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This is the new 2025 BMW X3, and this family SUV is coming to Australia to take on the Mercedes-Benz GLC and Audi Q5

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Arguably BMW’s most important model, the X3 SUV, is moving into a new generation.

Already confirmed for Australia in two variants from launch, the 2025 BMW X3 is higher tech, higher class and larger in size. 

Headline changes for the next-generation X3 include an all-mild-hybrid drivetrain line-up, drastically redesigned interior, a tidy exterior revolution, and new features drawn from more luxurious models like the 7 and 5 Series.

For Australia, two variants will be available from launch, a base model X3 20 xDrive, and a performance-bent X3 M50 xDrive, with BMW dropping the ‘i’ (as in the current X3 20i, or models like the 330i, etc) from its naming convention. BMW now reserves the ‘i’ for its electric models, as with the iX3 sibling to the new X3, which will continue to be built alongside it.

As well as being mild-hybrid-only in Australia, the X3 is now also all-wheel-drive only, with even the entry 20i using BMW’s xDrive AWD system. While the current X3 30i is the most popular variant in Australia, BMW’s local arm says it won’t bring the 30 here for the new-gen from launch - likely to avoid long wait lists - until later into the X3’s life cycle.

Under the base model’s bonnet is a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine that makes 153kW and 330Nm, good for acceleration from 0-100km/h in 7.8 seconds according to international specifications. While Australia-specific information may change marginally, BMW claims it will use between 6.9 litres and 7.6L/100km under the combined WLTP test cycle.

2025 BMW X3
2025 BMW X3

For the X3 M50 xDrive, the engine bay houses a larger, more traditional BMW 3.0-litre turbo-petrol engine which makes 293kW and 580Nm, for an impressive 4.8-second sprint to 100km/h. 

With more power than the previous X3 (aside from the full-fat X3 M), the top-spec X3 scores a higher number on its badge than the X3 M40i did. Fuel use jumps over the X3 20 to between 7.7 and 8.3L/100km.

Both models transfer drive to all four wheels via an eight-speed Steptronic automatic, while both (as mentioned) use 48-volt technology in the form of a crankshaft-mounted starter generator.

2025 BMW X3
2025 BMW X3

Arguably the biggest changes to the X3 are, however, more visible, with the SUV’s design having undergone a fairly noticeable transformation for the new generation, and the interior taking a huge step forward in terms of materials and design.

Outside, the new X3 features cleaner (or at least less busy) styling, with designers moving away from trim elements and using subtle creases in the body panels to break up the large surface area. On that, the X3 is indeed larger now, 34mm longer and 29mm wider, though also 25mm lower than before. 

From the front, the lighting signatures are still very much recognisable as BMW with the immediately obvious kidney grille now incorporating the brand’s new 'Iconic Glow' illuminated surrounds, while the kidneys themselves are now separate from each other with a body-coloured panel between for what we’re told is the first time ever for the brand.

2025 BMW X3
2025 BMW X3

The headlights are adaptive LED units with matrix high beam, and have taken the lines that previously recalled the dual-circle traditional BMW headlights and have nestled them in together.

At the rear, a new T-shaped LED tail-light design for the X3 is clearly visible even from the side of the SUV, with the rear of the X3 itself carrying on the cleaner redesign, the registration plate is now located on the lower bumper, for example.

Between the X3 20 xDrive and the M50’s exteriors, the primary differences come down to the more aggressive trim on the M50. For example, the M50 features an M Sport package with black trim, sports-style bodywork like its bumper and a ‘spoiler’ element over the rear window plus visible exhaust exits that remain hidden for other variants.

Inside, the transformation is at its most dramatic, feeling more like stepping into a proper luxury model from just a few years ago rather than a relatively high-volume (for BMW) family SUV.

The materials and features in the new X3’s cabin have flowed down from more expensive models, with a curved unit housing the 12.3-inch driver display and 14.9-inch multimedia touchscreen, as well as BMW’s relatively new 'Interaction Bar' below for functions like climate and vents.

The iDrive multimedia itself now runs on BMW’s Operating System 9, which uses a home screen with quick-access-style tabs and elements, aiming to make it easy to find what you’re looking for on the move without being too distracting.

2025 BMW X3
2025 BMW X3

Third-party apps and streaming (even video, as long as you’re not driving) as well as games and cabin ambience settings are accessible from the screen, with additional features through the BMW ID and My BMW App.

A small compartment in the centre console of the front row, ahead of the control panel and the physical dial for the multimedia control, is a ‘jewellery box’-style compartment, neatly housing cupholders, storage and wireless charging.

Standard materials include recycled ‘Econeer’ for seat surfaces and upholstery, while synthetic Veganza leather or real Merino leather are available as options on the 20 - a key new addition however is a ‘knit-style’ optional luxury instrument panel which uses a woven-look recycled polyester for the top of the dash, wrapping around the sides of the cabin to meet the materials used for the second-row seats.

2025 BMW X3
2025 BMW X3

Touch-sensitive panels with ambient lighting elements control more of the functions like air vents now, for better or worse, while electrically adjustable seats, seat heating and three-zone automatic climate control all come standard as comfort features.

Topping off the cabin is a rather large panoramic glass sunroof, standard in the X3 though a roller shutter-blind is an optional extra.

With all this new and additional kit, pricing is sure to bump up over the outgoing X3, with BMW Australia saying the X3 20 will arrive with plenty of features to accommodate for the lack of mid-spec 30 variant from launch.

Customer deliveries are expected to arrive from the beginning of Q1 2025, though pricing will be announced with more detailed local specifications closer to launch.

Chris Thompson
Racing video games, car-spotting on road trips, and helping wash the family VL Calais Turbo as a kid were all early indicators that an interest in cars would stay present in Chris’ life, but loading up his 1990 VW Golf GTI Mk2 and moving from hometown Brisbane to work in automotive publishing in Melbourne ensured cars would be a constant. With a few years as MOTOR Magazine’s first digital journalist under his belt, followed by a stint as a staff journalist for Wheels Magazine, Chris’ career already speaks to a passion for anything with four wheels, especially the 1989 Mazda MX-5 he currently owns. From spending entire weeks dissecting the dynamic abilities of sports cars to weighing up the practical options for car buyers from all walks of life, Chris’ love for writing and talking about cars means if you’ve got a motoring question, he can give you an answer.
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