How Does The 2018 BMW X3 Stack Up Against Its Predecessor?

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It's been the better part of seven years and BMW have finally revealed an all-new X3, aimed at the likes of the Mercedes GLC, all-new Volvo XC60, Audi Q5 and Land Rover Discovery Sport.

It was about time, wasn't it? Especially with so many up-to-date rivals rounding out the premium compact SUV segment. By the way, feel free to throw the new Alfa Romeo Stelvio in there, too.

When BMW first lifted the wraps off the second-generation X3 at the 2010 Paris Auto Show, they knew it was going to make a splash thanks to its massively upgraded styling, redesigned interior and punchy yet economical power units.

With the third-generation model, the Bavarian automaker hasn't exactly gone back to the drawing board as much in terms of styling. Sure, the design is completely new compared to the old X3, but the lines remain familiar to anybody who's seen the latest X1.

Even so, you can't miss the new model's "three-dimensional" kidney grille, sharper side crease lines and overall more muscular appearance. If you opt for the M Sport package, you get an even more aggressive exterior, which to be fair was also available for the old X3, although its M-specific kit had a more angular and simplistic design.

The difference between the two models becomes even more evident once you view the new X3's cockpit layout. BMW spoke about the hexagonal forms and sloping edges within the cabin, and we can't help but agree. The new design is a lot more modern and in line with what BMW is doing with the rest of its 2017-2018 models. A close look at the center console, specifically the audio system and climate control area, reveals that the two have been inverted - you've got the CD player on top of the climate buttons, whereas before it was the other way around.

Then there's the versatile ambient lighting package available for the new X3, something that the older model lacked, as it did a 10.25" touchscreen with Gesture Control plus a whole barrage of active safety and connectivity systems. In fact, in 2014, when BMW updated the second-gen X3, it only got new chrome and high-gloss black materials for the dashboard to go with a redesigned console, new upholstery colors and an update to the iDrive system.

As for performance, the new X3 M40i flagship will skip to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.8 seconds, whereas the old flagship, the X3 xDrive35i, need 5 and a half seconds - the xDrive35d was actually a bit quicker (5.3s).

Bottom line, there's no doubt BMW have upgraded everything that needed to be upgraded so that the X3 can compete against the best in the segment again. It's no revolution, but we didn't expect one anyway, and while it's still recognizable as an X3, you can tell it apart from the old model without having to try too hard.