• Jun 27th 2006 at 3:06PM
  • 15
BMW's UK division officially revealed the restyled BMW X3 today, and the alterations to the little ute aren't just skin deep.

The car's overall shape is fairly unchanged, but a quick look fore and aft reveals restyled front and rear lower fascias. In front, a new bumper and spoiler are incorporated. Openings below the bumper are now larger, and the foglights have been moved up into the main bodywork. This gives the X3 a tougher appearance when viewed head-on. In back, the rear bumper receives a very subtle restyle, and the taillight clusters now house LEDs instead of traditional bulbs.

Inside, the center console benefits from improved-quality materials, and a new steering wheel is fitted (it should be noted that based on the press photo, this is the same wheel used on the North American model, save for an aluminum accent on the bottom spoke).

Underhood, things get interesting ...

(Keep reading after the jump. Photos, press release also follow)

[Source: BMW UK]

Three gasoline engines and two diesels are available. Of the five total engines, three are new.

The range-topping X3 3.0sd receives a new 3.0L twin-turbo diesel that churns out 286 horsepower and a healthy 428 lb-ft of torque beginning at just 1750 rpm. This is the most powerful diesel ever fitted in a UK-market BMW.

The other two new engines are gasoline drinkers.  First off is a 218-horse 2.5L six-cylinder. It's followed by a 272 horsepower 3.0L unit. Rounding out the engine roster are two more economical, lower-output diesels.

Both new 3.0L engines get a six-speed auto as standard equipment. All other models receive a six-speed manual, with the auto available as an option. Finally, the xDrive system is enhanced through the addition of BMW's Dynamic Stability Control + (DSC+).

No word yet on when the new look will bow in North America, nor is there any info on which of the new powerplants will cross the Atlantic.

Update: Details on the North American version here.


The new BMW X3The new BMW X3The new BMW X3The new BMW X3The new BMW X3
The restyled BMW X3
The restyled BMW X3

Press Release:

The new BMW X3

  • Most powerful diesel engine ever to power a BMW in the UK
  • Revised interior and exterior styling
  • First X model with Dynamic Stability Control + as standard
BMW is pleased to announce the launch of a revised X3, featuring the most powerful diesel engine ever to power a production BMW in the UK. The revised X3 features two new petrol engines and is set to take the Sports Activity Vehicle sector by storm.

Due to go on sale in the UK in September, the BMW X3 offers buyers the very latest in engine technology. BMW's premium SAV now comes powered by a total of five different engines - two petrol and three diesel units.

The headline-grabbing powerplant is a twin-turbo 3.0-litre diesel with an output of 286hp and 580Nm of torque that has been developed from the engine used by the BMW 535d. Such power places the X3 3.0sd into the realm of sports car acceleration courtesy of a zero to 62mph time of 6.6 seconds and a 149mph top speed.

What sets the X3 3.0sd apart from previous X3s is that it comes equipped with the same twin-turbo technology that has already been showcased in the BMW 535d. By using two turbochargers, one smaller one larger, the X3 3.0sd offers high levels of low down pulling power as well as top end performance. It can do this because the smaller turbo boosts at low revs for instant, smooth and swift acceleration, but as engine speed builds the larger turbocharger comes into play to continue the rapid progress. The result is an engine that develops peak torque from just 1,750rpm through to 2,250rpm, but is capable of continuing to rev up to 4,400rpm – an unusually high limit for a diesel.

Completing the triumvirate of new six-cylinder engines to the X3 are a 2.5-litre 218hp petrol unit and a new 272hp 3.0-litre petrol engine. Both of these powerplants are based on the world's lightest production six-cylinder engine constructed of aluminium and magnesium alloy. The smaller capacity engine can power the X3 from zero to 62mph in 8.5 seconds before going on to a top speed of 137mph. The higher output 3.0-litre engine reaches 62mph from zero in just 7.5 seconds before attaining a top speed of 142mph.

For those new car buyers looking to balance performance with economy, two other choices of engine are offered. A 150hp 2.0-litre diesel represents the entry point of X3 ownership. Further up the scale the existing 218hp 3.0-litre diesel engine is also offered.

With the exception of the BMW X3 3.0si and 3.0sd, which use a six-speed automatic gearbox, all X3 variants come with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard. A six-speed automatic gearbox is also an option on all six-cylinder engined cars.

A new look
The introduction of a new X3 isn't just a story of new engines. BMW's designers have subtly altered the car to freshen its appeal. At the front a larger kidney grille sits above a redesigned front bumper and spoiler. On the new car a colour-coded spoiler with vertical uprights is positioned below the dark swathe of the bumper, while the front foglights are now incorporated into the main section of the bodywork. The X3 3.0sd rides on 18-inch light alloy wheels as standard while larger twin exhaust pipes protrude from under the rear valance.

The side profile remains true to the original X3, but the new rear light clusters feature rods of LED lights. The styling of the rear bodywork has also changed with colour-coded panels now extending lower down the bodywork.

Inside, the driver can get to grips with a new style of three-spoke steering wheel while enhancements to the type of materials used on the centre console have also been included. Again, the owner of a X3 3.0sd gets special treatment with stainless steel foot pedals to underscore the performance nature of the vehicle.

