Hooray! The 2015 BMW X3 debuted last night in a sneak peak at the Chicago auto show – and all seems well for this glamorous new five-seat crossover.
Why the elation? I
hated was not a fan of the previous X3.
Sometimes my own critiques are so scathing that the words echo and reverberate in my head after I type and publish them. What do I mean?
Well, I called the previous X3’s LED and nose look a “zombie-like stare.” Accurate? Maybe, maybe not. Memorable? Perhaps too much so.
The X3 has indeed been a rougher launch than expected for BMW since 2009. Built with its big brother in Spartanburg, the X3 in its current generation felt very ‘yester-tech’ versus the posh and rapid Q5 and dozens of other premium mid-size SUV models.
Demand was so weak that an X3 M was ruled out early in the game for that zombie SAV — but this new 2015 model really could wear performance parts with pride.
The 2015 refresh could not come at a better time for BMW, just as the all-new 2014 X5 is hitting showrooms with a big more volume. The X3’s new look is a solid evolution of the BMW SUV style – with a large and prominent 3D kidney grille, far more progressive and expressive panel shapes, and a much more premium overall appearance.
But the best part for me is the new LED lighting up front, which banishes the “Zombie Stare” in favor of refined and classy aesthetics. In fact, most drivers will have difficulty knowing if the BMW behind them is the new X5 or the X3.
All great news for buyers and BMW’s sales charts. The X3 will now be a real double threat in showrooms for buyers who are sticker shocked by X5’s price or seven-seater dimensions. Oh, that one is too big? How about this one?
The debut 2015 X3 wears the xLine trim – which is the volume leader but not quite as dynamic as the as-yet-unseen M Sport trim.
BMW’s trim level upgrades for most of its models is a really smart part of their current strategy. Simply changing the grille finish and front bumpers totally transforms the X1’s road presence, and at a fraction of the price of a full re-style.
It also allows buyers to go for a specific mood in their cars – almost customized right from the factory. These variations ensure a bit more variety and exclusivity versus the identi-kit Toyota or Acura SUVs – which all look basically the same no matter if bare-bones base models or the top models with $12,000 in options.
The X3 will also bring the 28d clean diesel engine option, with the 28i four-cylinder turbo and 35i turbo six-cylinder also in the cards. Pricing will move up modestly with the refresh, but nothing major. Pricing starts at about $39,000 for the (newly-available, rear-drive) sDrive28i gasoline model.
All three engines pair with BMW’s exceptional steptronic ZF eight-speed automatic, with paddle shifters standard in the M Sport trims.
The base rear-drive sDrive28i hits 60 mph in just 6.2-seconds, per BMW below, which is a great achievement for this efficient engine choice.
The xDrive28i – an all-wheel-drive version of the above – is just as rapid. BMW’s TwinPower turbo four delivers 260 pound-feet of torque in the rear-drive models of the X1 — but nearly 350 pound-feet of overboosted torque for the xDrive28i models.
Does that make sense? Same engine, but much higher turbo boost assistance in the AWD models to offset their inherent weight increase.
All flavors of the hot 2015 X3 are set to hit American BMW showrooms by May of this year — but you must act fast with a deposit pronto to get one by then.
Huge global demand for BMW SUV’s means BMW North America must tussle with BMW UK, BMW AG and all the other global markets to secure the max allotment of 2015 X3’s.
2015 BMW X3 – xLine trim – Exteriors
2015 BMW X3 – xLine trim – Interiors
Official details from BMW below.
The New BMW X3 Sports Activity Vehicle
Featuring new powertrains and all-round enhancements for 2015.
Woodcliff Lake, NJ – February 5, 2014 6:00pm EST/3:00pm PST. . . BMW today announced the arrival of the enhanced, 2015 BMW X3 Sports Activity Vehicle®. In 2003 BMW founded the mid-size SAV segment with the launch of the original BMW X3. Since 2003, the BMW X3 has been a paragon of sporty dynamics, premium ambience and robust agility – accumulating sales of more than one million units worldwide in the process. The second-generation BMW X3 has made a compelling case for itself since its introduction in 2010, boasting the best interior and cargo measurements and the greatest versatility in its class.
Now, the new BMW X3 is set to build on this leadership. A new offer of BMW Advanced Diesel power in the X3 xDrive28d will enhance efficiency while further reducing emissions. There will also be the first-time offer of the rear-wheel drive BMW X3 sDrive28i for the US market, providing a great consumer entry point into the X3 family. The exterior and interior design of the new BMW X3 receive stylistic revisions that add further depth to the vehicle’s practicality, while updates to other details promise to impress the X3 customer.
