Larger BMW X3 pounds round the Nurburgring
18 August 2009

More spy pictures of the BMW X3 testing at Germany’s Nurburgring have emerged.

The pictures clearly show that the car has similar proportions to a Range Rover Sport, although sources say it will be slightly smaller, and that it is far bulkier than the current X3.

See the BMW X3 spy picture gallery

The new X1 will in effect replace the current X3, allowing the next-generation model to move up a segment.

The pictures also show that the controversial and slightly awkward “flame surfacing” styling of the old X3 has gone, replaced with more conservative bodywork.

The car, codenamed F25, is understood to be retaining largely road car mechanicals instead of heavy-duty SUV hardware, with the focus on driving dynamics.

BMW has always been serious about making its SUVs handle like the rest of the range on asphalt and these shots show how much emphasis is being put on roadholding.

The next 3-series is lending its architecture to the X3, which will only be available with four-wheel drive. Its wheelbase will be around 2900mm.

Our Verdict

BMW X3

The BMW X3 is both frugal and rewarding to drive, a rare and clever technical achievement

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The X3 is expected to be slightly more aerodynamic than the previous model, with a number of clever aero tweaks to the underside of the car, and flaps and intakes to direct air flow.

The engines on offer will range from a 175bhp 2.0d to the 3.0si petrol with 305bhp. The new X3 is expected to arrive in 2011.

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Our Verdict

BMW X3

The BMW X3 is both frugal and rewarding to drive, a rare and clever technical achievement

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week