BMW X3 SUV to gain potent M model

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As redesigns go, this is on the subtler side - BMW didn't reinvent the wheel - but the elements appear visually decluttered compared with the outgoing X3.

The big news is the introduction of the new X3 M40i, which marks the introduction of the first M performance model for the X3 lineup.

"The kidney grille is larger than before - the whole front end is more puffed up - bold, strong and yet we've also added simpler, more flowing surfaces". Parked next to the departing model, the redesigned auto cuts a smoother, more swept profile. It carries on with the same distinctive looks BMW has used on its SUVs since the late nineties with the X5 - a mass of muscular curves and jacked-up estate car-like proportions.

For 2018, the X3's wheelbase grows by 2.2 inches, but otherwise, it's nearly exactly the same size as the outgoing model. The entry-level X3 xDrive30i packs an additional 2.3-inches in length and 0.3-inches in width, but drops by 0.1-inches in height. This is a four-cylinder 2.0-litre engine, which returns 56.5mpg, produces 187bhp and goes from 0-62mph in eight seconds dead.

The wheelbase might be stretched, but you wouldn't guess that from the interior dimensions.

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Unsurprisingly, the 2018 BMW X3 retains its same basic look from the previous generation.

The ever-popular premium mid-size SUV class is full of fierce competition, but the X3 is now holding its own in second place with 1349 sales to the end of May this year - a decrease of 15.7 per cent over its 2016 result. For the first time, the X3 can be equipped with a factory-installed trailer hitch. Four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline versions, including the USA and Canadian market 2.0-liter xDrive30i with the same 248hp output as on the new 530i, will be added to the range.

The base version of the 2018 BMW X3 will feature all-wheel drive as standard, which BMW calls "xDrive", powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 that makes 248 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque mated to an 8-speed automatic. BMW estimates the X3 M40i will accelerate to 60 miles per hour in 4.6 seconds. Each M40i arrives with the M Sports suspension, a setup that includes stiffer springs, dampers, and thicker anti-roll bars. The M40i includes a revised sport steering system as well, offered as an option on the xDrive30i.

The X3 range will also be offered with a choice of model lines, with the off-road styled xLine, upmarket Luxury Line, or sport M Sport available across the range, paired with alloy wheels available from 18-inches up to 21-inches in diametre.

The X3 was more than overdue an update, and is BMW's attempt to break into the popularity that Audi's latest Q5 and Mercedes' GLC have enjoyed in recent years. It adds a shiny chrome grille, two-one bumper trim finishers and a new dashboard upholstery, among other changes.

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