The new versions of the BMX X4 and X3 are exceptional, offering genuine kerb appeal and a sublime driving experience, writes Paul Agnew. Photography: Paul Currie
Warning. These cars contain features other drivers may find upsetting.
Anyone familiar with BMW is used to nothing less than motoring excellence. The range is exceptional, both in terms of style and performance, and it is hard to imagine how the designers and engineers could generate improvement.
Well they have.
This month I had the pleasure of testing not one but two of BMW’s most popular vehicles – the new versions of the X4 and the X3.
Just updated (inside and out) and hot from the factory, both cars offered instant visual appeal and a sublime driving experience.
Let’s press the start button on the X4. Long considered a stand-out vehicle, with an unmistakable presence, this Sports Activity Coupé (SAC) is every bit as athletic as it looks.
Stunning in Sophisto Grey, with a sumptuous oyster Vernasca leather interior, it had me won over before we had even hit the road.
Externally there’s a dramatic new kidney grille, a sculpted rear apron and dominant full LED rear lights.
Inside, the live digital cockpit with navigation function includes a cluster consisting of a fully-digital 12.3 inch instrument display and a high-resolution 12.3 inch control display – as standard.
You can also opt for galvanic controls by way of an electroplated finish on selected interior buttons and switches.
I drove the xDrive2.0d model with four cylinders providing 190bhp – easily taking you from 0-62mph in 7.9 seconds, while offering close to 50mpg.
Topping the charts is the M40i three-litre petrol variant with six cylinders, 360bhp, 0-62mph in under five seconds and 30mpg.
Expect to be better connected than ever before with ultimate flexibility and freedom at your fingertips thanks to BMW ConnectedDrive.
Offering a suite of class-leading technologies and connectivity features, the X4 ensures you have everything you need before, during and after your journey.
With the BMW Operating System 7.0 – also included as standard – there is no better multimedia experience on the market.
In short, this is a car with much going for it. Genuine kerb appeal, superb handling, really smooth engine and great tech spec – the optional comfort pack even affords you a heated steering wheel. You might be surprised by the price for all of this. Go check.
Moving swiftly on to the X3, in my case the top-of-the-range M40i performance petrol option in Brooklyn Grey – stop right there!
This is a brand new colour and boy does it work well. It’s a beaut, in every possible respect.
Again you’ll find an entirely new apron with a sportier, more angular look to it. The re-shaped kidney grille sits between new, slimmer headlamps with new lighting signatures. A fresh rear bumper is joined by striking new tail-light signatures.
The newer model is more striking and more eye-catching. Even the alloys get your blood pumping. Not to mention the black chrome exhaust tailpipe finishers and the welcome light carpet on either side of the vehicle.
As for performance, how about 360bhp accelerating from 0-62mph in under five seconds and still giving more than 30mph, with an impressive emissions figure thrown in?
Technology? Your on-board Co-Pilot looks after everything (and that’s an awful lot) and don’t forget the My BMW App for direct connection inside and outside. You can plan your next trip, check the status of your vehicle or use the many remote service functions – all right to hand on your smartphone.
Like the X4, there is nothing to dislike here. A professional fault-finder would have his work cut out. To simply sit in the X3 is a treat in itself, but to hear it purr and fizz and to feel the quality all around is very special.
So, all things considered, two cracking motors.
Believe it or not, there are people out there with a preference for a plain car, one that doesn’t have too many features or attract too much attention.
If that strikes a chord, then the best advice is probably to steer clear of the new BMW X3 and X4. For these are cars designed to turn heads, impress and deliver. And they certainly do.
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