BMW’s headquarters may be in Munich, but the German company is eager to see its manufacturing success in the United States. For more than two decades, the Spartanburg plant in South Carolina has been manufacturing BMW products, including the first-generation Z3, Z4, and E36 3 variants. square feet is responsible for assembling crossover SUVs of medium size (X5 and X6) and compact (X3 and X4), including the all-new 2018 BMW X3.
The new 2.0 liter sees its power rise from 240 to 248, while its torque drops slightly, from 260 lb-ft to 258. The power of the B46 is nothing extraordinary, but the turbo double helix mask effectively for a precise and predictable response of the accelerator. This engine stings above its weight in other applications (330i, 530i), but here it feels a little overloaded. There’s nothing to criticize in the power delivery or its pairing with the eight-speed, but it’s far from the silky, muscular inline-six of the M40i, which boasts 355 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of couple. BMW’s six turbo is a motor of the gods, and the M40i feels as fast as a Porsche Macan GTS.
On his third trip to the BMW studios, the X3 adopts the same philosophy as the current X5: do not break it, just break it. The X3 has wider air intakes, and the SUV crossover is a little lower and wider on its wheels than in the last generation. On the side, it has very large glazed areas, which gives it a slightly bulbous appearance, but pays dividends in the external vision. The front wheels were moved forward, farther from the dashboard, for better proportions and the rear portion was enlarged visually with more glass and larger rear lights. The effect becomes more pronounced as it adds body trims and aerodynamic kits in its new performance editions.
Inside, the central stack of controls has been enlarged and now features a large, high-definition display for infotainment services. The X3’s iDrive control washer rolls up to the leverage rifle on the gear lever, and the dashboard carries interesting metal or wood supports. On the M40i, a 12.3-inch screen replaces standard gauges. The digital gauge screen has large numbers and dials, a red stripe that indicates tachometer and speed readings, even a readable clock. It is coordinated in size and display style with the available 12.3-inch infotainment display. The X3 can be configured with a luxury package, which adds chrome grille bars and a upholstered dashboard. BMW offers a choice of wood trim or diamond-etched aluminum in the cab, and the M Sport and M40i models receive the usual badges and finishes of dark sills and trim.
The last X3 was not crash-tested. Front collision warnings remain an option on this expensive SUV (prices start at $ 43,000).