2016 BMW X3 M-Sport Review
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2016 BMW X3 M-Sport Review

Car Tested: 2016 BMW X3 M-Sport (30d); Road Test No. 770

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 76,42,220/-

The BMW X3 M-Sport comes across as an incredible package offering the best of all worlds

The last time I drove a fast SUV was a few months back when I had the Range Rover Sport SVR lying in my driveway. The car costs almost Rs. 3 crores and does 0-100 km/hr in just about 5 seconds. However, this time around, we were driving a cheaper (relatively!!) SUV that produces a lot of power and does 0-100 km/hr in less than 6 seconds. Moreover, it is practical enough for daily usage and even though it’s an SUV, it definitely has an immense fun-to-drive factor. So ladies and gentlemen, welcome to MotorBeam, and here is the 2016 BMW X3 M-Sport 30d.

Motor Quest: The BMW range of SUVs are very practical and spacious and the best part is that they still have fun driving dynamics. With the launch of M-Sport versions of their diesel cars, BMW is incorporating a sporty appeal in these cars and these trims are purchased by people who love the looks of the real M cars but cannot spend so much at the moment.

The M-Sport body kit definitely looks the part!

Exteriors – The BMW X3 is quite a familiar sight on our roads considering the fact that the automaker has sold this car in decent numbers. However, almost all cars that you see are 20d models which look premium enough but lack that sporty appeal. BMW’s answer to that is the X3 M-Sport. What differentiates the X3 M-Sport from the others is obviously the M-Sport body kit which adds a lot of flair to the styling and makes the X3 quite a looker. The steel grey colour on our test definitely looks killer and I really grew fond of the front fascia, especially with those circular fog lamps right below the headlamps. The design is well-proportioned though the car looks a bit odd from certain angles, largely due to the fact that it comes with really large windows. The alloys look sweet while the subtle M badging on the fenders remind you of the sporty intentions of the car.

The interiors come in an all-black colour theme on the M-Sport

Interiors – The interiors are again typical BMW fare with the usual neat layout for the dashboard and centre console. Nothing feels out of place and you are greeted by the familiar stuff. While the regular X3 comes with black and beige or brown interiors, the M-Sport version comes with all-black insides. There are again a couple of small M badges, including one on the steering. The instrument cluster is easy and clear while the HUD is a nice feature but the positioning is a bit odd because one just can’t read it properly without tilting their head up, even when the seats are positioned at the highest position. The X3 also gets the same i-Drive system which offers a variety of functions. The screen is large enough and the sound quality from the audio system is super crisp.

The cabin is spacious, practical and comfortable

The X3 is really practical with large seats and lots of storage spaces on the inside

The BMW X3 is an extremely practical SUV. There are tons of storage spaces and cubbyholes all around the cabin and the X3 really has a lot of space to store all your nitty-gritties. Talking about the seats, the front seats are really large and the cushioning is just about perfect for brilliant lower back and under thigh support. The side bolstering can be adjusted since well-built people will find it a bit tight. The rear seats are again spacious and comfortable. The large windows make the car look odd from the outside, as I said earlier, but it is on the inside that you realise the pros of the large windows. Outward visibility is excellent and the interiors have a very airy feel, which is further amplified by the large panoramic roof.

The X3 M-Sport gets an inline-6 3.0-litre diesel engine

Performance – You know what’s the best part about the X3 30d? It comes with an inline-6-cylinder diesel engine which is a favourite with enthusiasts and this oil-burner really makes the car a complete package. I am so smitten by this engine that I can just go on and on. The 3.0-litre unit produces 248 horses at 4000 RPM and 560 Nm of twist right from 1500-3000 RPM. The engine gets the same 8-speed gearbox that is found on many other BMWs. While top speed is just about 232 km/hr, the engine makes the car sprint from 0-100 km/hr in just 5.9 seconds which is stupendously impressive.

