The BMW X3 is larger than its 2004 predecessor and blends in between the BMW X1 and the BMW X5 series. The vehicle offers two engine variants: the four-cylinder diesel in the new BMW X3 xDrive20d with a maximum output of 135 kW/184 bhp and the new BMW X3 xDrive35i, which is powered by a straight-six petrol engine with a maximum output of 225 kW/306 bhp. Along with the BMW X5 and the BMW X6, the new BMW X3 is produced at the BMW plant in Spartanburg, United States.

The design of the new BMW X3 conveys elegance, agility and ruggedness. Up front, the forward-slanting BMW kidney grille and large headlight assembly combine with a powerful-looking front apron and hood boasting six contour lines sweeping down to meet at the kidney grill, giving the X3 a bold presence. The twin round headlights combined with the round fog lamps form the triangular light pattern that is characteristic of BMW SAV design. The upper edge of the headlight assembly sports an accentuating chrome trim, creating the focused design typical of BMW vehicles. BMW’s signature “Corona Rings” are again illuminated to function as the daytime running lights. When equipped with the optional Xenon headlights, the Corona Rings and daytime running lights are illuminated by bright white LEDs.

The profile of the new BMW X3 is also characterized by a unique interpretation of typical BMW X design features. Powerfully flared wheel arches and the short front and rear overhangs emphasize the robust character of a BMW Sports Activity Vehicle. The dynamic appearance of the silhouette is accentuated by three characteristic lines. The new BMW X3’s brand-typical upper contour line at door handle level rises steeply at first within the front wheel arch area, then flows gently to the rear. Two additional subtle lines follow this contour line above the wheel arches.

The rear is characterized by horizontal lines, underlining the new BMW X3’s robust character. Precise lines and expressively modeled surfaces create attractive light and shadow effects. The taillights, which are located far to the outside, have a distinctive T-shape that is characteristic of the BMW X3. LED light bars create a distinctive BMW night-time design signature.

Dimensionally, compared to its predecessor the new X3 is a half-inch (12mm) taller, 3.36-inches (83mm) longer, 1.1-inches (28mm) wider, and features a half-inch (12mm) more ground clearance. It rides on a wheelbase which is 0.6-inches (15mm) longer, at 110.6 inches (2810mm).

A generous and versatile spatial concept, high-grade materials and a characteristic three-dimensional surface design provide the interior of the new BMW X3 with a modern, premium ambience and intelligent functionality. The horizontal lines of the instrument panel accentuate the width of the interior. The driver orientated cockpit, a hallmark of BMW design, is emphasized by the asymmetrically designed center console. The Central Display of the optional navigation system with fourth generation BMW iDrive is harmoniously integrated into the instrument panel. The system features in 8.8-inch high-resolution trans-reflective screen that is the largest on-board monitor in its vehicle segment. Throughout the vehicle, new BMW X3 has a large number of storage compartments, trays and cup holders.

The raised seating position facilitates egress and ingress, while providing outstanding outward visibility. The three rear seats offer outstanding comfort for travelling long distances and significantly more leg and elbow room than its predecessor. With EU-measured cargo volume between 19 and 56.6 cu.ft. (550 and 1,600 liters), the luggage compartment of the new BMW X3 is the largest in its segment. At the same time, the versatility with which available space can be adapted to suit each personal requirement is also unrivalled. The rear seat backrests can be split at a ratio 60 : 40 and can be folded down either individually or together. The optional rear seats with ski pass-through has three segments of 40 : 20 : 40 can be folded down individually or in combination making it possible to adapt the luggage compartment in varying degrees according to need.

For the US, the entry-level X3 xDrive28i will feature BMW’s award-winning magnesium/aluminum 3.0-liter inline-6. In 2006 and 2007, the “N52” was awarded the distinction of being one of Wards 10 Best Engines of the Year. Its magnesium/aluminum construction, Valvetronic variable valve lift and Double-VANOS are features found only on BMW engines, and it is currently the lightest six cylinder engine for its size class in the world. The N52 in the X3 is rated at 240 horsepower at 6,600 rpm and 230 lb-ft of torque between 2,600 and 3,000 rpm.

That’s good enough to accelerate from 0 -60 mph in 6.7 seconds (preliminary). That’s nearly a half-second quicker than the previous X3 xDrive30i equipped with an automatic transmission.