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Locally-Assembled Third-gen X3 Comes To Town

BMW Group Malaysia Unveils The New X3

We had a great start to our Friday by joining BMW Group Malaysia to officially launch the German marque's new X3 SAV, which moves the range into its third generation and... it will be locally assembled for the first time in the country. It's a logical move to us, considering how BMW owes it's local market share dominance to their SUV range, which saw 1,000 units already delivered in these early months of 2018, a 39% growth in Malaysia according to the group's bookkeeping.

The sole variant of the new X3 is named 'BMW X3 xDrive30i Luxury'. Yes, the electric hybrid game is growing here in Malaysia, especially with the tax cuts that manufacturers enjoy with locally-assembled hybrids. Still, the exterior looks of the third-gen BMW X3 remains unchanged, but we've been told that at least in dimensions, there's a five-centimetre extension to its wheelbase, which means it has a longer bonnet with short front overhangs. The grille has also been given some new accents featuring BMW's latest hexagonal design, but it's the first time to be seen on a BMW X model.

The SAV features LED headlights with low-beam and high-beam, side lights and cornering lights, with a high-beam assistant which switches head lights to high beam automatically when needed. This new BMW X3 rides on 19" light alloy double-spoke wheels in a two-tone colour, called Ferric Grey. Over at the rear, the light clusters looked refreshed along with a neat looking roof spoiler that compliments the twin exhaust tailpipes that give it its slight muscular look.

Under the hood of the X3 is BMW's TwinPower Turbo 2.0-litre, in-line four-cylinder petrol engine. Yes, the German marque's TwinScroll turbocharging is part of the engine and an 8-speed sport transmission governs the power outputs. This gives it a sprint time of 6.3 seconds towards a top speed of 240 km/h. It achieves these feats via 252hp and 350Nm of torque, which sounds well-tuned, but a driving stint with the new X3 will need to be done to confirm if this setting is just right, considering that it is also 55kg lighter than its predecessor. Furthermore, the standard drive modes of ECO PRO, COMFORT, SPORT and SPORT+ are present for varying driving conditions too.

The interior of the BMW X3 doesn't provide much wow-factor, which is something BMW needs to start sorting out. We might sound impatient like the rest of the world, but clearly, we're going to have to wait a little while longer to see a radically new cabin experience from the pioneers of 'Sheer Driving Pleasure'. Even so, everything you need is present and it can be a sight for sore eyes, especially its Vernasca leather seats complete with padded side bolsters which are quite comfortable. 

The comfortable interior doesn't compromise in quality, fit, finishing and has the ever-present functionality that BMW has become famous for. There are ample storage spaces all of which are well-thought about, with a cleaner button cluster layout. 'BMW X' embossing can be seen prominently on the vehicle's B-pillars, center console and rear door trim.

In the front, the attention is taken by a 10.25-inch touchscreen, located above the instrument panel. It of course houses BMW's ConnectedDrive system, which has often times been praised for its seamless connectivity. One neat thing that the cabin does have is the 'Welcome Light Carpet' which adds some theatricality to the whole cabin experience in the subtlest way.

We've been informed that this third generation of the X3, costing RM320,000, will be off the assembly lines come July 2018 (order lists open from 25th April 2018), which is in roughly three months and BMW Group Malaysia are quite confident that this SAV will perform well. We're not too sure about that but as always, taste is as relative as deemed success.