The launch of the brand new BMW X3 marks the tip of a 12 months full of high-profile premium SUVs. We’ve seen the Audi Q5, Alfa Romeo Stelvio and Volvo XC60 all making waves within the section in 2017, however it was the latter that impressed essentially the most, and it’s one of many key vehicles for the brand new X3 to beat.
The Volvo’s upmarket cabin and sensible appears to be like, mixed with a powerful specification checklist and a composed chassis, meant the Swedish mannequin took our 2017 Premium SUV of the 12 months title.
It’s the oldest mannequin of the three right here, however it’s nonetheless very sensible, snug and, as a result of means it drives, a critical contender on this class. So to take residence a win the brand new X3 might want to convey collectively practicality, inside high quality, a cushty journey and interesting dealing with.
That’s fairly a feat to realize, however with the brand new BMW 5 Collection taking a commanding victory in its personal class as nicely this 12 months, the X3, which shares comparable tech, may do the identical. Can it ship? Learn on as we give our definitive verdict…
|Mannequin||BMW X3 xDrive20d M Sport Auto|
|Engine||2.Zero-litre 4cyl diesel, 187bhp|
|Take a look at economic system||33.5mpg/7.4mpl|
|Annual street tax||£450|
BMW has offered greater than 1.5 million X3s because it first went on sale in 2003, however the earlier second-generation mannequin was beginning to really feel previous. The brand new automobile is a step ahead, and we’re testing the xDrive20d in M Sport trim, which begins at £41,380.
The earlier X3 was all the time a best choice on this class when it got here to driving dynamics, and that hasn’t modified with this new mannequin. The superior new structure means the brand new BMW presents a class-leading journey and dealing with steadiness.
In consolation mode it’s supple sufficient that there’s solely a small distinction between it and the XC60, however it’s extra compliant than the Volvo and offers with mid-corner bumps with extra composure.
The X3’s steering isn’t as fast because the Jaguar’s, and it doesn’t fairly match the F-Tempo’s agile dealing with, however it’s so shut behind and can also be extra snug, so for many consumers the BMW is the higher selection.
Then there’s the efficiency: the BMW’s energy figures match its rivals right here, however in our assessments on the monitor it was considerably faster. From Zero-60mph, it was a second quicker than the XC60 and 1.Four seconds quicker than the F-Tempo, taking simply Eight.Zero seconds.
It’s an analogous story with the in-gear figures: from 30-50mph in fourth the BMW recorded a time of three.Four seconds, simply beating the Jaguar’s Four.6 seconds and the Volvo’s three.7 seconds. It appears faster in the true world as nicely, for the reason that gearbox is nicely matched to the engine, with properly spaced ratios.
This helps increase refinement additional, an space the place the X3 excels as a result of its powertrain is definitely the quietest of the three fashions on the transfer.
Testers’ notes: “The X3’s xDrive system offers reassurance when driving in slippery situations, however the sporty calibration means the set-up helps increase the BMW’s agility, too.”
|Mannequin||Volvo XC60 D4 R-Design Auto|
|Engine||2.Zero-litre 4cyl diesel, 187bhp|
|Take a look at economic system||39.4mpg/Eight.7mpl|
|Annual street tax||£140|
The Volvo XC60 is a key rival for the X3 to beat, because it impressed us sufficient in 2017 to say the Auto Categorical Greatest Premium SUV title. Right here we’re testing the two.Zero-litre diesel D4 mannequin in R-Design trim, which prices £39,705.
The BMW and Jaguar ship candy dealing with, however the Volvo feels far more arrange for consolation, though it doesn’t dispose of agility. The adaptive dampers on our automobile meant it was ready to take in bumps on tough roads pretty nicely.
Within the stiffer setting it does really feel harsher than both of its rivals, however the default mode is a pleasant steadiness between agility, composure and luxury. Nevertheless, the R-Design mannequin’s bigger 19-inch wheels do affect this and decrease trim ranges we’ve tried with smaller wheels are extra compliant.
The steering is lighter within the Scandinavian SUV than its rivals, however it’s nicely weighted within the XC60 and it’s sufficient to offer confidence in putting the automobile. It does lag behind its rivals a bit of in the case of dynamic skill and delight.
Nevertheless, on this class it’s not such a difficulty, as a result of house owners can be extra concerned with journey consolation; so it’s a disgrace that the XC60 feels a bit of harsher than the X3 on rougher roads.
