The official unveiling of the second generation BMW X3 is just around the corner, but prototypes continue to be tested by BMW in the Munich area.
The test mules continue to sport the light camouflage that continues to hide the little design details that can make or break a car. As we pointed out in the past and seen in the test drives of pre-production models, the new 2011 BMW X3 reminds of the older brother, the X5, only at smaller dimensions.
With the new F25 platform, the 2011 BMW X3 uses many components from both the 3 Series and 5 Series. The compact SAV grew in size 8 centimeters long, 3 cm wide and 1.2 cm in height. The wheelbase was also extended by 9 cm.
In addition, the trunk volume has been increased by 70 liters up to 550, and the rear seats also benefit from a larger space, including more legroom. A less bulky transmission tunnel and lower ground facilitate better accessibility for rear passengers.
Inside, the new X3 sports noticeably higher quality dashboard and trim materials than its predecessor – something BMW admits was necessary given the increased competition the segment. The instruments and switchgear are of a level comparable to those found in the new 5 Series.
The F25 BMW X3 brings with it a series of technologies imported from other BMW models. The 2011 X3 also adopts a newly developed mechanical-electric steering system from Thyssen Krup in place of the ZF engineered hydraulic system found on the outgoing model.
At the initial launch, there are only two engines available, the 2.0 diesel 184 horsepower (xDrive20d), which lowers consumption by 15%, and the 3.0 six-cylinder petrol (xDrive35i), with 306 hp and 400 Nm peak torque. The latter has gone from using a twin-turbocharged to one turbo(N55 engine), with clear advantages in performance: it gives the same power and it uses 9% less fuel.
Gradually, the range will be expanded with new engines. First, a six-cylinder petrol engine with 256 hp (xDrive28i) launching in January next year. Later in Spring, another six-cylinder diesel with around 260 hp (xDrive30d) will appear. By the fall, the xDrive35d with 306 horsepower will be launched as well.
The entry level models will use a new 4-cylinder petrol powerplant which is not available until late 2011 or early 2012.
All engines will be coupled with the excellent ZF 8-speed automatic gearbox. Only the four cylinders will have the option of being matted to manual six-speed transmissions.
The 2011 BMW X3 makes its debut at the Paris Motor Show with sales commencing months after.