| 14.6°C Dublin

No down side to downsizing with BMW X3, writes Ian Mallon

LAST week a girl called Holly, who was previously known best for having an infamous granny, was given the use of a free SEAT.

All little Holly had to do was, smile and say things like: 'Winning was actually like a dream' and 'They said my name and confetti guns exploded.'

Holly, who is the granddaughter of the now late Terry Keane - the married mistress of Charlie Haughey -- bagged herself the use of a free SEAT Leon for becoming the new Ms Ireland.

Meanwhile, across town and at the higher end of the market a lucky girl called Amy was also handed the keys to a brand new car -- in this case a Range Rover.


Unlike Holly though, Amy didn't have to parade around in her smalls with competitors who extolled the virtues of the small and fluffy animal kingdom, or how they planned to save the rain forests, poor children and endangered chipmonks.

And neither did Mrs Brian O'Driscoll have to make do with a 'mere' Leon, not that there's anything wrong with that.

No, Amy picked up a Range Rover Evogue and proved that it's far better to be Mrs Ireland than Ms Ireland.

Maybe it's the time of the year, or maybe car brands are just that bit more desperate to get noticed these days, which is good news for all of us who benefit from the world of complimentary motoring.

Now, as a member of the press there is a reason I get free cars and that is to cast a cold eye over every crease and crevice.

But what happens when you get a car that is actually perfect in every way?

Sometimes such goodies do come my way and that's what happened this week when I was armed to the teeth with the delicious BMW X3.

I first came across the X3 in Atlanta last year at the international launch and time has only deepened my affection for the 'mini-SUV'.

Actually, there is nothing mini about the X3, just because it ain't as big as the X5 doesn't make it a small thing?

At 6"6' Wladamir Klitschko is two inches shorter than his brother Vitali, but does that make him small?

Not when you consider this is the latest X3 to be introduced to the Irish market following on the wheels of the 2.0 litre version last year.

And as you would expect, the 3.0 litre bag is even better, if big is your thing and the BMW X3 XDrive 3.0d is indeed a biggie.

For a start it knocks out a juicy 258hp and moving from stop to 100kph in six seconds.


It appeared to lag momentarily on take-off but once she unwound it kicked on like a mule.

This X3 came with an array of delicious toys including three on-board cameras for easy, stress-free parking, sports seats, chrome plated door sills, chunky M Sport multi-function steering wheel and the most beautiful 18 inch alloys ever to grace a modern day SUV.

It also comes at a juicy price, which starts at €57,710.