New SA-built BMW X3 revealed with bolder appearance, futuristic cabin

Published Jun 19, 2024


The new BMW X3 has finally been revealed to the world and it’s a very important vehicle for Mzansi, with the carmaker having invested R4.2 billion to build it at the local Rosslyn plant for export as well as local consumption.

Set to go on sale in South Africa during the fourth quarter of 2024, the fourth-generation BMW X3 represents something of a clean sheet design for the midsize model.

At 4,755mm the newcomer is 34mm longer than before, while width has grown by 29mm and height reduced by 25mm. This, together with standard 19-inch wheels, gives it a more purposeful presence.

Will the new grille prove controversial? Picture: Supplied.

BMW’s designers aimed for a smoother body shape with crisply defined lines, while the large illuminated kidney grille with its combination of vertically and diagonally arranged bars will be something of an attention grabber.

A more conventional looking blocked-off grille adorns the flagship M50 xDrive, along with 20-inch or optional 21-inch rims and quad tailpipes.

Beneath the bonnet of this M Performance model is a beefed up 3.0-litre six-cylinder that produces 293kW, allowing for a 4.6 second claimed 0-100km/h sprint.

The X3 M50 xDrive has a unique grille and bumper design. Picture: Supplied.

The other internal combustion option for South Africa is the 20d xDrive, featuring a 2.0-litre turbodiesel that’s good for 145kW and 400Nm, sprinting to 100 in 7.7 seconds. Like the flagship model, the 20d features 48V mild hybrid tech as well as an eight-speed autobox and all-wheel drive.

Overseas markets get the option of an X3 20 xDrive four-cylinder petrol model that pushes 153kW, but this doesn’t appear to be on the cards for SA.

BMW is also offering a 30e xDrive plug-in hybrid model, which will be built in South Africa for the first time. It pairs a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbopetrol engine with an e-motor integrated into the eight-speed autobox to generate system outputs of 220kW and 450Nm.

Its 19.7 kWh battery pack, which allows AC charging up to 11kW, provides a claimed electric range of between 81km and 90km.

Futuristic, digitised cabin

The cabin of the new BMW X3 appears significantly more futuristic, taking its cue from the latest 7 Series and 5 Series sedans.

Taking pride of place is a Curved Display, incorporating the latest BMW Operating System 9 with a new QuickSelect feature that allows key functions to be activated directly without digging in sub-menus.

A curved display and comprehensive ambient lighting mark out the new X3 cabin. Picture: Supplied.

The cabin also features an Interaction Bar, flat-bottomed two-spoke steering wheel and a new lighting scheme that adds a colour contrasting border to elements like the centre console and door trims.

Newly designed, electrically adjustable and heated sports seats, upholstered in Econeer, come as standard in the new X3 while Veganza and BMW Individual Merino leather upholsteries are available as options.

More standard features, new tech

BMW X3 customers can also look forward to an extended range of standard features, including three-zone climate control, automatic tailgate and BMW Live Cockpit Plus with cloud-based navigation.

There’s also a longer list of semi-automated driving and parking systems.

Features like Front Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning and Parking Assistant are fitted as standard to the new model.

There’s a long list of options too, such as Steering and Lane Control Assistant as well as Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go and Parking Assistant Professional that allows remote-control parking via your phone.

Pricing and detailed South African specifications for the new BMW X3 will be released closer to the new model’s launch in the fourth quarter.

IOL Motoring