New entry-level model will further expand appeal.
BMW is widening the reach of its excellent new X3 SUV, by offering a new entry-level model that’s been sharply positioned to nick sales from its competitors. The X3 sDrive20i will serve as the new base model for the range, and will arrive in dealerships in March 2018.
With prices to begin from $65,900, the X3 sDrive20i will undercut the all-wheel drive 20d variant that used to mark the entry into the range. Rather notably for enthusiasts, the sDrive20i is rear-wheel drive like a proper BMW, and rather unlike the entry-level X1 that was revealed last week.
“We have been strongly encouraged by the X3’s sales performance since it arrived in early November. With the X3 sDrive20i, customers can enjoy all the flexibility of the all-new X3 platform at a further-sharpened price point.” - Marc Werner, CEO, BMW Group Australia
With motivation coming from a 2.0-litre turbocharged mill, the 135kW and 290Nm is more than adequate to deliver an exciting drive when the mood should take you (we’re envisioning a coast road already). And despite its position in the range, the X3 20i (the name’s too long) will come generously equipped.
Sharp LED headlights will be standard (and automatic), while there will also be things like an electric tailgate, tri-zone climate control, heads-up display with speed limit recognition, iDrive with sattelite navigation and 6.5” display, ‘Driving Assistant’ (with front-collision warning, lane-departure alert, and blind-spot monitoring), as well as wireless phone charging.
As is usually the case with new BMW’s, the base X3 will also be offered with an optional ($3500) M-Sport package, which throws in gloss-black exterior trim (replacing the satin aluminium), black headliner, adaptive dampers, 19-inch alloys in a unique design, paddle shifters, and an M-Leather steering wheel.
No further details (like a mention of fuel consumption and emissions) were made clear at press time, though it’s expected not to be too far from the 7.6L/100km that we’ve seen from the X3 xDrive30i, which uses the same engine in a higher state of tune (that drives two more wheels, mind).
Though the new X3 sDrive20i might be the entry-level model, we have a hunch that this might be a greater giggle to drive than its xDrive siblings, though we’ll have to find that out for ourselves come March.