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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]

Related GalleryHartge BMW X3 Hunter

PRESS RELEASE

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).