The second generation BMW X3 is months away from the moment will unveil itself at the Detroit Auto Show. In the years since BMW introduced the premium compact Sports Activity Vehicle -X3-, lots of competition has joined the segment. Learning from BMW’s success or mistakes, luxury carmakers like Infiniti, Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Acura, have brought fierce competitors to the X3.
With the introduction of the new BMW X1, the X3 loses its status of a “small SUV”. To overcome this perception, its successor will be positioned a notch above the current model. In an effort to compete against the Audi Q5 and Mercedes GLK, the new generation X3 will increase in size. Based on the 3 Series platform, the X3 measures 15.15 feet in length, two inches longer than the current model. The 2011 BMW X3 will have a roof line slightly lower than the current model and will follow the X5’s steps by getting more round corners and a sportier look.
Being wider and higher than the X1, the interior of the new X3 has been entirely rebuilt, offering increased passenger space. The interior design features high quality materials and a range of equipment not available in the X1: Night Vision Camera and Head-Up Display.
Compared to the X1 which focuses on four-cylinder bangers, the X3 retains access to most of the six-cylinder powerplants available, both gasoline and diesel. We expect to see an entry level xDrive30d mode with 245 horsepower and a higher-end unit, xDrive35d with 306 horsepower. For the European market, smaller four-cylinder engines will be offered, similar to the ones in the X1: 20d and 23d.
The future X3 is moving its production from the Magna factories in Graz, Austria, to the U.S soil at the Spartanburg plant. Since United States is the largest market for BMW SAVs, the move will reduce costs and exchange rates fluctuations will not be a disadvantage anymore.
As we mentioned earlier, expect to see the new BMW X3 at the Detroit Auto Show in January 2010.