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BMW X3 2021 Review
In certain ways, the BMW X3 is more of a goldilocks luxury SUV for our market than you might realize. Of course, BMW prefers to call them SAVs – with the A standing for Activity – but either way, with the size of our cars, roads, and parking lots, the X3 is a great fit in both urban and extra-urban settings.
This generation of BMW models is largely based on the CLAR – cluster architecture – platform for anything larger than a 3 Series, and that applies to the BMW X3 as well. The first generation of the X3 was unveiled to the world back in 2003, just a couple of years after the launch and success o the BMW X5 and fulfilling a much-needed place as a mid-sized luxury SUV for BMW.
Up until the last half decade or so, the only competitor to the BMW X3 in our market was from the four rings in the form of the Audi Q5, but now with Mercedes-Benz offering the GLC as well it is a proper three-way fight for supremacy in this segment.
This third-generation model was first released here in 2018 in a singular xDrive30i Luxury variant, with the xDrive30i M Sport variant being introduced in 2019, an update that added advanced safety systems for 2020, and the entry level sDrive20i xLine variant being introduced in the first half of 2021. From the very beginning this model has been locally assembled, benefitting from CKD incentives.
With the exception of the BMW X3 M Competition model – a range topper in one way, but an entirely different model in others – buyers can choose from three different variants of the X3, with two different engines and three different styling and accessory packages as part of the variant.
BMW X3 2021 Specifications
As mentioned earlier, the local variant of the BMW X3 comes with two different engine options. The entry-level variant is known as the sDrive20i xLine – which denotes that it comes with the B48 turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine making 184 PS and 300 Nm of torque. This power is delivered exclusively to the rear wheels – hence the sDrive suffix.
In the case of the two other variants – the xDrive30i Luxury and xDrive30i M Sport – they are powered by the same base engine in the form of the B48, though this time it produces a much higher 252 hp and 350 Nm of torque, in line with vehicles like the BMW 330i and 530i. That power is split across all four wheels through the xDrive all-wheel drive system, giving you extra traction when necessary but being primarily rear-biased.
Regardless of which variant you choose, you get the ZF 8HP eight-speed conventional automatic transmission between the engine and the wheels. This quick shifting unit has been one of the highlights of many modern BMW models, giving you a great ratio spread for both acceleration and efficiency, smooth shifts for a seamless driving experience, and quick response to inputs for the driving enthusiast.
In terms of overall dimensions, the BMW X3 sits with a wheelbase of 2,864 mm, with a length of 4,708 mm, width of 1,891 mm, and height of 1,676 mm. This isn’t too far off what rivals are offering and packaged as, though you wouldn’t expect wild variation in sizing for this highly competitive segment.
BMW X3 2021 Exterior
Rather interestingly, all three variants of the BMW X3 are distinct in their looks. The entry level model gets the xLine package which is your rudimentary off-road-esque look with rugged black skirting along the running boards and wheel arches, with a Glacier Silver metallic matte finish on items like the kidney grill, front intakes, and rocker panels. These items are finished in chrome instead for the Luxury line model, though for the large part the matte-black elements remain the same.
The range topper gets entirely different elements here, with different front and rear bumper designs, as well as body coloured cladding for all the previously matte-black elements for a more complete, sportier look. The chrome surrounds for the grille are maintained, but everything else gets a darker look for that sportiness – black instead of silver or chrome essentially.
Wheels change marginally through the range, with 19-inch alloys on the entry-level sDrive20i xLine variant, a different style of 19-inch alloy wheels for the xDrive30i Luxury model, and larger 20-inch alloy wheels in a double spoke M design for the range-topping xDrive30i M Sport. LED headlights are common across the range too.
BMW X3 2021 Interior
The interior of each BMW X3 variant follows that of the exterior, with minor changes to differentiate them. The entry-level sDrive20i xLine gets black Vernasca leather upholstery and stitching with high-gloss black trim and pearl chrome highlight trim finishers, and Sensatec for the dashboard material. The mid-range xDrive30i Luxury has that same black leather with contrast stitching instead, and dark oak wood trim pieces in place of the gloss black items.
