Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Bucket Seat: 2017 BMW X3

When the BMW X3 was first launched back in 2003, it was a bit of a misfit for many, at the time the need for a mid sized SUV, wasn't that popular simply because there was very little that the market offered. But then people slowly started warming to the idea and actually began appreciating what the X3 was and realised it was more of a SAV (Sports Activity Vehicle) and since the demand for this sort of vehicle has grown in leaps and bounds with many manufacturers taking to it and offering models of their own. 

This week BMW lifted the covers of their new X3 which is due to hit local shores by November this year, albeit not a very close kept secret as leaked images hit the internet a few hours before the live launch. I think BMW need to invest in better security but I suppose it creates hype for their product in it's own way. Getting back to the car, design wise, BMW have continued with the trend set by the 7 Series with hexagonal lights with sharp edges, bring in the X line, the iconic kidney grilles are large and prominent on the front and below finishing of the front end is a mean diffuser with LED fog lamps and large air intakes. 

The rest of the car is sculpted very similar to that of the smaller X1 and bigger X5 with it rounded of at the rear with larger tail lights that look quite cool with the inner LED pattern. The new X3 will be made available in three packages, the base xLine, Luxury Line and M Sport package. As customer preferences go, its obvious that the M Sport package would be the favourite for the lot, but for me I'm liking the Luxury line, with its chrome finishing and the multi-spoke rims and interior trimmings of dark oak wood and light leather seats options. 

Speaking of the interior, as per the exterior design, a lot of the elements from the 7 series can be found inside, most notably the previous in-dash infotainment screen now protrudes from the dash and is a large 10.2-inch touchscreen display with the added option for gesture control. Also offered as an optional extra in the interior is a 12.3-inch instrument  cluster and a full-colour heads up display. Storage areas in the cabin have increased in size and with the ergonomic design, general space in the cabin has increased for the passengers. 

 Seeing that the X3 is derived directly from it's sedan counter-part, the 3 Series, I expect this SAV to do quite well when it goes on sale later this year. What makes this new X3 even more special is that from April next year, it will be built and made in South Africa at BMW's Rosslyn plant which will stop production of the 3 Series and begin manufacturing of the new X3. It's a bitter-sweet moment for BMW SA as the 3 Series has been so long synonymous with the Rosslyn plant but as I said in the beginning, SAV's are becoming more and more the sort after vehicle for the consumer, be it a secondary car, a moms car or a general all rounder, more often than not you will find one in the garage of every 3rd or 4th house hold in a street. 

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