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BMW has another go at its coolly received compact SUV: meet the facelifted 2007 X3

15 Dec 2006

REVISION and reposition – this sums up the BMW X3 now that it has just undergone its first facelift, three years after the luxury SUV’s underwhelming debut here. With the upcoming second-generation version of the limelight-hogging X5 set to move up in size and price, the Bavarian brand hopes the 2007 version of its compact SUV can make more of an impact, via better petrol engines, nicer cabin trim and more standard features. Happily, the revised X3 is still an involving drive, but a long hard look is needed to spot any stylistic differences.
Model release date: 1 December 2006 to 1 October 2008

Previous model

BMW E83 X3

Released: June 2004
Ended: December 2006
Family Tree: X3

Perhaps BMW’s least impressive model of recent years, the original X3 confounded critics and buyers alike with its fussy styling, low-rent cabin fixtures and pricing that put it perilously close to its brilliantly accomplished X5 big brother. And while it has gone on to outsell it globally, the X3 will never be as highly regarded. Two in-line six-cylinder petrol engines – a 141kW/245Nm 2.5i, and a 170kW/300Nm 3.0i – were available, in five-speed automatic guises, although a small percentage of the former’s demographic chose the optional six-speed manual. A round of changes in late 2004 partly addressed some ride quality concerns, while a storming 3.0d version arrived in late 2005, boasting a 160kW/480Nm diesel and a six-speed auto.

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