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New BMW X3 topped by 398hp M50. Image by BMW.

New BMW X3 topped by 398hp M50
BMW has taken the wraps off its fourth-generation X3 SUV.
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What's this about?

BMW has reinvented its best-selling car, the X3, revealing it in full while detailing its extensive engine line-up, including a longer-ranged plug-in hybrid and a powerful not-quite-an-M-car.

But it's called the M50, right?

Indeed it is, and it replaces the M40i model of old. The lack of an "i" in the name is a new thing, but the formula is the same, using a powerful 3.0-litre straight-six petrol engine and enhanced mechanicals to produce what BMW calls an 'M Performance vehicle'. These sit below proper M cars in terms of focus - which means there's probably a new X3 M in the pipeline - but still look the part thanks to special door mirrors and wheels, plus the obligatory quad-exhaust at the back.

The turbocharged engine produces up to 398hp and 540Nm, giving this SUV a 0-62mph time of 4.6 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 155mph. It also costs £64,990.

My budget is a little lower than that...

There's another petrol model available, in the shape of the X3 20 xDrive. It costs a rather more palatable £46,800 while 208hp/330Nm from its turbocharged 2.0-litre engine aren't bad numbers at all. As the name suggests, it still gets four-wheel drive, and on the subject of the driveline, all X3s feature an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Although the X3 20d xDrive's diesel engine produces less power (peaking at 197hp), its higher torque figure (400Nm) allows it to out-accelerate that entry-level petrol option, taking a tenth less time to hit 62mph from rest, at 7.7 seconds. It'll also officially manage up to 48.7mpg depending on specification, though it's priced from £48,210.

Aren't we supposed to be moving away from diesel?

Given the current 5 Series can't be bought in the UK with a diesel engine, and the same will be the case for the facelifted BMW 3 Series, it is a little surprising that the new X3's range features diesel power, but this is BMW's best-selling car and diesel still makes sense for a lot of buyers. There is a potentially more efficient alternative in the X3 line-up, though, in the shape of the upgraded plug-in hybrid.

Badged '30e xDrive', this X3 costs from £56,340 and features a 2.0-litre petrol engine, powerful electric motor and a larger battery than before to deliver a compelling mix of stats: up to 56 miles on electric power, 299hp, 450Nm, 0-62mph in 6.2 seconds and 313.9mpg. Obviously, as with all PHEVs, the latter figure is only achievable after obsessive use of external charging for the battery pack, though that is made easier now with AC charging speeds of up to 11kW.

What's the interior like?

The new X3 adopts the 'Curved Display' layout of all modern BMWs, though mixes it with a new range of flat-bottomed steering wheels, distinctive LED light bars and a focus on using sustainable materials - including 'Econeer' material on the seats (or 'Veganza' synthetic leather - or real leather if you really really want it).

You can order your new X3 now for first deliveries later this year.

Shane O' Donoghue - 18 Jun 2024

Earlier articles featuring 2024 BMW X3

2024-04-14: First drive: BMW X3 pre-production prototype

2025 BMW X3. Image by BMW.2025 BMW X3. Image by BMW.2025 BMW X3. Image by BMW.2025 BMW X3. Image by BMW.2025 BMW X3. Image by BMW.

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