So what is new with the new but very similar X3? It now boasts and extra 78mm in length (now 4648mm). It is slightly narrower, which is surprising (4mm less and now 1855mm) and 14mm taller at 1675mm. It also sports a 15mm longer wheelbase (now 2810). The rear door apertures are larger so that big people have easier access (I donít know how bad the rear access could be on the previous as the X3 wasnít exactly that tiny in the first place) and the boot, has a 70liter increase in capacity (550liters).
The interior now boasts a new dashboard, multi-function steering wheel, new seats and better trim. According to BMW, it will be on par with the BMW 3 series and they also hope that the interior will not be criticized like the earlier model. Actually, BMW needs to buck up in the interiors of their cars. Two weeks ago I sat in an X1 and i was pretty appalled by the very noticeable lack of quality in the materials used.
This second generation X3 will have a newly designed double wishbone front suspension and variable damping absorbers. The suspension system will have the BMW Dynamic Control System which also controls the throttle response, engine mapping (for power or economy) and steering response.
The new X3 will be exclusively four wheel drive, and the entry-level 181bhp, 2.0-litre manual X3 xDrive20d will offer combined economy of 50.4mpg and CO2 emissions of 149g/km. BMW will also introduce the new X3 with a 302bhp, 3.0-litre, turbocharged straight six petrol in the range topper, the X3 xDrive35i. The diesel will come standard six-speed manual gearbox or an optional ZF-engineered eight-speed automatic. The 3.0 turbo xDrive35i will get the auto as standard, allowing it to hit 62mph in 5.7sec and a 152mph top speed. It will also return a claimed 32.1mpg and emit 204g/km of CO2. Both X3s will have standard stop-start function and operate in combination with a brake energy recuperation system. The X3 will also have a new electric power steering system for extra fuel saving. This feature may rob the X3 of steering feel as most electric steering somehow does this.
The X3 should be available by the first quarter of 2011 in all major markets.