Enhanced traction control
To aid performance and safety the new BMW X3 features the very latest traction control system allied to xDrive, BMW's unique four-wheel drive system. For the first time on a BMW X model BMW's innovative Dynamic Stability Control + (DSC+) system is fitted as standard. In addition to the all round traction control benefits of such technology, DSC+ on the X3 comes with four additional features aimed at improving safety:

Brake Pre-tensioning shortens stopping distances during an emergency stop by priming the brakes should the driver lift off the accelerator sharply in preparation. Brake Drying improves braking performance in the wet by periodically applying the brake pads to scrub away the film of water that can build up on the brake discs. Hill Start Assistant allows a manual transmission car to pull away smoothly on a gradient without rolling backwards, courtesy of the brakes being held for the short time it takes the driver to apply the accelerator after releasing the foot or handbrake. Brake Fade Compensation applies additional braking without any extra effort from the driver should sensors detect that the brake pads are starting to lose 'bite' due to heat build up.

In another first on an X model the driver will now be able to select the Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) function of DSC. DTC allows for a greater degree of wheel slip for more spirited driving without the main traction control system safety net intervening. This option can be selected via a button on the centre console.

Prices and full specification of the new X3 will be announced before its on sale date in the autumn.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 9 Years Ago
      It looks like BMW is nervous about Acura and soon to be Mercedes and Infiniti catching up to their poorly executed X3. It's about time they upgraded their materials and engine, but is it really breaking any new ground? While the 272hp upgrade is a welcome addition, it isn't about to outpace an Acura RDX in a straight line, and if early reviews are any indication, Acura has made quite a competent SUV to challenge the X3. So if you want the most uninviting interior in the business, don't mind paying 5,000 dollars more for a car than you should, and want to spend the better part of your ownership driving a 3-series because your inconsistently built X3 is in the shop, I think BMW has done well to attract you as a brand conscious, uninspired consumer.
      • 9 Years Ago
      i think the new LR2 will be the real competition. And I thought the cargo was just fine inthe X3. Its a small SUV! its not supposed to be an X5. Plus the sunroof is great.
      • 9 Years Ago
      The new bumpers make sense. The Black "plastic" breaks up the line and makes it look not so tall as last years "refresh" did. All last year offered was the deletion of the 2.5 and painted bumpers.

      I also hope they configured the ride a bit better. The new engine will improve.

      The price is relative. Leasing BMW's with the generous residuals pretty much put them on par with other offerings. For under 40k you get a nice package with a panoramic roof and nice appointments. The Acura will over more amenities but won't have that BMW feel that some feel is value added.

      I recall the Mercedes ML was a lessor quality despite the excellent drive train. It was fit and finish problems and the interior trim. They eventually got that right and perhaps the build quality in "Ahnolds" hometown of Gratz, Austria will improve with this refresh.

      No, it does not drive like the wonderful 5 series or the nimble 3 series, but can you get another BMW or competitive SuV with the Pano/Roof, 272 hp engine with a manual transmission, great interior and Xdrive for under 40K?

      Value is in the eye of the beholder.

      Every drive an infiniti FX? The bionic Cheetah? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!
      • 9 Years Ago
      Wow, this is the first Bangle BMW that didn't make me gag. Congrats...I guess.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Them's fighting words David. I can tell you that after leasing a jaguar, an Acura, an Infiniti, and several other fine automobiles the new BMW 530i sport we just leased drives so much better than the previous cars, I'm going to have a hard time leasing anything else next time. And while the japanese and americans make some decent cars, they drive and feel quite boring in comparison. The BMW has a steering feel, and perfect balance coupled with their sport active suspension that's absultely brillant on every level. It's not just the name, go drive one for a while and you'll understand - it's the best we've ever driven.
      • 9 Years Ago
      now where's the comfort access option?
      • 9 Years Ago
      Too bad we'll probably never see the diesel powerplant in the USA. The 428 foot-pounds of torque is amazing and would bring a nice smile to my face.
      • 9 Years Ago
      This is a little confusing. I realize that this is the UK version, however didn't BMW just outfit the X3 for the 2006 model year with colored -keyed bumpers front and rear? Now, according to this pic, they're going back (somewhat) to plastic on the front/rear bumpers? And why go through the expense of glueing wood on the dash and doing the dash 50/50 like?? Can you really tell that the materials are all that better?? I like the idea that they putting in the new engines - should have done it for the current model year. Least it's not as ugly as the Z4
      • 9 Years Ago
      Might it be available as a varebil?
      • 9 Years Ago
      fuscob - the X3 in fact has more cargo space than the X5, so I am not sure what you are "missing". I agree with the other points - interior always seemed plasticy. Maybe it is being improved.
      • 7 Years Ago
      • 9 Years Ago
      I work at a BMW dealership, so I drive these cars all day, every day. I have to say that the X3 has always been my least favorite. It's not as high-quality as other BMWs and lacks the SUV characteristics (high/comfortable driving position, cargo capacity, etc) that I like in the X5. Hopefully this new revision will address some of my concerns.
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