Those bullish Bavarians have eked out an existence for luxury four-wheel-drives similar in size, price and philosophy: the bestselling X5 and sibling X3.
X3 has matured with recent cosmetic surgery, plus new magnesium-aluminium petrol engines and improved quality.
The efficient, powerful entry-level engine is smooth and willing, especially above 2500 rpm.
Steer clear of the manual. Its heavy clutch and long-throw gearbox is more tiring than the clever automatic.
A taut ride enhances handling but delivers low-speed, rear-end thump. Its steering, balance and nimbleness plus beaut brakes are strengths.
This BMW excels on unformed roads but lacks wheel travel and off-road grip for major adventures.
There’s ample safety gear and security, however X3 falls off the pace for comfort, features and interior space.