Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Civilised BMW X3 2.5 Proves a Winner

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Civilised BMW X3 2.5 Proves a Winner

Article excerpt

Byline: By Robin Roberts

Taste and fashion can change dramatically and few know more about this than BMW. The family-owned car maker which has its foundations in small scale manufacturing of motorcycles and bubble-cars has evolved into one of the most envied brands in the world.

Blending engineering with style, it has developed one of the broadest model ranges of any global car maker and every rival closely watches each new Beemer to see not only where it is going but where the competition is likely to be heading in a few years.

Its influence far outweighs its size.

And it's much the same with the trend-setting BMW X3 which outwardly resembles an estate on steroids. After the success of the larger X5 SUV in the late 1990s, BMW saw an opportunity to spread into the smaller-sized sector and introduced the X3 in 2003.

It quickly established a niche for itself and in 12 months was being driven by more than 6,700 UK motorists, with 7,500 climbing into them in 2005 and it's maintained that level as rivals have moved into the showrooms.

Last year it underwent its first major revamp since launch and a series of new diesel and petrol engines were brought in providing more power, economy and better performance.

While most owners now plump for the power and characteristics of the big twin-turbo 286bhp 3.0 diesel or new 2.0 150bhp diesel, I wanted to try the latest 2.5 petrol.

This introduces 14% more power and 13% better economy than the original 2.5 from the launch thanks to better timing and breathing and the use of an electric water-pump which is 90% more efficient than the conventional mechanical unit.

The new X3 2.5 is better to drive so far as responses are concerned, very much quieter and smoother, and the six-speed manual is a perfect match once you have mastered the long clutch pedal travel.

Its intelligent 4x4 transmission with xDrive and DSC+ requires no thought from the driver and works seamlessly and instantly, giving additional grip only when and where necessary so it also aids economy and does not make it heavy when slowly manoeuvring.

DSC+ is fitted as standard for the first time on an X3 and control is further helped through a hill-start assist facility. …

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