Allied to the xDrive four-wheel drive — which has a rear-biased torque split — and the eight-speed automatic replete with launch control, this will be the X3 of choice for those who enjoy a sporty streak.
Snaking through the winding roads of the town of Sintra outside Lisbon, I found the response of the engine immediate, the grip levels prodigious and body control was superb for a vehicle of this stature.
The M Performance sports exhaust adds a fruity soundtrack to the cocktail, particularly when you have dialled Sport+ into the drive mode selector. This one will take the fight directly to the Mercedes-AMG GLC43 and should make for an interesting comparison.
We then switched to the xDrive30d with its familiar 3.0l turbo diesel putting out 195kW and 620Nm. It remains a stellar performer with almost irreproachable fuel efficiency.
To put that high torque figure to the test, we drove over some gravel roads, which included steep inclines and declines where the vehicle’s hill descent control did most of the work. Granted, the vehicle performed remarkably well under these conditions, but not many X3s will probably venture off-road.
When the model is launched here towards the end of 2017, it will be available in xDrive30i (185kW and 350Nm), xDrive20d (140kW and 400Nm), xDrive30d (195kW and 620Nm) and headlined by the M40i.
Pricing will start at R684,200 rising to R991,100 and the new X3 should be on showroom floors by the end of November.