The BMW X3 continues, in its current generation, to go stray away from the rugged, outdoorsy look--instead following one that's more like a tall sport wagon.
With its last complete redesign in 2011, BMW gave this model more length, width, and physical presence--along with more visually in common with the larger X5. The combination of the pert, sport-wagon profile, the graceful, the swooping beltline crease, the tapered nose, and the chiseled lines next to the hood that actually serve to lower the beltline visually, together adds up to the opposite of a rugged-SUV look.
Anyone who's been in a BMW vehicle in recent years will find the instrument panel familiar. The dash arcs to envelop controls and angles them at the driver, adding to the more sedan-like air surrounding the new SUV. But perhaps more importantly is that it's fitted completely with soft-touch surfaces; everything from the middle of the doors on up is soft to the touch and nicely grained.
The way it all comes together is not just calming, but de-cluttered an at ease with its mission. Audio and climate controls are simplified, with the off-centered iDrive controller and large, wide LCD screen further improved this year with version 4.2.