The xDrive30i M Sport retains that black Vernasca leather as well, but with blue coloured contrast stitching. The trim elements are aluminium in this case, though pearl chrome is used for the highlights and Sensatec is still the dashboard material of choice.
BMW X3 2021 Safety Features
Safety features for the BMW X3 are pretty much flat across the range, with the advanced systems being available even with the entry level X3 sDrive20i xLine model. This includes items like lane departure warning, lane change warning, front collision warning, cross traffic warning, and rear collision prevention.
This is naturally on top of items that you come to expect from a modern BMW: DSC (electronic stability control), ABS with EBD, traction control, cornering brake control, and your alphabet soup of acronyms. ISOFIX and front airbags, curtain airbags, and head airbags are all included as well.
BMW X3 2021 Strengths & Weakness
Falling in love with the BMW X3 is pretty easy, and it goes back to BMW’s roots in producing luxury SUVs. When the first X5 was launched, one common praise for it was the fact that it wasn’t a just an SUV from BMW, but it was most importantly an SUV that drove like a BMW – and this stays true even until today. The X3 offers incredible surefootedness with a chassis that reacts to uneven roads just as well as it does when you’re throwing it around a set of bends.
The xDrive system has also been refined over the years to react more quickly and seamlessly in low grip situations, to the point where it is almost imperceptible in its action – if only that you feel as though you have far more grip and traction than you would expect on particularly slippery surfaces. This also works to an extent off-road, but let’s be real: you won’t be getting through really muddy ruts without proper off-road tyres.
Perhaps the weakness then is that the X3 exists more because of customer expectations and preferences, rather than the actual need for an SUV. Many critics have long said that modern consumers are so obsessed with larger SUV models that they would forgo the just-as-practical and far sleeker wagon variants of BMW’s sedan range – which we unfortunately don’t get here in an official capacity. SUV owners don’t often make use of that ground clearance or off-road capabilities, so there’s no real reason to have an SUV.
BMW X3 2021 Price
Of the three variants that you can get your BMW X3 in, the entry level model is the X3 sDrive20i xLine which sets you back RM 270,934.00. Going up to the mid-tier X3 xDrive30i Luxury, you have to fork out marginally more at RM 288,494.72. The range-topping X3 xDrive30i M Sport goes for RM 308,423.87. All of these prices are inclusive of the current SST exemptions, but not including the additional extended service and warranty package which tacks on an extra RM 15,740.00 on each price.
BMW X3 2021 Features
Competitive kit lists are the name of the game, even in the luxury car segment. With mass market models catching up, luxury manufacturers have to stretch their lead. Even the entry level BMW X3 sDrive20i xLine gets items like three-zone automatic climate control, ambient lighting, a powered tailgate, powered front seats, a 12-speaker sound system, and the BMW Live Cockpit Plus system that is replaced by the Live Cockpit Professional cluster unit in the remaining two variants.
BMW X3 2021 Fuel Consumption
There are manufacturer quoted fuel consumption figures which apply to the different variants of the BMW X3. For the sDrive20i powertrain, that figure comes in at 7.1 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres, or 14.1 kilometres per litre. For the more potent xDrive30i powertrain, the figure is slightly different at 7.2 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres, or 13.9 kilometres per litre. Being turbocharged powertrains, these figures can swing quite wildly towards either extreme depending on how you drive – keeping the turbo on boil with harder driving naturally consumes a lot more fuel.
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- Body Type: SUV
- Transmission: Automatic
- Engine Capacity: 1998 cc - 2993 cc
- Fuel Type: petrol
- Seat Capacity: 5
- Price: RM 288,495 - RM 850,432
02 May 2018
X3 M40i sampled in Portugal
Unlike earlier BMW X3 models, the new G01 BMW X3 blends high quality materials into a reasonably good looking SUV, whilst offering superior driving experience over some of its key rivals. We dare say that the X3's interior is a nicer place to be in than the Mercedes-Benz GLC, thanks to BMW's intuitive controls and ease of use, though the interior design of the GLC may seal the deal for some.View full review
User Review of BMW X3
Car is so cool and comfortable
First time bmw user
My lovely bmwx1