The engine has a lot of punch with quick acceleration

The 3.0-litre engine has more than enough punch and is decently efficient too

Turbo lag is well-contained and the car has oodles of punch right from the lower end of the RPM spectrum. Step on the gas and you will see that the car responds very quickly to throttle dabs and you can immediately feel a sense of urgency. Once the RPM needle crosses 1500 RPM, the X3 shoots ahead with blistering pace and the quick gearbox only complements this. 100 km/hr comes up in 3rd gear and the X3 reaches the double ton in no time. The engine’s mid-range is strong but it loses some steam once the car crosses 4000 RPM. In top gear, 100 km/hr comes up at around 1500 RPM.

The oil-burner makes the X3 an absolute pleasure to drive

The 8-speed gearbox works flawlessly and the paddle shifters are also a fun addition. Apart from that, you get a manual mode by flicking the gear knob to the left. The usual BMW driving modes like Eco, Comfort and Sport are offered. Eco mode lowers down performance and even the AC takes a bit more than usual to cool the cabin. Comfort mode is nicely calibrated and is perfectly suited for everyday driving. Sport mode allows the engine to hold onto higher revs so that the car accelerates instantly when you press the throttle. You can also switch off the Dynamic Traction Control if you’re in the mood for some fun. In terms of fuel efficiency, you can expect anywhere between 10-12 km/l while cruising on the highways and around 8-9 km/l under mix driving conditions.

The steering is well-weight and has good feel; suspension a bit stiff

Driving Dynamics – The dynamics of the X3 M-Sport are typical BMW with the steering offering oodles of feel and feedback. Handling is predictable and while there is some body roll, the X3 feels very eager to dive into corners. The suspension can be made stiffer in Sport mode and that really helps matters while driving aggressively. The suspension does a nice job on our roads and even though it is a bit stiff, Comfort mode should be fine for most people. Grip from the tyres is excellent and even the brakes have nice performance.

Lots of safety features offered on the X3 30d

Safety & Service – On the safety front, the X3 is equipped with dual front airbags, head airbags for the front and rear, side airbags, ABS with Brake Assist, Cornering Brake Control, Dynamic Stability Control with DTC, etc. BMW’s service centres are located in most major cities in India.

The BMW X3 M-Sport is a good pick if you want a sporty yet practical SUV

Verdict – The BMW X3 is definitely a bit outdated now but it still hasn’t lost its special touch. This is one of those few cars that can easily be termed as a proper all-rounder because it excels in comfort, features, dynamics and engine performance. There is hard to find any major fault with the car and it is definitely a worth competitor in the luxury SUV space.

The X3 does have a lot of serious competition from rivals

What’s Cool

* Inline-6 diesel engine is a blast to drive
* Cabin is comfortable and very practical
* The M-Sport kit adds to the sporty quotient of the car

What’s Not So Cool

* Slightly outdated compared to certain rivals

Alternatives: Mercedes GLC, Audi Q5, Jaguar F-Pace, Land Rover Discovery Sport, Volvo XC60

The BMW X3 is super fun to drive on the highway

Testers’ Note:

“Not a big fan of the design of BMW SUVs but once you get behind the wheel, the X3 stays true to the old BMW tagline ‘Ultimate Driving Machine’ as it’s immensely fun to drive with engaging handling and a splendid engine, which in spite of being a diesel, still pulls strongly, making you forget high revving petrol engines. The BMW X3 offers fun both on and off the road.” – Faisal Khan, Chief Editor, MotorBeam.
“I am a fan of low-slung sedans and the BMW 320d M-Sport is one of my favourites. Driving the X3 M-Sport was pure fun because the engine has so much grunt, it never runs out of steam and even quick overtaking manoeuvres are taken care of easily. The ride is a tad bumpy at low speeds while the driving dynamics are splendid, making the X3 a pleasure to drive. ” – Parth Gohil, Senior Road Tester, MotorBeam.

Further Reading

BMW X3 30d Review