Eric's Autos: 2018 BMW X3
Equipped with the four-cylinder, the X3 can get from zero to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds, a very quick time for the class. Equipped with the 3.0-liter six-cylinder, the X3 can get to 60 in in 4.4 seconds -- an extremely quick time, period.
On the Road
The X3's charm is that it drives very much like a car -- and not just any car but a sports car. This despite the four doors (five if you count the hatch out back) and the 8 inches of ground clearance -- which, along with the AWD, makes the X3 a sled dog in the event of snow.
The main reason for the X3s sports car-ness is the fact that it is built on the rear-drive layout mentioned up above, just like real sports cars always are. Its engine and transmission are not mounted sideways in the engine bay but front to back -- the weight is more evenly distributed compared with the nose-heavy front-wheel-drive layout.
Some of this heaviness is compensated for in the front-drive car by the addition of AWD, which adds both a rear axle and delivers power to the rear axle. Not all the weight of the drivetrain is up front -- and not all the engine's power is sent through the front wheels. But it's not the ideal blueprint for optimal feel during acceleration -- and balance during cornering.
At the Curb
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The styling -- and stance -- of the redesigned 2018 are only slightly different, not enough that you'd notice at a glance unless someone pointed out the tweaks here and there compared with last year's.
The noticeable changes include more of the already generous headroom for the driver and front-seat passenger the X3 has always had: 41.4 inches now. This is an almost unbelievable 3.6 inches more headroom up front than in the X3's most direct rival, the Mercedes-Benz GLC 300. Weirdly, the Benz has more headroom for back-seat passengers -- 38.5 inches versus 37.8 up front -- but in either row, there is a lot less headspace in the Mercedes than in the BMW.
Another dimensional advantage the BMW has over the Benz is cargo room. There's 28.7 cubic feet of capacity behind the back seats in the X3 and a total of 62.7 with them folded.
The GLC has 19.4 cubic feet behind its second row and 56.5 cubic feet if you fold it down.