A week ago, one of our good friends who works at a local garage came over for a barbecue and boy did we like that meal! It had not occurred to many of us that it was possible to stuff spice into the most secret parts of beef. And we use the word secret reservedly here. Anyway, it was during this session of enjoying the culinary pleasures that the obvious discussion arose. That of cars. Matt, our friend, accused some drivers of having a special way of pissing him off as he got to work every morning but more often as he made his way out every evening. I could not wrap my head around why he picked out BMW drivers. Apparently, they have the highest success rate courtesy of their zooming past him. In a way that made him feel stationary. His words, not ours. Being an event with many respected gear-heads, we had to help a friend nail a motoring crime culprit. And he immediately pointed towards a 2018 BMW X3 that had been brought for a test ride. "Last night it was one of those," lamented Matt. We all laughed out loud. The 2018 X3, just like the meat, was spicy to the tiniest bit of it. We have not been in a unanimous agreement quite like what we had then. Take a bite.
How are the looks?
For the sake of honesty, we have to agree with a lot of critics, BMWs are not the hottest girls on the block. The third generation X3 has made tremendous steps into approaching the aesthetic value of a Macan with the M40i trim leading the pack. The exterior is unmistakably unique to BMW, a feature that is lacking in many crossovers today. The twin-kidney grille in the front is here, bigger and bolder and there is no doubt that this is a choice of functionality over form. The long, low hood will remind you of a duck's bill, maybe until you discover what lies beneath.
The hood, what's under there?
How about we start with the M40i since it really impressed us? It sports a turbocharged 3.0 liter inline 6 that pumps out 355 hp between 5500-6500 rpm and 396 lb-ft of torque between 1520-4800 rpm. Base models carry a turbocharged 2.0 liter inline four engine that produces 248 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The power is fed to all four wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission with launch control. It has xDrive technology which feeds power to the wheels with a firm grip on the road. If you still think BMWs are not fun to drive, you might want to try this one.
And the interior?
Every car worth its salt has one thing that it is popular for, when it comes to BMWs, it is the no-nonsense look. This is carried into the inside, maintaining its attention to purpose over style tradition. With some trims featuring leather finishes and genuine aluminum, the angles in the interior are slanted in a way that may look lacking in detail. Except for the hard plastics that are on the door panels, the rest of it is actually satisfactory.
Available tech features?
There's a Wi-Fi hotspot, wireless device charging, and Apple CarPlay, Android Auto is missing here. The iDrive integrates such features as ParkNow which reserves parking space for you and ConnectedDrive which pairs your car to a smartwatch for easy communication.
Is it pricey?
The X3 has the 30i as the base car, and it starts at $43,445 while the more plush M40i starts at $55,295. We can't say that is a cheap alternative to the Q5 given its $42,475 starting price.