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STYLING | 8 out of 10
the precursor's awkwardly tall proportions have morphed into a more confident, securely planted shape
appearing much more like a baby brother to the X5 than the old model ever did
oddly awkward front fascia, as if BMW's designers sculpted the new X3 and then realized they forgot to add headlights
a more athletic stance than before
Car and Driver
More carlike and more attractive, the new X3 is longer, wider, more physically impressive, and more closely related visually to other BMW vehicles than its predecessor, not to mention the larger X5.
Rugged and blocky are out, insofar as the X3 is concerned. The sweeping character lines that distinguish its doors now wouldn't be out of place on a 3-Series wagon. The nose tapers low, gently, avoiding the tall, blocky trap set by some other compact crossovers as they attempt to ape "real SUV" cues. The tail is capped with small, LED-lit taillamps shaped like those on a 5-Series or 3-Series sedan. It's infused with more attention to detail and more attention to surfacing than before, without going overboard on functionless style, as BMW's seen in its recent past.Inside, the dash arcs to envelop controls and angles them at the driver, adding to the more sedan-like air surrounding the new SUV. BMW says it's paid special attention to upgrading the interior materials, too, and it's immediately obvious. Tough textures have gone soft, in the proper ways. A large LCD screen links into the connected-driving zeitgeist, and there's a head-up display on offer that projects all the information essential to driving in a discreet section of the windshield.
It's a calming influence at work. Whether it's the big, clear dials in the instrument pod, the simplified audio and climate switches, or even the off-centered iDrive controller, the X3's cabin seems more rested, de-cluttered, and at ease with its mission.
Pert, swoopy new lines give the latest X3 a much more invigorating look.