Spied: 2011 BMW X3 – Bigger, boxier?

Spy Photos | May 9th, 2010 by 16
F25 x3

By the end of this month, BMW will unveil the second generation of their mid-compact Sports Activity Vehicle: BMW X3. Not an exciting model when …

By the end of this month, BMW will unveil the second generation of their mid-compact Sports Activity Vehicle: BMW X3. Not an exciting model when compared to the recently unveiled 5 Series or Gran Coupe Concept, but the X3 continues to play an important role in BMW’s strategy and plans for the premium compact SUV/SAV market.

In 2004, U.S. sales accounted for 34,604 units, but in the following years X3 sales have dropped to a fraction of that. While the recession can easily be blamed for last year’s dismal sales performance (just 6,067 X3s were sold in the U.S. last year), even 2008 proved problematic; as BMW struggled to move just 17,622 of the entry level SUVs into garages across America.

With new competition from Audi Q5 and the latest Mercedes GLK, BMW needs a winner on their hands, especially a strong contender that cannot only retain its current customers, but more important, gain new ones.

Spied: 2011 BMW X3   Bigger, boxier?

The mid Premium SAV has recently entered the final evaluation phase and several prototypes are being tested on U.S. soil. While the first generation X3 was assembled in Austria by Magna Steyr automaker, the new F25 model joins the X-family at their Spartanburg plant in South Carolina where the spy photo above was snapped.

The F25 X3 also previews the next generation 3 Series platform, and in the X3, it measures 15.15 feet in length, two inches longer than the current model.

Design wise, the 2011 BMW X3 was rumored to be moving from the “boxy” shape and sharp corners to more rounded design lines and a sleeker look. Judging by this spy photo, the car still seems to maintain some of these “boxy” lines, but it brings the F25 closer to the first generation X3.

The “kicked-up” window line that first saw the daylight in the X3 will be again evident and it will be seen as an X3 characteristic, a design element that will be associated with the model.

While sitting higher than the X1, the new X3 seems to have inherited some of the features from the new entry-level compact SAV, mostly around the front-fascia.

For the North American market, BMW will bring the xDrive28i and xDrive35i models. A diesel model, xDrive35d, is rumored to appear in the future as well.

European sales begin late this year and the 2011 X3 will make its official debut at the Paris Motor Show in October.

[Photo Source: Palbay for Germancarforum ]

  • Bryce

    I just hope the headlights turn out better than all of the renderings that keep coming out.

  • paul

    i just hope it isnt the crap it used to be…worst bmw ever

    • okeribok

      Dunno about “worst”, but the X3 is probably the ugliest BMW ever.

  • Giom

    Judging by the guy sitting inside, the X3 has grown quite a bit.

    But I too, was hoping for a bigger depature from the old design. Then again, it still is coverd by camo, so I’ll wait…

    • Bryce

      Agreed, it does look bigger. If it has a sporty front end or looks like an enlarged 1 series then I’ll be in the market for one. If it looks like the old X3, then I’ll probably look elsewhere.

  • viper

    looks crappy , either that guy is super tiny and small inside or the car is much bigger than current. nevermind , I will never buy x3 anyway

    • FreudeKing

      What is up with the front section of these BMW SAV’s? They look segregated from the rest of the car’s design. It looks like the whole area in front of the windshield was stuck onto the rest of the car. It does not rise naturally to the windshield! Poor proportions AND NO ADRIAN, I DO NOT THINK THAT THE CAR IS ELEGANT TO HAVE AN ARTIFICIALLY FLATTENED LOW BONNET. I THINK IT IS ELEGANT TO HAVE A MODERATELY RISING BONNET TO THE WINDSHIELD.

  • Ruslan-Kz

    I hope new X3 will be beautiful and better than ugly X1. Q5 and GLK – strong competitors.

  • FreudeKing

    With the launch of the current X3 a few years back – what did they expect??? GOGI – Garbage out garbage in. They made a car that looked ugly and on top of that, they deliberately made it look cheap by not spraying the bumpers and left it in a cheap black matt format. Would you buy a 3 series bumper from the dealer and put it on without spraying it to body colour? I guess not. What were those people thinking at BMW? Who in their right minds would want ugly and cheap versions of the car running around the street? I mean, a Toyota RAV would look more premium than the ugly X3…. then you know that you are selling crap to your customers. The external design plays on the emotions of people with the car – it is suppose to attract people towards it! If they think it’s fun making it cheaper looking, suffer the consequences! The interior was also not up to scratch, full of cheap hard plastics.

    BMW is in the premium segment, this means that they charge higher prices with customers expected better quality and attention to detail. They have lots to do to make up the salted name of the X3 and many are now not forced to buy the X3 as it is no longer the only premium SUV in the market. There’s the Q5 and GLK. Shape up or shift out.

  • txdesign

    It’s bigger than the last model, what a shock.

  • Warren

    I happen to think that a sprayed bumper is one of the most boring and idiotic things in the world. What are bumpers for after all?

    • FreudeKing

      Well then, if that is your logic, I guess you’d be happy to travel around in a golf club car…. as you’d say what are cars for afterall. Then why do we even bother with car designs, leather seats, radio, performance, etc.

      We are talking about a premium vehicle, which is suppose to give you more than just getting you from A to B. A Tata Nano would be suitable if that is your aim.

    • wazon8

      Warren, do you live in one of the big French, Spanish or Italian cities? These are surely places where bumpers need to work during a parking of car and the fact that they are sprayed can make troubles. :D

      But I don’t share your opinion that sprayed bumpers look boring. Contrary, cars with them look a lot better IMO. Imagine 5-er without sprayed bumpers or… better not.

  • guesswhat

    Many people just can’t get out of the bigger the better; the more luxurious, the more desirable kind of thinking. Here in Europe nobody claims that the old X3 is too rough. Seems that the American guys need to retire to their couch.

  • viper

    cheap ass looking car.
    why r they still making this x3 , it was never a success anyway

  • Gerald

    Always had mixed feelings about the X3. The X5 just looks beefy, and what you think a BMW SUV (SAV whatever…) should look like, esp. with the right wheels. The X1 might have a shot — I think the trick is getting a sporty enough look to succeed — keeping an open mind till I see one here in the US. The current X3? Neither here nor there in my opinion, in terms of styling.

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