The new BMW X3 will go on sale in spring 2014 as a 2015 model. Prices in the US will start at a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $39,325 for the X3 sDrive28i (new offer: rear-wheel drive). The X3 xDrive28i (with BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive) will have an MSRP of $40,725, while the top-of-the-line X3 xDrive35i will have an MSRP of $45,825. The all-new X3 xDrive28d with BMW Advanced Diesel technology will start at $42,825. All prices include $925 Destination & Handling fee.
Dynamic appearance and exclusive ambience.
The new BMW X3 cuts a visually more powerful figure with its new, modified twin-circular headlights (LED headlights are optional), a more eye-catching kidney grille, new front and rear bumpers, and exterior mirrors with integrated turn signal indicators – all of which shine a figurative spotlight on the signature BMW X model design features. A high level of perceived quality also defines the interior of the new BMW X3. Chrome applications, a center console with automatic climate control system in a high-gloss black-panel display, and new cup holders with a sliding cover for the center console underline the vehicle’s premium appearance. New exterior colors, upholstery designs, interior trim strips and light-alloy wheels enable even more refined individualization. The new xLine allows owners to lend greater emphasis still to the dynamic and robust SAV character of the BMW X3. And the Smart Opener for the automatic tailgate further enhances the already impressive functionality of the BMW X3.
New BMW Advanced Diesel engine and gasoline sDrive model.
The new BMW X3 is available from launch with a choice of one diesel and two gasoline engines, with outputs ranging from 180 hp to 300 hp. The state-of-the-art engines with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology guarantee outstanding performance combined with low fuel consumption.
The new X3 xDrive28d will feature BMW’s 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo diesel 4-cylinder engine. It produces 180 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque, available from 1,750 rpm, and will be mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. The X3 xDrive28d will accelerate from 0 – 60 mph in just under eight seconds. BMW Advanced Diesel technology includes Selective Catalyst Reduction to make the new X3 a clean diesel.
Like its xDrive all-wheel drive counterpart, the new X3 sDrive28i features BMW’s brilliant 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo gasoline engine, which produces 240 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. For customers with driving habits in which all-wheel drive might prove superfluous, the X3 sDrive28i provides an excellent alternative. Zero to 60 mph may be accomplished in a swift 6.2 seconds.
BMW ConnectedDrive: driver assistance and infotainment.
The new BMW X3 advances the company’s commitment to the link-up of driver, vehicle and outside world, an area in which BMW is an undisputed leader. Among the outstanding new features from BMW ConnectedDrive on board the BMW X3 are the iDrive controller with touchpad functionality (for text input using finger movements), Parking Assistant, the full-color BMW Head-Up Display, and Active Driving Assistant with ACC Stop & Go, including Lane Departure Warning, Frontal Collision Warning, Pedestrian Warning, and City Collision Mitigation.
Design and functionality: Powerful appearance and maximum versatility.
The design language of the new BMW X3 underlines the leading role it has traditionally occupied in the mid-size Sports Activity Vehicle segment. Taking its cue from its predecessor, the new BMW X3 blends exclusivity and dynamic appeal and couples it with impressive versatility. The new model is immediately identifiable as a member of the successful BMW X family and cuts an even more impressive figure on the road. Its design showcases an SAV that will carry out everyday tasks with consummate ease and do so while delivering unbeatable driving pleasure.
Aside from its length, which has grown by a single centimeter, the new BMW X3 has the same compact, usable dimensions of its successful predecessor. However, the new BMW X3 comes with a host of exclusive details. At the front end, for example, the newly designed twin circular headlights stand out immediately. They can also be ordered in full-LED specification as an option and, like the LED front fog lights, lend even greater expression to the premium profile of the BMW X3. The characteristic, more strikingly-presented BMW kidney grille has an even sharper visual impact with its new surround, and powerful, newly designed front and rear bumpers highlight the poised and assured appearance of the new BMW X3. The LED turn signal indicators are now housed in the new exterior mirrors, while four new exterior paint shades and four newly styled light-alloy wheel variants broaden the scope for individualization.
Exclusivity and a high level of perceived quality in the interior.