The two.Zero-litre diesel engine isn’t any smoother than its rivals right here, though none of our trio’s engines is especially characterful to make use of. They do all supply respectable efficiency, although, and in our assessments the 187bhp Volvo fared fairly nicely in opposition to its rivals.
On the monitor it managed 30-70mph in Eight.three seconds, lots quicker than the Jaguar’s 9.Four-second time, however behind the X3’s Eight.1 seconds. The driving place is snug within the Volvo, though the seats within the BMW and Jaguar are literally much more supportive, plus you get leather-based as commonplace on these vehicles. There’s an excellent degree of consolation on lengthy journeys consequently.
Nevertheless, whereas the transmission is clean and upshifts early, when you rev the motor onerous it’s as loud because the F-Tempo’s engine and never significantly nice to hearken to. The Swedish mannequin’s engine is definitely not as hushed because the X3’s extra refined motor.
Testers’ notes: “The XC60’s inside is an actual step up from its predecessor. It’s not as sporty because the X3, however it’s a match for high quality. Each really feel higher constructed and extra luxurious than the Jaguar.”
|Mannequin||Jaguar F-Tempo 2.0d 180 R-Sport AWD Auto|
|Engine||2.Zero-litre 4cyl turbodiesel, 178bhp|
|Take a look at economic system||37.9mpg/Eight.3mpl|
|Annual street tax||£450|
The Jaguar F-Tempo received our 2016 Automotive of the 12 months award because of its spectacular mixture of sharp appears to be like, consolation, refinement and agility. We’re testing the two.Zero-litre diesel AWD mannequin in R-Sport guise, which prices from £41,330.
Though the Jaguar’s engine is the least highly effective right here – the two.Zero-litre diesel has 178bhp, whereas each rivals have 187bhp – it’s really a winner in the case of torque. The motor has a most of 430Nm, which beats the BMW and Volvo by 30Nm, and it’s out there as little as 1,750rpm, which suggests it feels nearly as punchy from behind the wheel as its rivals.
Nevertheless, the engine is coarse and doesn’t really feel as responsive as the wonderful unit within the BMW. At 70mph the F-Tempo is the noisiest automobile right here, too, and when you put your foot down the drone from the engine is much more obvious. The gearbox shifts easily if you want it to, though it’s not as intuitive because the BMW’s transmission.
With plenty of grip and good physique management, the F-Tempo is enjoyable to drive; it’s onerous to imagine a high-riding SUV can deal with in addition to this. It stays composed even on bumpy roads, and luxury doesn’t take an excessive amount of of a success to ship these enjoyable dynamics.
It’s a disgrace it doesn’t have the efficiency to match its rivals provided that the driving expertise is so good in any other case. On the monitor the Jag was slower than the Volvo and BMW in most key efficiency assessments, together with Zero-60mph and 30-70mph, though it did handle to beat its rivals from 50-70mph in seventh gear.
In that take a look at it took Eight.Eight seconds, a tenth quicker than the BMW and half a second quicker than the XC60. It’s the F-Tempo’s heavier kerbweight that dulls the automobile’s efficiency, which is why the Jaguar’s dealing with is all of the extra spectacular.
Testers’ notes: “The Jag is offered with rear-wheel drive at a decrease value, however its rivals are four-wheel drive solely. Take into consideration the place you’ll use the automobile earlier than choosing the additional pushed wheels.”
First place: BMW X3
With a category this aggressive, it’s a slender win for the BMW X3. It’s much more snug than the Volvo and practically nearly as good to drive because the F-Tempo. It’s additionally the quickest and essentially the most refined SUV right here, whereas it presents plenty of practicality, the very best high quality cabin and loads of expertise. It could be pricier than its rivals, however the distinction is sufficiently small for the BMW to safe the win.
Second place: Volvo XC60
The XC60 continues to be a best choice within the premium SUV class, however simply loses out to the X3 right here. The XC60 is snug and good to drive, however simply doesn’t have the BMW’s breadth of skill. It does have a top-notch inside on its aspect, and it’s nice worth too, each by way of checklist value and on PCP finance, which is why it finishes forward of the sharper-to-drive F-Tempo on this take a look at.
