Middleweight BMW X3 is right on the money
Decent performance and economy at a big price-saving over the X3 range-topper
Getting a handle on modern car nomenclature is rather like trying to keep up with South African cabinet reshuffles — it can keep one busy. Recalling simpler bygone days when car badges usually denoted engine size, an unsuspecting buyer eyeing a new BMW X3 xDrive30i might well be mistaken for expecting a 3l six-cylinder engine under the bonnet. It’s in fact a 2l four-cylinder petrol turbo serving duty, as the powerful 3l six-pot engine is reserved only for the range-topping X3 M40i model. Knowing in advance what engine’s in the snout has significant bearing on how you’ll perceive this middle model in the locally-built X3 range. Go into it expecting a six-cylinder and you’ll be underwhelmed by the pace and the sound; but get behind the wheel knowing it’s a 2l, and it overdelivers on promise.
BMW X3 xDrive 30i We LIKE: Handling, performance, interior WE DISLIKE: Vapid sound, some turbo lag VERDICT: A value-for-money X3 with some vooma