BMW unveils new X3... but the changes are hard to spot


Manufacturers often refresh a model at some point during its life cycle and the extent to which it is altered depends entirely on the marque in question.

Take the Mercedes E-Class for example, transforming from square and brutish to curvy and seductive overnight. But on the other hand you have Porsche, whose mid-life updates require a microscope to notice.

BMW falls into the latter camp, as it's 'new' X3 model helpfully demonstrates.

Eagle-eyed readers will notice that the front end now boasts refreshed twin circular headlights (that look a little cross-eyed in our opinion and a lot like the X5) and a new BMW kidney grille. The front bumpers have also gained new contours, according to BMW officials, and the LED indicators are housed within the wing mirrors.

Inside, customers are treated to new cup holders (yes, really) and a selection of new upholstery colours and fabrics. Absolutely nothing else is new or exciting.

Things do hot up a bit when you rummage around underneath the bonnet as the new X3 features a revised and more efficient 2.0-litre diesel engine. The xDrive20d engine's output rises from 182bhp up to 187bhp. Scintillating.

At the more efficient end of the spectrum is the new 148bhp X3 sDrive18d, which, with rear-wheel-drive, a six-speed manual gearbox and reduced rolling resistance tyres, is even more frugal, returning a claimed 60.1mpg with emissions of 124g/km.

Customers can also go crazy with a new xLine trim level that adds (steady yourself) gleaming metallic inserts in the bumpers, Satin Aluminium side cladding and bars in the air intakes, simulated underguards at the front and rear and exclusive 18-inch alloy wheels (phwoar).

Inside, the £1,500 package will add exclusive xLine leather upholstery, Dark Copper trim and a Sport leather steering wheel. Or you could go on an all-inclusive holiday to Mauritius.

Appetite suitably whetted? The new BMW X3 goes on sale in June 2014, priced from £30,990 OTR for an X3 sDrive18d SE.

New BMW X3

New BMW X3