The new X3 leads the way in its segment in terms of both interior spaciousness and rear load capacity (from 27.6 to 63.3 cu-ft). The interior is a compelling proposition with its carefully selected, exquisite materials. Understated chrome applications, the center console with automatic climate control system in a high-gloss black-panel look, and wood trim with chrome accents contribute further to the high-quality surroundings. Adding the final touches to the premium ambience are new cup holders in the center console with a sliding cover and the standard-fitted sport leather steering wheel. Customers can also choose from four new upholstery colors and four new interior trim strips.
xLine and M Sport offer boundless individualization.
The high-quality material and color concept shines the spotlight on the premium profile of the new BMW X3. xLine, which lends even further emphasis to the dynamic and robust SAV character of the X3, sees BMW expanding the scope for individualization. xLine can be identified from the outside by gleaming metallic inserts in the bumpers, satin aluminum side cladding and bars in the air intakes, and simulated under guards at the front and rear. It also allows customers to choose from additional leather upholstery variants, trim strips and 19-inch light-alloy wheel options.
The superb dynamic qualities of the new BMW X3 can be showcased to even greater effect by specifying M Sport, with the M aerodynamic package and High-gloss Shadow Line trim maximizing the vehicle’s presence on the road. In addition, customers can choose from six paint finishes and two exclusive light-alloy wheel options in 19 and 20-inch format. In the cockpit, Anthracite roof liner and sports seats in various leather upholstery variants intensify the sporting theme. Technical highlights include the eight-speed sport automatic transmission, sport steering and suspension settings tuned to deliver even sharper dynamic performance.
Raising everyday functionality a notch.
The BMW X3 also builds further on its segment-leading status when it comes to everyday usability and versatility. All BMW X3 models are fitted with a 6.5” iDrive display and iDrive Controller. BMW Assist eCall, meanwhile, uses an integrated telephone unit to summon rapid assistance. A range of other innovative options adds further to the functionality of the new X3. The Smart Opener, for instance, makes accessing the load compartment much easier; a short movement of the foot below the rear bumper causes it to open or close the tailgate automatically. A storage package including a reversible floor section, folding box, partition elements and a range of different luggage nets allows objects of any kind to be stowed away easily, safely and tidily, and the 40:20:40 split/folding rear seat enables maximum flexibility. Elsewhere, the Hi-Fi Sound System Professional from Harman Kardon promises audio pleasure for the new BMW X3.
Powertrain: Dynamic and economical engines.
The high-revving character for which BMW is renowned, plus excellent power delivery, compelling refinement and impressive efficiency, are also stand-out features of the cutting-edge gasoline engines available for the new BMW X3. Boasting High Precision Direct Injection, Double-VANOS variable camshaft control and Valvetronic fully variable valve timing, the gasoline engines make a convincing case for themselves with outstanding dynamics yet incredibly low fuel consumption and emissions. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder unit in the X3 xDrive28i, meanwhile, develops 240 hp and peak torque of 260 lb-ft. Fitted with the eight-speed automatic transmission, the X3 xDrive28i sprints from rest to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds, The new BMW X3 xDrive35i also meets the highest dynamic standards. Its 3.0-liter six-cylinder in-line engine develops 300hp and produces maximum torque of 300 lb-ft, which is on tap between 1,200 rpm and 5,000 rpm.
Choice between rear-wheel and xDrive all-wheel drive.
Customers opting for the new BMW X3 with the 240 hp, 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo engine can choose between the xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive system and classic BMW sDrive rear-wheel drive.
The intelligent xDrive all-wheel-drive system delivers optimum traction, need-based power distribution, and further improved dynamics and driving safety. In models equipped with xDrive, a new xDrive status display with three-dimensional graphics in the Control Display keeps the driver informed of the vehicle’s body roll and pitch. On vehicles equipped with a navigation system, a compass display is also shown in the instrument cluster.
Now in its Third Generation, BMW xDrive incorporates flexibility, responsiveness, and excellent handling characteristics. The system marks a significant evolution in xDrive capabilities, which has always depended upon networking the Dynamic Stability Control with the all-wheel drive system. With the overall Integrated Chassis Management system, all three control circuits work in parallel. This refined interaction achieves even quicker reactions to changing driving conditions and enhances xDrive’s already outstanding handling dynamics.
