The New BMW xDrive 20d

Minimize Energy… Maximaze JOY

by John Lindgren

The first Beemer X3 was the ultimate compact SUV (or SAV ­­ Sport Activity Vehicle ­­ in BMW lingo) here in the Kingdom. And then came the NEW BMW X3.

So what’s the deal with the new BMW X3?

I remember the old “big” brother–the full-size BMW X5 built in the USA and powered by a 4.4 massive V8 petrol engine. Back and forth to Chopstick Mountain in Hua Hin set us back 4,000 baht in fuel cost. My wife asked, “Isn’t it cheaper to fly?”

That was before BMW’s “efficient dynamics” or “torque of the town” concept and the best 2.0 liter turbo diesel engine–not in town but on the planet earth. And we learned a new automotive term: cross over vehicle. A car that crosses over from sedan to SUV or “SAV” in BMW speak. Take a bit from the 3-series and 5-series. The same 2 liter engine. Voila! The (soft) off-road all-wheel drive BMW X3. And it rolled out of the showrooms on all continents, 600,000 units sold.

So, how’s the drive? Hang on…

Now, the looks. At the first glance it looks bigger that the first generation X3–it’s 8 cm longer, and the stance is wider. It looks more sophisticated with its long stretched silhouette and smoother curvatures.

The front end–with the striking kidney grill and the cool circular LED headlights (“angel eyes”)– creates a strong statement. The rear fat, big crimson LED tail lights, roof spoiler and shark fin antenna – that’s it.

Very BMW-esque!

Step inside

The Nevada leather upholstery smells delicious and, like everything inside, is made of high-quality, finely crafted materials. Generous amount of space for four persons. Cockpit features include the user friendly on-board click-on BMW iDrive with Bluetooth and iPad interface and the ueber kool Head-Up Display on the front windscreen. Since this is a cross over, space is abundant–fold the rear seats and you’ll fit the entire family fridge in the back! Try that in BMW 5-series.

The Drive

They call it efficient dynamics. That’s 0-100 kph in a 8.5 seconds. The four cylinder 2.0 liter, 184 bhp (break horse power) motor is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission box which produces 380 Nm of torque. Top speed: 210 kph. We managed to hit 190 on the expressway down to Kanchanaburi. The X3 was steady as a rock with razor-sharp steering. The 18′ light-alloys and 50:50 weight distribution providing perfect balance.

Sporty? Oh, yes. Music? My iPad connected to iDrive; playing the Beatles “Let it Be”.

And my wife was asking about the fuel consumption. How much? At 180 clicks, more than 19 kpl. Sure! But at normal highway speed a full tank will take you all the way to Chiang Mai in the North or Hat Yai in the South. No refueling.

And when you stop at traffic lights, you’ll hear how the Auto-Start-Stop turns off the engine to prevent waste of fuel drops. For lovers of efficient and dynamic driving, it’s music to your ears.

So they’ve done it again. The Bavarian Motor Works dudes from Munich, Southern Germany, Deutschland. The new BMW X3 or the new X-series model 3. Trust me. It blew me away. Hands down!

Time to start working (hard) and saving or try the government lottery. Because the BMW slogan says: “Joy makes dreams come true.”

BMW X3 xDrive 20d Highline Retail Price: 3,599,000 THB

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