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Think SUV and BMW is not the first manufacturer that comes to mind. The Bavarian carmaker is best known for its powerful sedans that which are fun to drive on the road and sometimes even on the track.
With its X Series of SUVs, BMW looks to bring sheer driving pleasure to those who prefer going off-road. So how does the BMW X3, the midsize X SUV, deal with the rough stuff?
Powering the BMW X3 xDrive 20d xLine (which we drove) is a turbocharged 2.0-litre diesel engine producing 187bhp and 400Nm of torque. Transmitting the power and torque to all four wheels is an 8-speed automatic gearbox and BMW's xDrive all-wheel drive system.
BMW xDrive under normal driving conditions allows the X3 to remain true to the rear-biased BMW philosophy. xDrive in optimal conditions sends 40 percent of the drive to the front and 60 percent to the rear axle.
The multi-plate clutch system allows the X3 to vary power between the front and back axles. When the ABS and Stability Control detect wheel slip, xDrive reacts in a tenth of a second to redistribute power to the axle with the most grip. In some cases, it can even send all the drive to one axle.
xDrive detects terrain and reacts accordingly unlike other systems. This allows the driver to focus on steering and throttle inputs instead of taking time to inform the system what terrain the SUV is on.
In boggy and slushy conditions where grip levels were low, the torque transfer between axles took just a few milliseconds. This allowed the X3 to slip in and out of muddy and wet terrain without issues.
The X3 had two more electronic helpers to fall back on when the going got really tough with a series of inclines and descents. Going up a steep climb, fully depressing the brake pedal fully with Hill Ascent Control engaged to bring the X3 to a halt. The SUV holds itself in place and doesn't roll back allowing the driver enough time to accelerate out.
Coming down extreme steep slopes, the X3 relies on Hill Descent Control (HDC) to keep it stable. The system limits the speed of the X3 to single digit figures and brakes each wheel separately. Combined with the high ground clearance (212mm) and the short overhangs HDC ensures that X3 defies gravity and avoids a trip to the repair shop.
Even when the ground rose on one side to unbearably steep angles (28 degrees) the X3's all-wheel drive system soldiered on. Sending power to whichever wheel had the best grip, the X3 drove through even when the world inside went sideways.
Dennis James Thinks!
The BMW X3 is an extremely capable SUV that doesn't mind roughing it out in the great outdoors thanks to its intuitive xDrive all-wheel drive system.
With prices starting at Rs 48.85 lakh, the BMW X3 is the perfect SUV for the BMW fan who doesn't mind going off the road to derive Sheer Driving Pleasure.