Currently reading: Paris motor show 2010: BMW X3
Diesel version of BMW's new SUV tops 50mpg to beat Audi rival; on sale next January
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3 mins read
30 September 2010

BMW has unveiled the second-generation X3 model at the Paris motor show.

It will be among the most economical and efficient mid-sized off-roaders on sale when it reaches the UK in January, the company claims.

See official pics of the new BMW X3 - plus the pics from the Paris motor show

The entry-level 181bhp, 2.0-litre manual X3 xDrive20d will offer combined economy of 50.4mpg and CO2 emissions of 149g/km. That trumps the Audi Q5 2.0 TDI 170 by 4.8mpg and 14g/km.

Set to be unveiled at the Paris motor show in October, the new X3 has been thoroughly re-engineered inside and out. But, once again, it is the new off-roader’s styling that’s sure to stir controversy.

Read Autocar's development drive of the new BMW X3

The X3’s exterior blends styling elements from the smaller X1 and larger X5 in a five-door body that has a familiar silhouette and, significantly, larger rear door apertures than the outgoing model for easier access.

The new off-roader has grown, but not by as much as was expected after the introduction of the more affordable X1. Length is up by 78mm to 4648mm, width decreases by an incremental 4mm at 1855mm and height rises by 14mm at 1675mm.

The wheelbase has also grown by 15mm to 2810mm, providing the basis for a 70-litre increase in luggage capacity to 550 litres.

Inside, there’s a new dashboard, multi-function steering wheel, revised seats and more elegant trims — all at a quality level on a par with the 3-series. BMW hopes that this will silence critics of the outgoing X3’s dowdy interior. Equipment levels have been improved, although UK pricing has yet to be fixed.

As well as the 181bhp 2.0-litre, four-cylinder diesel in the xDrive20d, BMW will introduce the new X3 with a 302bhp, 3.0-litre, turbocharged straight six petrol in a more luxurious xDrive35i range-topper.

The diesel will come with the choice of either a standard six-speed manual gearbox or an optional ZF-engineered eight-speed automatic. The 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 gearboxes offer a standard stop-start function and operate in combination with a brake energy recuperation system. Further efficiency savings are made through a new electric power steering system.

Further X3 models are planned for the UK, including a 254bhp 3.0-litre xDrive28i petrol and a 201bhp xDrive23d that has a twin-turbocharged, four-cylinder diesel. But they are unlikely to go on sale until at least this time next year.

As with today’s X3, the new model will be available exclusively with four-wheel drive. No rear-wheel-drive version is planned for the UK, although BMW is still considering introducing such a model in North America.

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Chassis developments for the new off-roader include new double wishbone front suspension and variable damping that incorporates BMW’s Dynamic Control system, which also influences the throttle, engine, steering and dynamic stability control mapping.

Production of the new X3 will take place at BMW’s Spartanburg facility in North America alongside the X5 and X6. By contrast, the first-generation X3 was produced at Magna in Graz, Austria — the same factory BMW has tapped to turn out the new Mini Countryman.

Greg Kable

See all the latest BMW X3 reviews, news and video

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ej03 1 October 2010

Re: New BMW X3 revealed

Straight Six Man wrote:
BMW, please, kill off the X range in its entirety - except perhaps the X1
I think perhaps everything but the X5.. that is a leader in many ways in this segment, the X3 I agree, the X6 well I think thats a bit of a laugh, although for some reason I find myself liking it and the X1 I thinks needs to be killed off..its not really good looking, the interior after my test drive is low rent and not what I expected, and to be honest the 2litre diesel engine I drove was as refined as I find it is in my 320d coupe.. So after going off on a bit of a tangent, kill them all off apart from perhaps the X5..especially the xdrive40d you can't argue with that in terms of performance/emissions/economy in competition with the 4.2tdi Q7/ML420 cdi/Range Rover Sport 3.6 V8 tdi

J400uk 30 September 2010

Re: New BMW X3 revealed

I have to say I'm getting somewhat bored of German car design, it seems to be current Audi, BMW and VW policy to just make everything a smaller/ bigger version of the other models with no unique design features etc. This X3 although smart enough looks exactly like an X5 thats been reduced by about 15%. I also think they are going to have trouble marketing the X1, X3, X5 and X6 all alongside each other as there's now quite a bit of cross over between each of them, perhaps sticking to just the X3 and X5 would have been better. Never mind, I'm sure it will drive brilliantly and offer best in class performance/ economy etc...

artov 26 September 2010

Re: New BMW X3 revealed

Squonk61 wrote:

Which, judging from what is reported elsewhere, you will struggle to acheive in the real world.

In fairness, that's not the preserve of BMW but I always seem to be reading something or other where somebody is complaing that they cannot get even close to official figures in their nice new 1/3/5/whatever.

Yes, yes, I know, official MPG tests, in a lab, individual owner's driving styles etc. but come on...

I agree figures are often impossible to recreate in real world driving. However I did have a 2.0 diesel X3 which returned 40mpg however I drove it so I would guess that this X3 may well return 50. Good spec, good figures and despite some ridiculous comments on here looks good. The Q5 looks prettier but is beaten hands down on mpg and CO2 figures. May well trade in my Audi in a year or two.