BMW X3 Interior Layout & Technology | Top Gear
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Thursday 30th November


What is it like on the inside?

You sit reasonably high in here, with a commanding view out. It's a boxy and upright cabin compared with BMW's saloons and estates, and doesn't pretend to be an SUV coupe a la X4. Good.

It's not utilitarian though. Since the last X3 the linear, layered design of BMW's dashboards has given way to a flowing design with more diagonals, and the different sections are better integrated. Materials are now first class, with xLine models getting Sensatec fake leather and M Sport cars real Vernasca leather as standard. Seats are plenty supportive enough. There's a slightly sportier chair on offer but no race-style seat option. Mind you, if you miss that you're missing the point of a family SUV. The classic BMW sports steering wheel is here though and is still too thick.

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The 2021 facelift brought with it a standard 12.3-inch widescreen infotainment system that looks splendid and reacts well to your inputs. The clarity of the instruments and switches remains top-rate too.

The sat nav system is traffic aware, and easily operated, although you might want to avoid or immediately switch off the gesture control. The iDrive is good enough that you don't need to act like a conductor at the proms just to turn up the orchestra.

The optional head-up display is absolutely first-rate in its clarity, and in the way information pops up when you need it and goes away when you don't.

In the back, the high seats mean your legs and head won't be constrained. Three sets of ISOFIX points show the width of that bench. Adjustable rear vents, cupholders and lighting mean people back there should feel decently looked after. The seat backrest folds 40:20:40, and behind it there's a deep boxy boot with stout tie-downs. That’ll hold 550 litres of stuff, or 1,600 litres with the rear seats folded, although the PHEV loses 100 litres of room back there to make way for the battery.

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