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First thoughts and driving impression: 2022 BMW X3 facelift

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The easiest giveaway/identification from rear that this X3 is the facelifted model is because of the re-styled Pincer Claw shaped LED tail lamps.

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Likes:

Exterior looks, design & kit (Finally the G01 gets the MSport kit in India).

Ride & handling equilibrium (Thanks to adaptive suspension).

Interior design (Driver centric), iDrive (User friendliness).

Engine gearbox combo (B48 + 8ZF).

Dislikes:

This B48 in the X3 (SUV) only produces 350NM, whereas the same B48 is differently tuned in the G20 330i (Sedan) to produce 400 NM.

Features such as seat ventilation, wireless charging (Temporarily) & keyless entry are missing.

The nicer M-Sport variant is pricey (Strangely misses out on leather seats & HUD).

Where is the 20d (Should have been available at launch), 30d & X3M40i.

Exteriors:

The most notable change for the 2022 X3 in India is the M Sport kit offering. Interestingly the pre LCI G01 did not offer this option. M Sport treatment enhances the overall appeal for the X3 with the M Aero bumpers & high gloss Shadowline Package.

Front:

Globally BMW offers 3 headlamps, one is the standard LED, then there is the Adaptive LED & the top of the line are these LASER HEADLAMPS. My test car came with Adaptive LED's.

The double kidney grilles are now slightly larger, higher and surrounded by a one piece metal frame. M Performance gloss black grille upgrade highly recommended for this colour (Brooklyn Grey Metallic) to further enhance the looks. Grille gets active air flaps which provide cooling & reduce drag coeff. (Indirectly saving fuel) when required but also enable (when closed) faster engine heat up during cold starts.

Side:

As this is a facelift & not a new generation model, the wheelbase length remains same as per the pre LCI. Also the M Sport treatment continues with the M badging & shadowline high gloss inserts & window trims. Pre-booking customers get upgraded 20" M Sport Rims (With staggered tyres). Whereas the standard is 19" with 245's squared.

Rear:

The easiest giveaway/identification from rear that this X3 is the facelifted model is because of the re-styled Pincer Claw shaped LED tail lamps:

M Sport treatment continues with the sportier bumpers, prominently aggressive diffusers finished in Dark Shadow & the newly designed exhaust tips (Functional) which exude muscularity.

Engine and gearbox performance:

This B48 engine produces 252 HP. The highlight of this engine is its flexibility of the power delivery in the entirety of the RPM range. Mid range is strongest, with an exciting red line performance where as the lag down under is almost negligible. Acceleration feels quicker than factory quoted 6.6 Secs (0-100 km/h). Note this HAS Launch Control.

The only negative i have to report here and bring you all to notice is that the 30i in the X3 produces 350 NM whereas the same engine in the 3 Series gets 400 NM. Not sure the exact reason for this, but IMO the SUV counterpart deserved the same torque output (If not more).

Coming to the gearbox, this is the familiar ZF unit (GA8HP50Z) which is always performing its duties with passion and never in two minds enabling a good synergy with the B48 up front.

Ride & handling:

Globally the X3 comes with 3 suspension options, There is a Base, Sport (Fixed) & Adaptive. This particular piece gets the Adaptive Suspension. By adaptive it implies it adjusts the damper characteristics based on the mode selected. Lets speak about the SPORT mode 1st shall we. With all truthfulness, the X3 in Sport mode is the equivalent of a high riding G20. Its important to note that the G01 is based on the CLAR platform which also underpins cars like the G20 3 Series upto the G11 7 Series. Remember this is genetically still a rear biased AWD with upto 40:60 split, so the handling remains a attraction and a USP for enthusiasts. But for me the highlight is truly the Comfort mode, the damper settings allow a very premium & comfortable experience even with the runflats.

New generation runflats are good, but so are the new generation tubeless tyres, hence the ride quality will enhance even more with better, softer tyres something from the Michelin Pilot Sport SUV series. Current tyre setup is 245/50 squared on 19"ers whereas pre-booking customers get 20" staggered (245 front & 275 rear) wheels as standard, which will enhance the looks & handling with a compromise on ride.

Interiors:

To anyone who has spent time in the recent BMWs this will be a very familiar interior. The 12.3 inch iDrive screen features the very intuitive iDrive 7 & it's a good thing as the 8 is not great, and globally people have preferred the 7 over the updated iDrive 8 which has a new screen & cluster too. The door pads have good soft touch materials in all the touch points that matter. X stamping is a nice touch as well. This Control Island with the gear selector is familiar with the G20 3 Series. Mercifully, this gen BMW interiors have a good combination of buttons, knobs & rocker switches, not just a large touchscreen. A wireless charger is missing for the March production cars due to semi conductor chip shortage. However it is expected to be available for cars produced after March 2022. Comprehensively this is a very balanced, luxurious, and at the same time driver focused BMW interior.

The rear is spacious for a family however the outer seats are understandably more comfortable. The armrest is well positioned & it can also drop down and used to place longer items in the boot. The wheelbase allows decent legroom, but the highlight at the rear is the panoramic sunroof which enhances the sense of spaciousness for the rear passengers.

Final thoughts:

To conclude things, it would be fair to say that BMW have hit the sweet spot with modernizing the exteriors & interiors with just the right ingredients to keep the X3 competitively relevant in the market. However the M Sport variant needed more kit & an aggressive sticker price to justify the price/ performance ratio & the sterling driving experience.

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