperienced. Over a whole bunch of miles on the freeway, it comfortably maintained ample velocity, whereas providing sufficient energy overhead for me to zip round slower drivers and attempt to preserve forward of the tractor-trailer rigs earlier than one tried to cross one other.
I used to be dissatisfied to solely clock a median gasoline financial system of 23.5 mpg, particularly after all of the freeway driving. Nevertheless, the X3 charges 21 mpg metropolis and 28 mpg freeway in EPA testing, so I got here in about common for its vary.
On the freeway, the X3 rode comfortably, its well-tuned steering feeling responsive with out being twitchy. Nevertheless, at low speeds I may really feel the electrical motor enhance on the steering, giving it a barely tough edge, which may have been higher masked.
Taking a cloverleaf at velocity, I may really feel the X3’s glorious steadiness, an indicator of BMW vehicles for a few years.
And whereas the suspension proved pliant over the lengthy haul, letting me spend hours within the seat with out plenty of muscle ache, the Goodyear Eagle rubber on the 19-inch rims delivered a jarring crunch going over a pothole. A wider sidewall would assist right here, however BMW leans in the direction of a extra sport-oriented tire.
I am unable to say I felt the all-wheel-drive system at work once I rolled out onto the seashore for a surf-side picture session, however the X3 dealt with the delicate stuff effectively sufficient, its huge tires making for good traction. BMW does not embrace any handbook differential locking or different management over its all-wheel-drive system, so I simply needed to belief it was doing its factor.
Because the 2017 X3 marks the top of the mannequin’s second technology, anticipate offers as showroooms make means for the 2018 X3.
At this level, you will not discover the 2017 X3 talked about on BMW’s web site as the corporate begins selling the 2018 mannequin. At supplier tons and within the used market, nonetheless, the mannequin changeover may imply good offers on the 2017 X3. Given the up to date cabin electronics, this X3 conceals its age effectively.
As a small SUV, it serves fairly effectively. I wish to see higher gasoline financial system, however I do not anticipate that to alter a lot for the brand new technology.
The bottom worth of $41,250 for the 2017 X3 is on par with different small, premium SUVs, just like the Audi Q5 and Mercedes-Benz GLC, with the Lexus NX undercutting the Germans by a pair grand. The BMW X3 and Audi Q5 particularly run neck-and-neck in the case of content material, applied sciences and driving character, making it a tricky selection between the 2.