The BMW X3 was last redesigned for 2011. Some visual changes join significant interior updates, particularly among the dashboard’s center controls. But the biggest news may be the diesel X3 xDrive28d, which is the first time we’ve seen a diesel X3 in the U.S. There’s also a new rear-wheel-drive version of the four-cylinder gasoline X3, called the sDrive28i.
The most significant styling change comes to the X3’s headlights. They adopt a similar framework to the larger X5’s headlights. BMW says the front and rear bumpers are new, as are the headlights, grille and side mirrors. LED headlights are optional.
BMW says overall length has grown just 1 centimeter. A new xLine Package adds metallic bumper inserts, aluminum side cladding, bars across the air intakes and more underbody work in the front and rear. An M Sport Package, meanwhile, adds some aerodynamic enhancements and 19- or 20-inch alloy wheels.
In back, BMW’s new Smart Opener allows you to wave your foot under the bumper to open the power tailgate, similar to a feature in the Ford Escape.
The redesigned center controls feature BMW’s black-panel display with a dark finish and illuminated icons. BMW’s latest iDrive controller governs the action on a 6.5- inch dashboard display.
The five-seat interior has 27.6 cubic feet of cargo room, with 63.3 cubic feet available with the seats folded down. That beats the Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class and the Audi Q5, though only with the rear seats folded, but the Lexus RX still rules the roost with 40 and 80.3 cubic feet with the rear seats up and down, respectively.
The diesel xDrive28d employs a turbocharged diesel four-cylinder that makes 180 horsepower and 280 pounds-feet of torque. The sDrive28i and xDrive28i have a turbo 2.0-liter gasoline four-cylinder with 240 hp and 260 pounds-feet of torque, while the xDrive35i’s turbo 3.0-liter six-cylinder makes 300 hp and 300 pounds-feet of torque. The X3’s eight-speed automatic transmission includes paddle shifters in M Sport versions. A drivetrain controller includes an Eco Pro mode, which purports to improve real-world gas mileage.