Bryan@mwerks was given the opportunity to test drive the upcoming (and mask taped) BMW X3 and has posted up the story @ Kilometer Magazine. Here are some excerpts from the article, but as always follow the jump to read the whole story
For 2011, the X3 grows up a bit, finally coming into its own as a true compact SUV instead of a jacked-up station wagon. Outright agility — while still very much important to the essence of any BMW — takes a back seat to, well, back seat comfort, cargo space, ride quality and general sophistication. Think of the next X3 as a leaner, lighter, less expensive X5 and you’ll get idea.
Open a door and step inside the new X3 — even in pre-production trim — and you’ll see it shares none of its predecessor’s cheapish materials or designs. All of the surfaces are finished to the same standard as the current 3-series. Gone forever is the pop-up navigation screen, replaced with a high-resolution display on all models controlled by standard fourth-generation iDrive for the entertainment system, Bluetooth phone and vehicle settings.
Despite going on a diet, the new X3 is considerably stiffer than the outgoing model. This additional structural rigidity, which was immediately noticeable on our rural backroads drive, gave the chassis engineers greater latitude in tuning the suspension for improved passenger comfort. The setup is essentially the same as the current 3-series wagon with xDrive — MacPherson struts up front, multi-link in the rear — but geometrically optimized and tuned specifically for Sport Activity duty. It’s still a firm-riding vehicle, but there’s a more supple quality to small, low-speed bumps, and less suspension noise in the cabin as well. Three-mode Dynamic Damper Control (Normal, Sport and Sport+) will be offered as part of the sport package, allowing the driver to dial in an even firmer ride at the push of a button.
In our short time on the rural rain-soaked roads south of Munich, we got a pretty good sense that the new X3 will be every bit a BMW in the driving dynamics department. Brakes, as usual, are large enough for the job, and the boost has been dialed down a little compared to the old version for more direct feedback and modulation.
Of perhaps greater interest is a third powertrain option that BMW is said to be considering. While no one will officially confirm or deny any of our speculations, there are a lot of winks and nods when we suggest the X3 could be the right candidate for a four-cylinder turbo engine. Whether that engine burns diesel or gasoline is still up for debate, but we know first-hand how good the 200-horsepower 2.0-liter twin-turbo diesel is in the 320d, and it couldn’t hurt BMW’s CAFE numbers any. Keep your fingers crossed.
Read the whole story here: http://kilometermagazine.com/artman2...11_BMW_X3.html