A few weeks ago, the second generation BMW X3 made its official market debut but already, it has been named the “Off-Roader of the Year” by the readers of the German Off Road magazine. Its predecessor had actually received the same award in 2006 and in 2007.
The BMW X6 Sports Activity Coupe was runner-up in the Crossover category while the new BMW X5 ranked third among the Luxury Off-Roaders. What these rewards prove is how much German customers like the BMW X models. In 1999, the first-generation of first generation X5 was launched. It was with this vehicle that the company entered the Sports Activity Vehicle segment.
The launch of both the first BMW X3 and the BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive system came shortly afterwards. This system offered electronically controlled drive distribution, which made for improved traction and stability on slippery surfaces as well as offered superior dynamics on the road, creating a unique rendition of hallmark BMW driving performance.
In spring 2011, the engine portfolio consisted of two petrol and two diesel engines that delivered from 184 hp to 306 hp. Depending on the engine choice, the new X3 was offered with an eight-speed automatic transmission either as standard or as an optional extra. All-new suspension technology offers improvements to agility and ride comfort compared with the predecessor. The magazine started the poll for the “Off-Roader of the Year” in 1982.
Ruggedness, agility, and elegance --- these are the words that best describe the design of the latest BMW X3. The bold presence of the BMW X3 is a result of the large headlight assembly and the forward-slanting BMW kidney grille that is combined with the front apron and the hood that has six contour lines which narrows down and converges at the kidney grill. Its round fog lamps meanwhile combine with the twin round headlights to give it a triangular light pattern, another feature of the BMW SAV design.
Highlighted with a chrome trim, the upper edge of its headlight assembly shows a design that is standard on many BMW models. The brand’s signature "Corona Rings" have once again been illuminated in order to serve as daytime running lights.
When the optional Xenon headlights are fitted in, the daytime running lights and the Corona Rings are brightened with white LEDs. Meanwhile the BMW X3’s profile has a feature that can be described as a rather unique interpretation of the standard design features of the BMW X.
As a BMW Sports Activity Vehicle, it has a robust character which is emphasized further by the short overhangs of the front and rear and the flared wheel arches. Helping highlight the profile’s dynamic appearance are the three characteristic lines. The BMW X3 has the expected upper contour which starts at the level of the door handle and then goes up at first to the front wheel arch area and then flows slowly to its rear.
There are also two extra lines that trail these contour lines just above its wheel arches. The rear also features horizontal lines which further underline its robust character. As a result of using expressively modeled surfaces and the precise lines, there is a light and shadow effect. While the taillights have been positioned farther outside, it continues to have the T-shape typical of the BMW X3. The LED lights bars on the other hand result in a unique BMW night-time design signature.
In terms of dimension, the new X3 is taller by 0.5 inch (12 mm) compared to the previous model. It is also longer by 3.36 inches (83 mm) and wider by 1.1 inches (28 mm). The new X3 even has a ground clearance taller by 0.5 inch (12 mm). The wheelbase measures 110.6 inches (2,810 mm), longer by 0.6 inch (15 mm) versus its predecessor. In terms of its interior, the X3 has a premium and modern feel with an intelligent functionality.
This is due to the use of high-grade materials, having a versatile spatial concept, and utilizing a three-dimensional surface design. Even the horizontal lines of its panel help highlight the width of its interior. Again as expected from the BMW, the cockpit has been designed to be driver-oriented and is underscored by the center console that is asymmetrically designed.
When the optional navigation system is installed, along with the fourth generation BMW iDrive, its Central Display is integrated seamlessly to the instrument panel. It has a high-resolution 8.8-inch trans-reflective screen, considered as the largest on-board monitor for its class. All throughout the interior, there are a number of cup holders, trays, and storage compartments.