The next step for BMW’s X3 crossover looks a lot like the last step. On Monday, the automaker finally revealed the 2018 BMW X3 at its Spartanburg, South Carolina, facility where it is produced alongside the X4, X5, and X6.
The new BMW X3 takes plenty of cues from the other crossover SUVs produced at the plant, including the last X3, which last year had its best sales year in the crossover’s history.
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For 2018, BMW slightly revised the X3’s exterior, which is most noticeable under the front bumper and under the hood of some models. In profile, the new X3 is somewhat squatter and lower than the outgoing model—especially pronounced in more expensive, sportier trims. Around back, larger taillights and a bigger rear window are the most pronounced visual differences between the new version and the outgoing model.
Gone this year is the diesel-powered version of the X3, which was a slow seller for BMW and subject to increased scrutiny by federal regulators over the last several years. The 2018 BMW X3 will be powered by a turbo-4 or turbo-6 gasoline engine for 2018, although an electrified version is on the way by the end of the decade.
The new X3 is roughly 2 inches longer between the wheels than the outgoing model and overall, however the cabin dimensions are roughly the same. The 2018 BMW X3’s front wheels are pushed slightly further forward with a little more room between the front axle and dashboard, which visually punctuates the X3’s rear-wheel-drive bias—a growing rarity among competitors.
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Leg room for front and rear passengers is roughly the same between the new X3 and the outgoing model, and cargo space is up just 1 cubic foot over the previous model.
The base version of the 2018 BMW X3 will feature all-wheel drive as standard, which BMW calls “xDrive,” powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 that makes 248 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque mated to an 8-speed automatic.
Uprated versions, dubbed the BMW X3 M40i, will boast a turbo-6 found under the hood of other M-branded performance models (M240i, M340i, M440i). It makes 355 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. The X3 M40i is the first M-branded variant of the crossover, although it’s unclear if the X3 will get a full-fledged M edition in the future. BMW estimates the X3 M40i will accelerate to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds.
The new X3 retains the same basic suspension setup as the outgoing model, including five-link rear independent suspension, although adjustable dampers are now available on all models, including the base X3.
BMW will make available on the X3 its advanced safety features that first debuted on the 5-Series, including self-driving technology that will pilot the car for more than 30 seconds but less than a minute. Optional safety features include blind-spot monitors, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and active lane control. An optional head-up display is 75 percent larger than the outgoing version.
Pricing for the 2018 BMW X3 hasn’t yet been announced and fuel economy figures aren’t yet available. BMW said the new X3 should arrive in dealerships in the U.S. around November.
(c) 2017, High Gear Media.