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The closest BMW has ever come to having an off-road vehicle was sticking its V8 engines into Range Rovers. Even it's "Sport Activity Vehicle", the X5, rarely sees time off the pavement and sticks to hauling kids to school and soccer practice. Hartge has set out to change that with an off-road program for Bimmer SUVs, the latest of which is an X3 dubbed the "Hunter". The Bavarian tuner gives the mini-ute increased ground clearance with longer springs and shocks as well as spacers up front. An underbody stainless steel skid plate, shortened axle ratio, and automatic differential locks on both axles improve its exploring capabilities. All-terrain tires are a must, and they are mounted on Hartge's lightweight 18-inch "Classic 2" wheels. For the true enthusiast, Hartge offers washable seat covers and a "green look" interior. We doubt Land Rover and Jeep owners will be flocking to their local BMW dealership for a trade-in, but it's definitely one of the more capable off-road BMWs we've seen. The press release is after the jump, and you can view the X3 Hunter in action in the gallery below.

[Source: Hartge]


As a successful race driver and team manager on the international stage, Herbert Hartge applies motor sports technology know-how into each of his BMW-based vehicles. The reason a racy all-wheel-drive vehicle is now fully suitable for hunting on even the most challenging terrain situations, lies not only in the fact that he's able to fall back on a wealth of gathered rallye sport experience: Herbert is truly an avid and passionate hunter.

As a successful race driver and team manager on the international stage, Herbert Hartge applies motor sports technology know-how into each of his BMW-based vehicles. The reason a racy all-wheel-drive vehicle is now fully suitable for hunting on even the most challenging terrain situations, lies not only in the fact that he's able to fall back on a wealth of gathered rallye sport experience: Herbert is truly an avid and passionate hunter.

The modified X3 renders his passion. As "HUNTER" it embodies a fine sleek manner of moving expertly and stylishly over rough and smooth. The necessary ground clearance of 23 cm is provided by longer spring/damper units, additional front spacer blocks and very good all-terrain-pneus (255/55 R 18) which are mounted on HARTGE's "CLASSIC 2" light alloy wheels. A considerable larger angle of driving slope (for example 31° instead of 23.9° at the front) and an improved ramp angle made possible despite the use of a continuous solid underbody skid plate made of stainless steel forgiving even hard hits of the ground, predestine the "HUNTER" for the hunting-ground, in which its off-road tyre patterns leave impressive footprints. Thanks to a shortened axle drive ratio, an excellent traction and an increased torque, the 3.0d - whose Common-Rail-engine HARTGE pushed to 253 bhp (compared to 218 bhp in the production X3) - clambers up slopes up to 48°. Further terrain capabilities are certified with a wading depth of 50 cm and a axle articulation index of 63 percent.

The full range of HARTGE performance enhancements naturally extend to the version for the bhp-spoiled hunters society. In the 3.0sd 335hp/246 kW (factory 283 hp/210 kW) blow the mort through the hunting horn. The power-plus is gained through tuning of the electronic control unit (ECU): within technical territories tuner HARTGE is already a famous "hunting" authority. Automatic differential locks on both axles ease the "HUNTER's" ability to stalk through difficult terrain. Stainless steel grating protects and guards the radiator from damage due to thick underbrush or rocks.

In addition to many practical accessories, which include washable Sensatec seat covers, customers requests for the "green look" will be fulfilled: from a sports steering wheel made from green leather/maple, a speedometer with green instrument dial, leather interior through to a trunk mat in the same colour. Although not being designed for being a work animal like the Land Rover Defender, the X3 offers enough space for hunting gear including a tub for carrying the game.

Again, this X3 clearly demonstrates its supremacy on off-road terrain. HARTGE's "HUNTER" enriches the hunting scene as an off-road vehicle, which in contrast to the British Landy or German G-Class cuts a fine figure "onroad" as well with speeds up to 210 km/h (dependent upon tyre manufacturer).

