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The BMW X3 xDrive30i brings in a potent petrol engine to expand the portfolio for the premium mid-size crossover SUV. Here’s what it’s like.

BMW X3 xDrive30i

Story: Jim Gorde
Photography: Sanjay Raikar


Petrol is becoming a mainstay in the line-up for many car manufacturers regardless of the size of their vehicles. Some still offer diesels but that’s not what this is about. Is the arrival of a petrol engine in the BMW X3 all about being quieter and more refined? Or is it more to cater to those who only buy petrols? Regardless, it’s quite a potent thing and it deals with all surfaces well. We decided to show it some more town, some rough stuff, and even take it off the beaten path for a little while.

BMW X3 xDrive30i

The X3 has always been mid-size crossover SUV, or “Sports Activity Vehicle” as BMW refer to it, that never grew on me. It seemed compromised and ugly, not to mention pointless, until the new one arrived and the potent diesel just seemed so right. The current car is larger than its predecessor and as large as an X5 from the turn of the millennium, in terms of all dimensions, and would simply eclipse it in terms of size, performance, and comfort factors, whichever way anyone looks at it. The evolution is clear. And just for that, the BMW X3 xDrive30i gets scrutinized not just with the numbers on paper — as many decide to compare apples to apples in terms of printouts without actually biting into one — but with how it actually feels on the go. Sure, 252 hp and 1,715 kilograms makes 147 hp/tonne but that’s not just it, isn’t it? I mean, some cars have 900 Nm of torque going through four wheels split by a transaxle and differential that are earning their keep without overtime and, yet, what actually gets to the ground is mostly visualized as blue smoke rather than speed or motive force. How the power is put down matters, too.

That’s where the new BMW X3 xDrive30i comes in. It may not have six cylinders like the old X5 did. It also does not have the 231 hp and 300 Nm that the naturally aspirated engine delivered. It has two less cylinders, a third less displacement, a turbocharger and that’s good for 21 more horses and an additional 50 Nm as well. And the eight-speed Steptronic automatic does great transmission duty and the smart xDrive all-wheel-drive system does a fantastic job putting it down, distributing the torque as needed with split-second precision to provide not just maximum traction but also commendable acceleration and fuel efficiency. But it’s more about numbers these days.

The BMW X3 xDrive30i looks the part. Premium badge? Check. Big 19-inch alloy wheels? Check. Large sunroof? Check. Fancy LED lights? Big boot? Powered tail-gate? Check, check, and check. It’s got everything that most modern buyers want to flaunt and it’s also got what those who really want to drive look for. Can’t beat that equation. The large kidney grille, sleek LED headlight and tail-light clusters, and just its muscular form and proportions look the business exactly. I’d been pleasantly surprised when I drove the diesel xDrive20d earlier and this xDrive30i came with its own share of surprises.

BMW X3 xDrive30i

The interior of the BMW X3 xDrive30i is extremely well put together and there wasn’t a creak or rattle with only a few thousand kilometres on the clock; like some offerings from other premium names unfortunately tend to have. The light upholstery, contrasting wood and metal trim, and the familiar layout of the dash make for a nice place to be in. It’s easy to sink into and get comfortable with the controls. There’s more than enough room for four occupants and the climate control and well-contoured seats can keep everyone happy. A fifth could also fit in. The rear seatback is split-folding and that enhances both boot volume and flexibility. It has 550 litres and it can be expanded to as much as 1,600 litres with just two occupants. And even with load, its fun character doesn’t see much of an alteration.

BMW X3 xDrive30i

More on page 2 >


About the author: Jim Gorde


Deputy Editor at Car India and Bike India.
Believes that learning never stops, and that diesel plug-in hybrids are the only feasible immediate future until hydrogen FCEVs take over.

t: @CarIndia/@BikeIndia
IG: @carindia_mag/@bikeindia/@jimbosez


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