The overall design hasn’t changed much compared with the previous X3, but that’s no real issue because it’s a carefully thought-out cabin design with lots of space and a vast suite of driver-facing controls. Switchgear is typically BMW, meaning it lacks some of the sparkle you find in some Mercedes products, but it’s still high quality and stylish in appearance.
Updated iDrive multimedia system
The interior now features tech like the optional 10.25-inch iDrive infotainment system. This features multiple control methods, including its touchscreen, a rotary touchpad by the gearlever, voice control and even gesture control for a few of its functions.
The idea behind this is to offer the driver choice as to which way they interact with the car, but we found the rotary touchpad was by far the most intuitive method. With only a few minutes’ practice you’ll be using it without thinking about how it works, and that’s very impressive.
Its graphics and processor are clearly at the higher end of the market too, with absolutely no latency when zooming in and out on the navigation mapping – something that’s quite unusual at time of publication.
Strong standard specification
A new multifunction leather steering wheel comes as standard with softer hide, and there’s loads of extra areas of storage space such as larger door bins. Three-zone climate control and ambient lighting are standard across the range, adding extra value. Options including a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and full-colour head-up display. We've currently only had the chance to drive top-spec cars, so it'll be interesting to see how quality filters down to the rest of the range.
Initial impressions are that it's a solidly built machine with comfortable, highly adjustable seats. We’d strongly advise you specify the optional £110 acoustic windows. These work with the standard acoustic windscreen to drown out almost all wind noise at motorway speeds, and also supresses much of the diesel engines’ rattle.
Road noise is an unavoidable hindrance, however, thanks to the huge wheels on the cars we’ve tested. Another option we’ve been impressed with is the adaptive suspension. Unfortunately we’ve yet to sample a standard set-up, but the Comfort and Sport settings for the dampers offer a fine contrast between a softer ride for everyday driving and a firmer set-up for sportier situations. The former is still a little on the bumpy side over rough tarmac, however – this is still a BMW and that means we can’t expect the sort of pillow-soft ride you’ll find on a Volvo XC60 on its optional air springs.