BMW X3 (2011) xDrive20d - Design Review
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Design Review of BMW X3 (2011) xDrive20d
Last Updated at 11:28 am, May 20, 2013Rating :
The new X3 has grown bigger and looks alarmingly better than its predecessor.
Photography: Eshan Shetty
I was never a big fan of the BMW X3 and that could be because it was one of the first crossovers in the world – and therefore, like most crossovers, it looked as if it was trying too hard to be an SUV while remaining compact in form. I’m not even coming to how ugly it looked! But the not-so-great-looks certainly did not stop the older X3 from being the highest sold vehicle in its segment. In India though, the X3 did not manage to re-write any history books, for the consumers were always looking for a large car when it came to buying an SUV. But times have changed now and the enormous sale of the likes of the X1 shows the market’s willingness to accept crossovers for their practicality over full-fledged SUVs. So in a way, the new BMW X3 has got it’s timing right to start off its second stint in India. But does the new crossover (or Sports Activity Vehicle / SAV as BMW likes to call it) pack enough to repeat its global success in India as well? To find out, we drove the X3 xDrive20d from New Delhi to Mumbai – which amounts to over one thousand kilometers. To make the test even more difficult for the X3, we picked up a test car that had done over 10,000 km on the odo…
With BMW’s new design language flowing into the X3, the crossover can be mistaken as the new X5 in a passing glance. But the X3 marks its difference with a subtler bumper and a set of rectangular headlights as opposed to the X5’s wedge-shaped units. As compared to the earlier X3,the new model is wider, longer and shorter- and the boxy headlights help in makingthe X3’s larger dimensions evident. The trademark ‘corona rings’(Bangles or Angel Eyes as some of you call them) are now made up of bright, white-LEDs. These made quite a few heads turn in each and every village that we crossed on our trip. The rings have a daytime-running function by default, but that can be turned off if you don’t like all the attention. Sitting in between these headlights is the kidney grille, which has grown bigger too; and while thexDrive20d gets black vertical slats, the top-of-the-line xDrive30d gets more premium chrome slats.The front bumper looks sober and has the characteristic BMW ‘X’ design that places the round fog lamps at the far corners.
The X3's bonnet gets pronounced creases - which is a vital element that is in line with BMW's current design language.The same theme is carried over on the side profile as well whereyou see a heavy dose of flame surfacing. BMW implies that these creases create an array of shadows that makes the design look muscular. To me, the side just looks too busy - but that isn't a bad thing for a car that calls itself a sports activity vehicle. The glass-house is roomy and it’s wedge-shaped design and the largeHofmeister-kink gel very well with the aerodynamic lines of the new X3.
At the back, you get the familiar hammer-shaped taillights. In fact they look so familiar that for the uninitiated, the new X3 may pass off as a facelift than an all-new model. Like the side profile, the tailgate is busy too – again with a generous dose of lines and creases. The rear bumper gets a three-tone colour combination with the body-colour at the top;a matte black finish in the middle, that flows in from the wheel arches and the rub-rails; and a silver finish at the bottom, for the skid plate. The twin pipes for the exhaust sit on the left side of the rear bumper and add to the sporty stance of the X3.
Overall, the new X3 cannot be termed as a pretty car, but it definitely looks alarmingly better than the earlier model.Though it has fairly large proportions and the poise of an SUV, it looks a tad too docile in design – and that may not go down too well with the customers looking to buy a crossover/SUV – for they want muscle and aggression.
First Published on 04:11 pm, December 23, 2011