Third place: Jaguar F-Tempo
It’s clear how tight the race is when the Jaguar finishes in third place. Our 2016 Automotive of the 12 months continues to be the very best automobile on this class to drive, and it has the most important boot of the three. Its sharp appears to be like and powerful residual values are massive plus factors, too, however it falls behind its take a look at rivals for inside high quality, efficiency and worth, as a result of the Jaguar isn’t as nicely outfitted because the XC60 or X3.
Different choices on this class
Mercedes GLC 250d AMG Line
Engine: 2.1-litre 4cyl, 201bhp
In the event you’re after an SUV with journey consolation in thoughts, contemplate the Mercedes GLC. It glides over bumps within the street with ease, particularly when you go for a mannequin on air suspension. The 250d can also be extra highly effective than its rivals right here.
Alfa Romeo Stelvio 2.2 180hp Speciale
Engine: 2.2-litre 4cyl, 178bhp
On the flip aspect, specializing in driving thrills is the Alfa Romeo Stelvio. It’s an all-new mannequin that’s nice to drive, sensible and classy. It’s not as nicely completed as its rivals right here, however presents one thing a bit of sportier.
|BMW X3 xDrive20d M Sport Auto||Volvo XC60 D4 R-Design Auto||Jaguar F-Tempo 2.0d 180 R-Sport AWD Auto|
|On the street value/whole as examined||£41,380/£48,655||£39,705/£47,190||£41,330/£57,075|
|Residual worth (after 3yrs/36,000)||£21,807/52.7%||£21,000/52.9%||£23,112/53.9%|
|Annual tax legal responsibility std/increased fee||£2,385/£Four,771||£2446/£Four,892||£2,368/£Four,735|
|Annual gasoline value (12okay/20okay miles)||£1,970/£three,284||£1,675/£2,792||£1,697/£2,828|
|Insurance coverage group/quote/street tax||30/£821/£450||31/£722/£140||29/£730/£450|
|Price of servicing||£399 (three years)||£1,Zero29 (three years)||£699 (5 years)|
|Engine||4cyl in-line/1,995cc||4cyl in-line/1,969cc||4cyl in-line/1,999cc|
|Peak energy/revs||187/Four,000 bhp/rpm||187bhp/Four,250rpm||178/Four,000 bhp/rpm|
|Peak torque/revs||400/1,750 Nm/rpm||400Nm/1,750rpm||430/1,750 Nm/rpm|
|Transmission||Eight-speed auto/4WD||Eight-spd auto/4WD||Eight-spd auto/4WD|
|Gas tank capability/spare wheel||60 litres/£190||60 litres/£150||60 litres/£160|
|Boot capability (seats up/down)||550/1,600 litres||505/1,432 litres||650/1,740 litres|
|Turning circle/drag coefficient||12.Zero metres/Zero.29Cd||11.Four metres/Zero.32Cd||11.6 metres/Zero.34Cd|
|Fundamental guarantee/restoration||3yrs (limitless)/3yrs||3yrs (60,000)/3yrs||3yrs (limitless)/3yrs|
|Service intervals/UK sellers||Variable/192||18,000 miles (1yr)/114||21,000 miles (2yrs)/84|
|Driver Energy producer/seller pos.||ninth/21st||seventh/16th||12th/13th|
|Zero-60/30-70mph||Eight.Zero/Eight.1 secs||9.Zero/Eight.three secs||9.Four/9.Four secs|
|30-50mph in third/4th||three.Zero/three.Four secs||three.5/Four.6 secs||three.Four/three.7 secs|
|50-70mph in fifth/sixth/seventh/eighth||Four.Eight/6.three/Eight.9/15.Four secs||5.9/6.9/9.three/12.5 secs||5.7/7.1/Eight.Eight/15.Eight secs|
|High pace/rpm at 70mph||132mph/1,650rpm||127mph/1,900rpm||129mph/1,600rpm|
|Auto Categorical econ. (mpg/mpl)/vary||33.5/7.Four/442 miles||39.Four/Eight.7/520 miles||37.9/Eight.three/513 miles|
|Precise/claimed CO2/tax bracket||226/138g/km/29%||192/148g/km/31%||195/139g/km/29%|
|Auto field/stability/cruise management/AEB||Sure/sure/sure/£670||Sure/sure/sure/sure||Sure/sure/sure/sure|
|Local weather management/leather-based/heated seats||Sure/sure/sure||Sure/sure (half)/sure||Sure/sure/sure|
|Met paint/LED lights/keyless entry & go||£670/sure/£450||£650/sure/£500||£705/£915/£840|