TopGear.com05 February 2014

Squint: it’s the facelifted BMW X3

Mid-size SUV gets angry new nostrils and greener new engines. RWD and a manual 'box, too

BMW will soon reveal the production version of the X4, an X3-based SUV-coupe-thing to serve as little brother to the divisive X6.

But if you want your brand-new X3-based SUV with a little more space than an X4, good news! BMW has just unveiled the facelifted X3, a nip’n’tuck designed to keep the second generation of Bavaria’s Audi Q5 rival going for another few years.

 

 

As facelifts go, this is of the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it school. The revised X3 gets new twin circular headlights – which can be had in full LED flavor should your wallet so desire – and a more prominent version of BMW’s signature ‘kidney grille’.

BMW also breathlessly informs us that the X3 also gets new cupholders in the centre console – with sliding covers, no less! – and the choice of not three, but FOUR new shades of paint.

As is Bee-Em’s wont, there’s yet more economy and yet fewer CO2s from the all-diesel engine line-up. The base X3 sDrive18d – which remains rear-wheel drive, for all your inappropriate oversteer-based needs – now makes 148bhp and 266lb ft, will do 0-62mph in 9.5 seconds but emits just 131g/km of CO2 and returns an official 57mpg.

At the other end of the power scale lurks the 309bhp X3 xDrive35d, which, with a honking 465lb ft of torque, will do the 0-62mph sprint in 5.3 seconds and 152mph flat out.

The high-po X3s get an eight-speed auto as standard, with the baser diesels using a six-speed manual.

The facelift X3 goes on sale in the UK in June, starting at £30,990. Would you take this, or the soon-to-arrive X4? Or, if you're after something rear-drive with a manual box, how about that new M3 and M4?

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