Lower cost and lower CO2 output, but this car is still one of BMW’s top performers

BMW’s X3 medium-sized SUV is now available in rear-wheel-drive ‘sDrive18d’ guise, with a lower price, a lower CO2 output and higher fuel economy than ever before.

The new arrival gives buyers a more frugal and more accessible option if the benefits of four driven wheels don’t apply to them.

The well-known 141bhp, 266lb.ft diesel engine can be mated to a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic gearbox, with CO2 and economy figures for the manual recorded at 135g/km and 55.4mpg; 14g/km and 4mpg better than the more powerful xDrive20d.

Priced at £28,580 on the road, the entry-level sDrive18d undercuts the existing range by nearly £3,000.

It will slot into the base of the range but will conform to its predefined norms, being made available in SE and M Sport trim lines. Apart from Hill Descent Control, which is only available for four-wheel-drive X3 models, the new model matches the xDrive20d’s kit list in all areas.

SE models feature engine stop-start technology, Drive Performance Control, 17in alloy wheels, Nevada leather upholstery and BMW iDrive with a 6.5in colour screen.

M Sport models have additions such as 18in alloy wheels, M Sport bodywork, sports seats and sports suspension.

The sDrive18d is the fourth diesel model in the X3 range, alongside the xDrive20d, 30d and 35d.