On Monday, BMW unveiled the all-new 2018 X3 SUV at its plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
Since its introduction in 2003, the X3 has developed into one of BMW’s most important models. Now BMW has rearmed with a new third-generation X3.
Success for a German luxury brand once required a world-class compact sedan. Fortunately for BMW, the 3 Series has been the gold standard in a category for the better part of four decades.
But things have changed. The entry point into German luxury for most buyers is no longer through sedans, but compact SUVs. This is reflected in the fact that sales of the 3 Series have been in persistent decline for years while the X3 has experienced double-digit growth, even though the second-generation model has been around for about a decade – hence the importance of having an adequate rival to Audi’s new Q5, Mercedes’ GLC, and Porsche’s Macan.
So what’s new with the X3?
First, the third-generation model gets all-new sheet metal with same design language as the smaller X1 and larger X5. BMW has also improved the X3’s aerodynamic properties with better-regulated air flow around the car using active grille shutters, underbody cladding, and a rear spoiler.
Underneath the X3’s skin, the chassis has been reengineered to reduce unsprung mass, and its wheelbase has been extended to reach perfect 50-50 weight distribution.
Power for the base X3 will come from a 248-horsepower, 2.0-liter TwinPower turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine. Mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, the X3 can make the sprint to 60 mph from a standstill in six seconds and reach a top speed of 130, BMW says.
Higher-grade X3s can opt for a 3.0-liter, 335-horsepower turbocharged inline six-cylinder unit. In performance “M” spec, the new X3 can make the 0-60 mph run in 4.6 seconds and hit a top speed of 155 mph, BMW says.
Inside the cabin, the X3 gets the latest goodies from BMW’s high-tech bag of tricks, including a larger, full-color head-up display, as well as a 10.25-inch touchscreen running the latest version of BMW’s iDrive infotainment system.
In addition, the X3 gets BMW’s gesture-control technology that allows passengers to answer phone calls and adjust the volume of the radio with a wave of the hand or a twirl of the finger.
The new X3 will also receive BMW’s latest driver-assistance and crash-prevention technology, including adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, cross-traffic alert, and frontal collision mitigation.
Official pricing for the 2018 BMW X3 will be announced later. The third generation is expected to hit US showrooms in November.