We’re not calling the previous X3 a less luxurious SAV( Sports Activity Vehicle). However, we do feel that the all-new X3 (G01) is probably the most luxurious and premium feeling X3 that BMW has ever built, which is why we absolutely adore this reiteration of the X3. Pairing it with the ability to be a really cyclist friendly vehicle there’s not much we can complain about, it was almost like they had cyclists in mind when they built it.
Let’s start off with the interior and how lucky we are that the BMW X3 has a black roof lining, another attribute that most cyclists love. Why? Because sometimes after a 160km ride, hands and arms can get a bit shaky and when putting a bicycle back into a vehicle, accidents can happen. Tyre marks would most certainly stain a light coloured roof lining if you’re not careful, but with black it can almost disguise the stain and even disappear completely if you give it a good wipe.
The black pillar trim and roof lining also give the SAV a touch of luxury and we here at Cycling Plus Malaysia are all for things that give a vehicle that extra touch of class.
The X3 also offers the perfect shade of brown leather seats, a material BMW calls Vernasca - another plus from a cyclist’s point of view. On the days you are lazy, you tend to not change your jersey before heading home after a bicycle ride and to be frank, the seats do come into contact with some sweat.
With leather brown seats, they can almost cover up any sweat stains but if you love your car, we recommend changing your shirt first or at least wiping the seats when you get home. In this sense, you will love an X3 because the interior does make it easy for you to keep it clean and looking brand new for many years. The front sport seats also provide a lot of support and keep you sitting up straight during those spirited drives because who doesn’t have spirited drives in a BMW?
The other parts of the interior are all also well-built with soft touch materials everywhere, but as cyclists, all we care about is what happens at the rear end. Especially when those lovely rear passenger seats are folded down to turn the car into a bike hauler. The X3 has no load lip which is sometimes raised in a vehicle.
This makes it easy to slide a bike in and out of the car. Once folded, the seats also provide a flat surface for the bike to lay on and combined with the boot space, you’ll manage to slide in even a hefty full suspension mountain bike.
One of the things that we personally experience all the time is the annoying problem of where to put the parcel shelf when having to maximise the cargo area. Luckily in this car, you can raise the boot area floor and the parcel shelf can easily be stored under there - we think this is pure genius! Like we said before, it almost feels like they had cyclists in mind when building this SAV.
But what about the performance of the X3? Great driving performance is synonymous with BMW vehicles, after all. We can happily say that from a 2.0-litre TwinPower Turbo four-cylinder engine, BMW has managed to produce 252hp and 350nm of torque - what does that really translate into?
Well, it pulls hard, hard enough that you can definitely feel that a force is shoving you back into the seat when you press the go pedal. This, mated with an 8-speed Steptronic sports transmission, can give you a great balance of fun adrenaline pumping drives as well as conservative economical rides for those daily errands.
Speaking of rides, one of the things we love about the new X3 is how composed it is on the road. It is not stiff yet it is firm and really comfortable to be in. It has this floaty type of feel, but without actually having too much body roll around the corners.
It’s also pretty quiet inside with no NVH intrusion, something that we feel was really lacking previously. All in all, the X3 just feels complete and luxurious and it is hard to find any faults with it unless you’re really nit-picking extremely minor details.
Engine: 1,998 in-line 4 TwinPower Turbo, 252hp, 350nm
Fuel Economy: 7.6 L/100km
Performance: 0-100 kph in 6.3 Secs
Price: RM 313,800 w/o insurance