BMW has shown the new third-generation X3 ahead of the model’s international launch later this year. The X3 has been extensively re-engineered for 2017, with a new platform that forms the basis for an incremental increase in dimensions, a further increase in interior accommodation and a decrease in kerb weight over the outgoing second-generation X3. At 4,716mm in length, 1,897mm in width and 1,676mm in height, the new BMW is 61mm longer, 17mm wider and 16mm higher than its predecessor. As per the automaker, the increase in dimensions was driven both by customer feedback for greater interior space, together with the need to further distance the new X3 from the smaller second-generation X1 already on sale. Based around BMW’s Cluster Architecture (CLAR) platform, the new X3 also receives a 54mm longer wheelbase than the second-generation X3 at 2,864mm. The longer wheelbase has led to a subtle shift in weight distribution, which is put at a claimed 50:50 front-to-rear. Although it has grown in size, the added use of lightweight metals and alloys – including hot-formed high-tensile steel within the floor pan, and other load bearing areas of the body structure, as well as aluminum for the bonnet and doors – has resulted in a 55kg reduction in kerb weight when increased standard equipment levels are taken into account, according to BMW; the new entry-level X3 xDrive20d tips the scales at 1,750kg. In terms of styling, the new X3 sports sharper looks, with new LED headlamps, revised kidney grille, a heavily contoured bonnet, prominent creases along the sides and tailgate, new LED tail-lamps and large alloy wheels.
BMW has also incorporated many drag-reducing measures in the new X3 such as active louvers in the front grille, extensive underbody cladding and a sizeable roof-mounted spoiler. Inside, styling elements are similar to other new BMWs, with the dashboard closely modelled on that used by the 5-series featuring a free standing infotainment monitor for the first time. BMW has also created additional oddment storage, including the incorporation of larger bins within the center console and door pockets that accept one-liter bottles. Among the options offered is a 12.3-inch all-digital instrument cluster, a heads-up display, and a 10.2-inch infotainment display which also comes with gesture control and voice recognition. At the rear, BMW says that the seats are more comfortable thanks to a 20mm increase in legroom, due to the longer wheelbase, and a 20mm increase in seat height. The all-new X3 will be available with a range of petrol and diesel engines, with a hybrid system currently also in the works. Sitting atop the line-up will be a new X3 M40i performance model powered by a 3.0-litre, in-line, six-cylinder petrol motor delivering 360hp and 500Nm of torque. The unit will be paired with an eight-speed automatic gearbox and BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system as standard. Also available from the onset will be a 20d variant powered by a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder diesel unit, good for 190hp, and a more powerful 30d powered by a 265hp, 3.0-litre, straight-six diesel engine. Shortly after launch, BMW will also add a further petrol engine to the new X3 line-up. The SUV will be offered with a 2.0-litre petrol unit good for either 184hp in the 20i and a meatier 251hp in the 30i. Also in the works is a plug-in hybrid X3 40e and an all-electric X3e, the latter of which is set to debut in 2020.