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The new BMW X3 has a 355bhp M version

Watch out Audi SQ5 and Merc GLC AMG – BMW’s latest X3 is after you

Published: 26 Jun 2017

It’s the brand-new BMW X3. Really, it is: what looks like a mildly dramatic facelift is actually the third-generation of BMW’s middle-size SUV.

Proof that it’s more about the ‘Sport’ than the ‘Utility’ arrives in the form of a 55kg weight cut, 50:50 weight distribution and talk of ‘reduced unsprung mass’. There’s also an M badge on the back. If you order the new M40i version, that is.

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Beneath its M Sport body kit (with optional 21in wheels) is a 3-litre six-cylinder petrol turbo engine with 355bhp and 369lb ft. That puts it just above  the latest Audi SQ5 and just below the Mercedes GLC 43. Its 0-62mph time is a hot hatch-beating 4.8secs, while BMW claims it’ll still manage 34.5mpg.

The M makeover is completed by a sports exhaust, sports suspension, a variable steering ratio and an eight-speed automatic gearbox with launch control. Actual launch control. In an X3.

The all-wheel-drive system has a more rearward bias, while the stability control gets its own bespoke setup, too. Skids? Just maybe. Conversely, this may be the X3 to actually find some dusty off-road surfaces in…

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If you’re buying an X3 for more sensible reasons, there are a couple of  diesels, with a 187bhp 2-litre offering 56.5mpg and a 261bhp 3-litre boasting 49.6mpg (pictured above). All come with AWD, and all have an eight-speed auto as standard.

Other tech highlights include a number of posh nav systems – with the highly gimmicky gesture control available – plus a head-up display and CoPilot, BMW’s take on semi-autonomous driving. Like other manufacturers, it’s essentially the fitment of both active cruise control and lane-keep assist systems, which can work together to help the X3 drive itself. So long as you’re still sat there and able to hold the wheel, of course.

If it’s the M40i, though, you’re probably best of driving it yourself. You’ll need £51,280 if you want one of those, but the X3 range starts below £40,000.

Like it? Or are you becoming a bit SUV-blind now there’s a new one every week?

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