After the recent media test drives of pre-production 2011 X3s, BMW released new photos of the second generation compact SAV. Sporting the same light, but effective camo, the pre-production vehicles went through extensive driving around Munich.

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Built on a new platform, F25, similar to the one underpinning the next generation 3 Series, the new X3 grew in size 8 centimeters long, 3 cm wide and 1.2 cm in height. The wheelbase was also extended by 9 cm. By sharing several components with both the 3 Series and 5 Series, the F25 X3 takes advantage of some cost savings.

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.

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The driving experience has also changed when compared to the previous and first generation model. The new X3 is considerably stiffer than the outgoing model and the additional structural rigidity was immediately noticeable by journalists on their rural backroads drive. According to Kilometer Magazine, the setup is essentially the same as the current 3 Series wagon with xDrive — MacPherson struts up front, multi-link in the rear — but geometrically optimized and tuned specifically for Sport Activity duty.

For its part, the chassis has three levels of adaptive functions (Normal, Sport and Sport +); that selection acts on the damping firmness, hardness and the immediacy of throttle response.

The current X3 will cease production at the Austrian Graz plant in late July, and the new model will be built exclusively at the Spartanburg, SC plant, with an initial capacity of 160,000 units per year that can reach 250,000.