BMW xDrive is unique in design and construction. In normal conditions, driving torque is always transmitted to the rear wheels, and most of the time to all four wheels. Normal torque split is 80% rear/20% front. The portion of torque transmitted to the front wheels is controlled by a multi-disc clutch that can be fully open, fully engaged or at any level of partial engagement in between. The torque split between rear and front wheels is thus steplessly variable. Engagement pressure on the multi-disc clutch is directed by an electronic control system in response to actual road and driving conditions. This gives xDrive a dynamic ability that is unparalleled by other all-wheel drive systems.
xDrive does more than just optimize traction; it can also enhance both agility and stability on grippy as well as slippery road surfaces. Using the same type of logic that Dynamic Stability Control employs to recognize and correct for excessive over- or understeer, xDrive adjusts the front/rear torque split to avoid these tendencies. If the system senses undesirable oversteer, it closes the multi-disc clutch completely, sending the maximum possible torque to the front wheels. In the case of excess understeer, xDrive opens the clutch completely, sending no driving torque to the front wheels. The Third Generation of BMW xDrive truly raises the bar for all-wheel drive systems in both passenger cars and sports activity vehicles.
Appearing yet again in the newest generation of xDrive is BMW’s Hill Descent Control. Debuting in 2000 original BMW X5, Hill Descent Control made it possible to control and steer the vehicle in downright dangerous and slippery conditions without even using the brake pedal. When activated, Hill Descent individually applies the brakes where needed to prevent slippage and increased speed. The driver simply needs to set the desired speed to descend with (5-15 mph), release the brake and gas pedals, and navigate down the hill. Hill Descent control comes standard on all xDrive equipped models.
8-speed automatic transmission.
Many new BMW models feature an 8-speed automatic transmission, which brings smooth shifting, sportiness and efficiency to new levels of perfection. Compared to the exemplary 6-speed automatic offered in past BMW models, the 8-speed has “taller” cruising gears that make a significant contribution to reduced fuel consumption and emissions, as well as quietness. Its wider spread of ratios from lowest to highest gear enhances acceleration and response across the range of driving speeds. The revolutionary design allows for direct shifts from cruising gears to acceleration gears.
This new automatic’s attributes have been achieved via an innovative concept that provides the two additional ratios (7 and 8) with no increase in bulk or weight. In an arrangement never before employed in an 8-speed automatic, four planetary gear sets and five clutch packs are controlled in a way that no more than two of the five clutch packs are freewheeling at any given time. The modest increase in the number of mechanical elements allows the new transmission to achieve unusually high efficiency: the so-called “gearing efficiency” is higher than 98% in all eight gears. In 6th gear, it’s highest of all because that is direct drive, with no gearing reduction at all. Combine this with reduced friction and the ability to keep the torque converter “locked up” more of the total driving time, and the transmission becomes very much a part of the overall BMW EfficientDynamics concept.
The wider spread of ratios allows the engine to run at lower speeds, often in the “tallest” gear, 8th. Yet even with this wider spread, the steps between adjacent gears are reduced; in turn this means a stronger, smoother flow of power during acceleration. And for the same reason, faster shifts are a further benefit because only one clutch pack is disengaged to shift up or down by one or two gears. On the other hand, downshifting more than two gears is accomplished as a direct shift. For example, a downshift from 8th to 2nd gear is made with only one clutch pack disengagement, and thus occurs without stepping down through the intermediate gears. So, at one instant the driver can be enjoying the quiet, fuel-efficient low rpm of 8th gear, and in the next instant getting maximum acceleration.
On the new BMW X3, a Sport Automatic transmission option with shift paddles is also available in conjunction with M Sport.
BMW Group In America
BMW of North America, LLC has been present in the United States since 1975. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars NA, LLC began distributing vehicles in 2003. The BMW Group in the United States has grown to include marketing, sales, and financial service organizations for the BMW brand of motor vehicles, including motorcycles, the MINI brand, and the Rolls-Royce brand of Motor Cars; DesignworksUSA, a strategic design consultancy in California; a technology office in Silicon Valley and various other operations throughout the country. BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC in South Carolina is part of BMW Group’s global manufacturing network and is the exclusive manufacturing plant for all X5 and X3 Sports Activity Vehicles and X6 Sports Activity Coupes. The BMW Group sales organization is represented in the U.S. through networks of 339 BMW passenger car and BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 139 BMW motorcycle retailers, 119 MINI passenger car dealers, and 34 Rolls-Royce Motor Car dealers. BMW (US) Holding Corp., the BMW Group’s sales headquarters for North America, is located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.