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      "definitely one of the more capable off-road BMWs we've seen."

      that is saying absolutely nothing.

      this vehicle is an absolute joke and i doubt it'll come cheap. much better off buying a stock D90 or D110.
      • 7 Years Ago
      You would be so much happier with a Benz GL...They were designed to go offroad. I understand that they will have a Bluetec version as well.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Now that is weird: GL over X5...
        • 7 Years Ago
        If you're a Bavarian with means, you don't buy a Benz- you get an Audi or a BMW. Otherwise, you're a traitor. There is a (small) market for this sort of up-fitting in Germany. I'm rather impressed by it actually having front and rear lockers.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Hahaha, I needed a good laugh today...
      • 7 Years Ago
      And the point of this is what, exactly?

      If you want an offroad vehicle, there are plenty to be had, straight from the manufacturer, that are far more capable than this hacked-up BMW will ever be.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Well, to be able to go hunting in a BMW (deeper than a factrory X5 capable of) and not in Forrester or Land Cruiser and that sounds realy good.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Stainless steel skid plate.
      Does anyone else find this ironic?

      55 Aspect ratio tires for serious offroading?
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'll take a 2007 Forester XT Sport, thanks. With the extra money I could happily tweak the boxer engine and suspension and have a nice little UV. Catback exhaust, AccessPort, sway bars for under $2k for starters. Don't know if it'd be any better of an off-road vehicle but it couldn't be any more useless than the X3...
      • 7 Years Ago

      BMW did not "stick" their 4.4L V8 in the Range Rover. BMW *engineered and designed that vehicle from the ground up* (with a basis on the X5 that is being trashed here no less), and then when they could no longer stand the warranty claims on all the OTHER crappy Land Rover products that were still carry-overs from the British era, basically HANDED the project to Ford 95% completed, on a silver platter when they dumped LR for pennies. Millions were spent, and lost, on the development of that truck.

      Yes the trucks do have reliability issues, but the 2003-2005 RR was among the best vehicles *BMW* ever produced. In fact, I still call my Range Rover a BMW, not a Land Rover or a Ford for all intents and purposes. Take an E38 7 Series and put it on stilts with the off-road capability of a mountain-goat, and you've got the L322 Range Rover.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Someone has to build all those X5 shaped objects that compete in Dakar every year...
      • 7 Years Ago
      After seeing "Race to Dakar" with Charley Boorman, I have no confidence in the BMW platforms as serious off-road vehicle, regardless of the tuner that modified them.
        • 7 Years Ago
        That and where is the market for this? Does anyone actually care or asking the dealer for this kind of setup?
      • 7 Years Ago
      99 percent of the hunting this vehicle will do will be at the mall on a snowy day. Yawn
      • 7 Years Ago
      To the elitists who think the X series is total garbage, stop being so narrow minded. BMW never claimed they were off road vehicles. They will function on light terrain, like dirt roads, fields, etc, but were never intended to be taken into rocky or muddy terrain.

      The foolish people are not the people who buy them. The foolish people are those who think that more than 5% of SUV or truck owners ever take their vehicles off road. My wife has an X3, and she loves it, and will never drive anything besides a BMW now after having it. We have talked about maybe replacing it with a 3 or 5 series touring, but the reality is, while those would help for carrying stuff, her X3 has been invaluable this year buying a house. I have used it to carry 6 bails of straw at once, tons of lumber, new furniture, plants, a tree, a christmas tree, the list goes on and on. She has the 2007 with the 3.0 liter engine, and while it has close to 300hp, she gets 21-25 mpg in it with mixed driving.

      I really hope the internet just brings out the worst in people, and the worst people, because I hope the world isn't filled with this many closed minded people.
        • 7 Years Ago
        No one bashed the BMW for lacking ability to perform daily duties, they bashed it for lacking off-road abilities because this article is about a person taking a street bound SUV off-road....therefore this article warrants bashing indeed = no place to use mall queen skills as material for arguing.
      • 7 Years Ago
      something to actually compete with the Toureg would be nice to see from the rest of the German brands.
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