BMW X3
Classy but making company car sense - BMW X3 xDrive20d M Sport
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BMW X3 xDrive20d M Sport

What is it?

Today, a catch up with the BMW X3, one of the longtime image leaders among the premium compact SUV set. Stylish and roomy, the X3 continues to set the template for classy compact SUVs, some would say.

A longtime retail favourite and icon of the school run, how does this latest vintage of X3 stack up as a business choice for 2016?

We recently had a refresher course with this BMW X3 xDrive20d M Sport to find out…

 What’s hot?

  • Picture a contemporary, upscale SUV, roomy and versatile, and you have the X3 which also scores well for cool presentation.
  • Looks and feels a premium product, inside and out, especially in this M Sport guise with bespoke bodykit and (optional, racy) 20-inch alloys.
Premium feel to BMW X3 cabin
Premium feel to BMW X3 cabin
  • Plenty of space for five adults or even six within the X3’s quality cabin while vast boot (1600 litres max) is ultra load friendly.
  • Solid all-round performance from BMW’s proven 2.0-litre 20d turbodiesel engine with 0-62 mph coming up in a claimed, quickish 8.1 secs.
  • All-weather traction boosted by the presence of BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system (matched here to 8-speed Steptronic auto box) but happily without serious penalty on economy (54.3 mpg) or CO2 (136 g/km).
  • Significantly cheaper business car charges than higher spec X3 30d and 35d models  ie £9601 BIK/25% versus £13,395/31% (30d) and £14,201/31% (35d).
  • Kit on this top of the range M Sport (SE and xLine also available) includes fab designer front sports seats and brushed aluminium interior trim.
  • M Sport also brings sports suspension and on that enhanced set up, with grippy tyres, the X3 handles very adeptly for an SUV in this class.
  • DAB tuner. BMW media package, dual zone climate control, Bluetooth and leather trim all appear as part of the standard X3 kit package.

What’s not?

  • Give this optional 20-inch tyre M Sport Plus package a wide berth if you’re after anything approaching a compliant ride. On these sportifed wheels/tyres, the X3 rides far too stiffly…
  • You need to dig deep on the spec list for much of the best kit.  BMW’s hi-spec Professional Media Package, that’ll likely be of direct interest to business drivers is an extra £900. Our test car also added Internet (£95), Online entertainment (£160), Reversing Camera (£330) and Interior comfort package (£1450), just as an example.
  • Competition from newer models, not least the Range Rover Evoque, and with a new X3 not so far off, may well steal some of this X3’s thunder.

 Business Car Manager verdict:

No doubt about it, the BMW X3 still packs plenty of appeal as a premium, well executed SUV package for business users.

Matching space with practicality, status with road presence, it’s also very solid to drive and with this 20d, the all-round performance is such there’s no real need to go large on the higher spec 30d and 35d variants. Of course, the 20d also comes with the most competitive eco and business numbers, hardly a bad thing.

For all that, it might be a surprise to learn that this second gen, US-built BMW X3 is now essentially six years old. Launched in 2010, facelifted in 2014, it’s now far from the newest compact premium badge SUV on the block (a new X3 is tipped to appear next year).

Yet, objectively, it’s still more than holding its own in the class although we’d say the ramped up M Sport Plus package with 20in tyres, as tried here, is very much an acquired taste…

Bottom line: business users looking for a smart, compact SUV, the X3 is still one of the benchmark models in the class.

The Low Down on:

               BMW X3 xDrive20d M Sport

Doors and body style 5-door SUV
Engine/gearbox: 2.0 4cyl turbo diesel/8-speed auto transmission
CO2 Emissions: 136g/km
Economy: 54.3mpg
Power/torque: 190bhp/400Nm
0-62mph/top speed: 8.1secs/130mph
Insurance group: 31

…..and what it costs

 

P11D Value £38,405
Monthly business rental (ex VAT) From £tbc (3yrs/30,000 miles)
Road tax (VED) Band E
Company Car Tax Bands 2016/17 to 2018/19 27%, 29%, 31%
Benefit in kind 2016/17 to 2017/18  £10,369/ £11,137/£11,906
Annual/Monthly fuel benefit (20%)  £1199/£100
Annual/Monthly fuel benefit (40%) £2398/£200
Annual/monthly company car tax (20%) £2074/£173
Annual/monthly company car tax (40%) £4148/£346
Figures correct at time of posting
For latest figures Use our company car tax calculator

 

 

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