25 March 2005

BMW is moving to facelift the X3 4x4 in record time. Autocar’s spies have caught this undisguised prototype less than a year after the car was launched. BMW design boss Chris Bangle recently said it was time for another design ‘revolution’ at BMW. This rapid makeover suggests bosses didn’t care much for the old way of doing things.

Close examination shows that the whole of the X3’s nose moulding has been redesigned as well as the sill covers and the rear bumper. The current car (right) has a very distinctive – and many say very ugly – bumper, which stands proud from the car’s nose under the headlights.

The front bumper and grille are now one-piece and the collection of sharp edges, slots and mesh intakes have been swept away for a slicker look. The driving lights have also been repositioned.

The rather meanly styled sill covers have been replaced by a wider, more substantial moulding with a stainless tread plate fitted to its surface.

At the back, the bumper and lower tailgate cover have also been re-designed, with a more X5-like valance, and the tailgate is now flush with the bumper face. The X3 should also get improvements to the ride and it could be fitted with the twin-turbo 3.0-litre diesel engine. There’s no word on a launch date.

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