BMW has announced its new X3 sports activity vehicle and it’s certainly full of goodies – including an eight-speed automatic transmission. All that BMW goodness is worth taking a look at although some people may find the idea of an American built Bavarian classic a bit hard to get their head around.
Engine and transmission
If you’re greedy and you want elegance, performance and fuel economy in something a little bigger than a car then it looks as though the BMW X3 is the vehicle that’s going to give you what you want.
The new BMW X3 xDrive20d features a straight four-cylinder turbo-charged 2.0-litre diesel with Common Rail direct injection. Power output is 135kW at 4,000 rpm and maximum torque of 380Nm is achieved between 1750 rpm and 2750 rpm. 0 to 100km/h can be done in 8.5 seconds and the top speed is 210 km/h. And you get all that for a combined consumption figure of just 5.6L/100km.
Standard transmission for the xDrive20d is a six-speed manual gearbox while an eight-speed automatic transmission is available as an option.
The new BMW X3 xDrive35i is fitted with a turbo-charged direct injection straight six-cylinder 3.0-litre petrol engine that features BMW’s Valvetronic system. Power output is 225kW at 5,800 rpm and maximum torque of 400Nm is available between 1200 rpm and 5000 rpm. 0 to 100km/h can be done in 5.7 seconds and top speed is 245km/h. Average fuel consumption is a sweet 8.8L/100km.
A sports automatic transmission with shift paddles on the steering wheel is available as an option on the xDrive35i.
Auto Start Stop is standard on both the manual and automatic versions of both the diesel and petrol variants.
Ride and handling
The new BMW X3 comes with permanent four-wheel drive technology as standard. The electronic control unit for the four-wheel drive is interlinked with the Dynamic Stability Control and this makes adjustments for oversteer or understeer.
The suspension on the new X3 has been completely redesigned with a double-joint spring-strut axle at the front and five-link axle at the rear as well as a 92mm wider track than the previous X3.
Electronic Power Steering is now standard on all X3 variants while sports steering is an option on both variants.
Dynamic Damper control is another option for the new X3. If this option is fitted electronically controlled dampers adapt to the road surface conditions and the driver’s style of driving. The driver can influence the characteristics of the damper control by means of a button on the dash that allows the driver to choose between normal, sport and sport plus modes
BMW describes the flowing lines of the new X3 as “urban elegance” and you would have to agree … this is a very elegant looking vehicle but with 212mm of ground clearance it’s also a vehicle that will be able to handle some quite rough off-road conditions.
Of course the body incorporates all the design features that you would expect to see on a BMW and that means that you’re not going to mistake the new BMW X3 for anything other than a BMW.
An image is worth a thousand words when it comes to describing the dash on the new X3 so check the photo.
The raised seating position for the driver and front passenger means that slipping into and out of the X3 is going to be easy and the driver is going to get a good view of world around him.
The rear seats have a 40:20:40 split folding capability that offers a variety of seating and luggage arrangements. With all rear seats in the upright position the X3 has 550 litres of luggage space and 1600 litres of luggage space with all three rear seats folded down.
Standard features on the new BMW X3 include automatic climate control, heated external mirrors, leather-clad steering wheel, an audio system that includes MP3 and AUX capability, smart key and onboard computer.
Options include dual-zone climate control, rain sensor and automatic headlight control, automatic dimming interior and exterior mirrors, upgraded audio systems, upgraded navigation system, automatic tailgate operation and an electrically operated sunroof.
Safety features on the second generation BMW X3 include large progressive crumple zones to absorb energy in case of an impact, six airbags, active headrests, three-point seat belts for all occupants and belt latch tensioners.
The X3 is also equipped with dynamic brake lights that warn drivers who might be traveling behind of an emergency braking situation and a flat tyre indicator while the six-cylinder version is also fitted with run-flat tyres.
All that adds up to a vehicle that many of us would love to drive but whether we could afford to remains to be seen. Australian prices will be announced closer to its Australian launch.
And a BMW built in Spartanburg, South Carolina? I’m still trying to get my head around that one.