The X3's design is classically BMW, with references of X1 and X5. Unlike its predecessor, new X3 rides on a dedicated platform and also is more imposing because is 83 mm longer, 28 mm wider, and with 12 mm more ground clearance.
Two models are available – the X3 xDrive20d and the X3 xDrive35i. The diesel X3 has a maximum power output of 135 kW at 4 000 r/min and 380 N.m torque between 750 and 2 750 r/min. The flagship X3 xDrive35i features BMW’s 3,0-litre N55 of the xDrive35i with twin-scroll turbo technology, direct fuel injection and Valvetronic. The maximum power output of 225 kW is delivered at 5 800 r/min. This model has 400 N.m that is available from 1 200 r/min.
All four wheels are powered via BMW's new eight-speed transmission and xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive. Additional Efficient Dynamics components include brake energy regeneration, electric power steering, a lightweight body construction and tires with a low rolling resistance.
The exterior style is accentuated by various contour lines that vary the X3's look under different light and when viewed from different angles. The profile is characterized by minimal front and rear overhangs, while at the rear LED light bars in the tail lamps provide the X3 with a different appearance in the dark. Despite the SAV’s compact appearance new X3 is more spacious in comparison with its predecessor
While the appearance of its interior is typically functional, the X3 has a number of storage compartments, trays and cup holders for the storing of all manner of goods. BMW’s iDrive controller has also been invited aboard, residing on the centre console.
Both for the xDrive20d and 35i notable standard features are auto aircon and MP3-enabled infotainment. Powered front seats are paid extra. Cabin safety is performed by two front airbags and curtain airbags for the first and second-row passengers.
BMW offers two optional navigation systems, an entry-level unit and a high-end unit with DVD drive and eight GB of disc space. Or a combination of the premium navigation system and BMW’s internet integration (which pairs with the latest iPhone4 or Blackberry smart phones) can be chosen
Strange, but some useful features are not even options - lane departure warning, blind-spot warning or brake-active cruise control.
Although the new X3’s luggage capacity is 80 liters more (550 liters with the second-row seats in use, 1600-litres with it folded forward) there is the lack of a deployable cargo tray or wet/dry compartment.
The X3's usage characteristics can be changed via the optional Driving Dynamics Control selector on the centre console, which allows the driver to tailor various settings according to outdoor conditions or preference. Three settings, Normal, Sport and Sport Plus, modify shock absorber firmness, throttle response, transmission shift characteristics, level of power steering assistance and the electronic stability program.
The new BMW X3 will be produced at the Spartanburg plant in South Carolina, together with X5 and X6.