Say goodbye to the SAV – and hello to the proper SUV, is apparently what BMW is telling us with the introduction of the latest generation X3, produced as always at the Spartanburg plant in California.
Having reached its third generation, the new X3 is coming to life with an evolutionary design and small increases in terms of size – in a bid to make room for the upcoming addition of the X2 coupe-SUV to the family. Thanks to the transition to a whole new architecture, BMW also made improvements in the cabin, freeing up more space thanks to the increase in wheelbase size of 2.2 inches (5.5 centimeters). The X3 styling is for connoisseurs – otherwise people might easily mistake it for the predecessor or just call it a deeper facelift. It does come with a more dynamic appearance as well as adaptive full-LED lights – and marks the introduction of the so-called 3D front grille on the X range. More importantly, BMW has achieved an ideal 50:50 weight distribution, as well as a “meticulously honed chassis” – which corroborated with the rear-biased xDrive will make the X3 feel even more agile than before.
The model’s latest dynamic stability control system setup will be capable of automatically adjusting the power split between all wheels to make sure it handles on slippery surfaces. The interior is just as familiar, albeit now with a three-zone climate control system and individually adjustable angle for the rear 40:20:40 split/folding rear seats. The U.S.-spec X3 will be offered in xDrive30i and M40i versions, the first coming with a turbocharged 2.0-liter gasoline engine delivering 248 horsepower (up by 8 hp) and 258 pound-feet of torque. For the first time the X3 gains an M Performance version, using the 3.0-liter inline-six engine good for 355 hp and 369 lb-ft of twist. That’ll suffice to reach 62 mph in just 4.6 seconds and top out at 155 mph (250 kph). Good figures, which are also aided by the new lightweight structure that drops up to 55 kg (121 pounds), depending on the engine. In Europe, more choices will be available – the X3 2.0i and 2.0d, both with AWD or rear wheel drive, as well as the aforementioned xDrive 30i and xDrive M40i joined by a diesel equivalent 30d.