We recently just tested a BMW X3 M40i, the most high-performance variant of the X3 currently being made. However, that’s not going to be the volume model. What most customers are likely going to buy is the BMW X3 xDrive20d in Europe (likely the X3 xDrive30i in America). That’s because it sports all of the same luxury features that customers expect from a modern BMW but uses a fuel-sipping diesel engine. So is the X3 xDrive20d any good, even though it lacks the wonderful 3.0 liter turbo-I6 of the M40i? Autocar finds out.

While not as quick as the M40i, the BMW X3 xDrive20d’s B47 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder diesel is quick enough. Its 187 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque is capable of getting the X3 from 0-60 mph in 8 seconds, which is more than enough for most customers. Its 0-30 mph time is probably more impressive and what most customers will actually use in the real world. That engine is paired to an eight-speed ZF auto as-standard with BMW’s latest xDrive all-wheel drive system powering all four wheels.

It also comes with quite a lot of kit as-standard, such as a back-up camera, LED headlights, hill decent control and three-zone climate control. You also get BMW’s latest iDrive system, which is brilliant to use. The combination of touchscreen capability on top of the traditional rotary controller makes it a breeze to use. The screen is also rich with high-definition graphics and slick response time.

Inside the X3, customers will be happy with the design, fit and finish and passenger space. While Autocar claims the cabin to not be that much different from its predecessor, I have to respectfully disagree. It’s light years beyond that car’s cabin. But the materials are all superb, with cheap plastics being found only on places that aren’t touched. Rear seat passengers will also be happy, as leg room and head room are both ample, even behind tall front passengers. Trunk space is also impressive, making it a good family vehicle.

But the most important part of the new X3 is that it’s actually fun to drive. Steering is said to be accurate and properly weighted and the chassis is dynamic enough to handle some twisty roads. Even the xDrive20d model can handle some hustling, so you don’t have to get the sporty M40i variant if you want some fun. Though, M Sport suspension is recommended.

Overall, it seems the Autocar liked the new BMW X3 xDrive20d and it seems to be a car that average folks can buy and be quite pleased with. Even enthusiasts who can’t afford the higher-performing X3 M40i can get an X3 xDrive20d with M Sport suspension and be happy with how their car performs while also having a car that handle their family duties.

[Source: Autocar]