Back in March, BMW presented us a glimpse of the next-gen X3 undergoing its cold weather testing and counter steering in the snow. Now, the Bavarians have announced that the next X3 will debut in just three days from now, on June 26. The debut will happen at BMW’s US headquarters in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The biggest upgrade for the X3 will be its platform. It’ll get the CLAR (Cluster Architecture) — BMW codename for their modular platform. The CLAR is very light and has helped the 7 Series lose a lot of weight. A mixed bag of high-strength steel, aluminum and carbon fiber allows this frame to be light and sturdy yet collapsible in certain areas to absorb the impact of a crash, making CLAR the safest structure BMW has made till date. The platform is designed to accommodate bodies and powertrains of the 3, 5, 6 and 7 Series and that of the X3, X5, X6 and X7 on the SUV side. The skeleton is primarily designed to suit rear-wheel-drive layout, which has made BMW vehicles fun to drive packages.
Borrowing its frame from the 7 Series means that the X3 will be larger than the current X3, resulting in more legroom, shoulder room and boot space. BMW is calling it a ‘more optimized package’ than its predecessor. For the Indian market, the SUV will get a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder petrol, a 2.0-iitre 4-cylinder diesel and a 3.0-litre inline six diesel engine. A 3.0-litre straight six petrol engine can’t be ruled out either and may launch later with the coveted ‘M’ badge. Rumours of a plug-in hybrid variant are also floating around with a slated production deadline of 2020. XDrive all-wheel drive will also be available for improved traction.
Smart safety features are also likely to be offered with the SUV. The suite may include lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot detection, adaptive cruise control, etc. The smart touchscreen key fob, which made its debut with the 7 Series, may also be offered with the X3. The fob allows the owner to pull the car straight out of a parking spot with no one behind the wheel. The clever feature is especially useful in situations where there’s not enough space to fully open the doors and comfortably step inside. The car will go on sale towards the end of this year as a 2018 model year. Just like X1 and 7 Series, we may witness the India launch at the 2018 Auto Expo.