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June 18, 2003
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BMW raises the curtain on new X3 Sports Activity Vehicle

First premium Sports Activity Vehicle in its class

Photo: BMW

  • xDrive as standard: new intelligent four-wheel-drive technology

  • Standard Hill Descent Control (HDC) and optional Trailer Stability Control (TSC)

  • Sporting and versatile on and off-road

  • World debut at Frankfurt Motor Show in September

Munich - BMW has announced first details of its new X3 model. Expanding the BMW X-family, this dynamic and versatile new model combines the outstanding agility of a BMW saloon with the practicality of a Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV).


The X3 introduces BMW's patented xDrive intelligent four-wheel-drive, which sets new standards in agility for all-wheel-drive systems. It works by changing torque distribution from front-to-rear axles in an instant, offering substantial improvements in stability, driving pleasure and safety.


xDrive is both fully adjustable and infinitely variable. It feeds optimum torque to the required axle at any time, countering understeer and oversteer while cornering on road. Off-road, xDrive significantly improves traction by distributing drive forces to the axle with most grip. As soon as wheel spin threatens, the electro-hydraulic centre coupling transfers power to the axle with greater traction.

Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) complements xDrive, but intervenes far later and is required less frequently. While xDrive, helps prevent loss of traction by channelling drive forces axle-to-axle, DSC works on individual wheels, intervening when one starts to slip. In these circumstances DSC cuts power to the relevant wheel and, where necessary, also applies brakes.


In appearance the BMW X3 combines the characteristic proportions of a Sports Activity Vehicle with classic and innovative design. Concave and convex surfaces give the X3 a fresh and youthful look that underpins a range of trademark BMW design features. The X3 has a pronounced "Hofmeister kink" in the rear side windows and a newly designed double kidney grille complements the X3?s headlamps. At the back, the car also sports distinctive X3 rear lights.

A long wheelbase with short overhangs and roof line sloping down to the rear frame the dynamic character and performance of the car. Flared wheel arches, and a striking front end give the newcomer its muscular character and underline its strong road presence.


Although UK engine line-ups are still to be finalised, performance will come courtesy of a range of petrol and diesel engines. This includes BMW's 3.0-litre petrol which develops maximum output of 231 bhp. The agile X3 3.0i reaches a top speed of up 130 mph in standard trim, going even further to 139 mph with its optional high-speed set-up - included in the Sports Package.

Recently introduced, the 3.0-litre straight-six turbo diesel with second-generation common rail direct injection, develops a maximum output of 204 bhp and propels this outstanding new model to 410 Nm maximum torque. Top speed in standard trim is 130 mph, or 135 mph with high-speed set-up. Both models come standard with a six-speed manual gearbox, with five-speed automatic available as an option.


The versatility of the new BMW X3 is by no means limited to the on and off-road conditions on which it will thrive. Inside, equipment levels make this the ideal BMW for the individuals who revel in an active lifestyle.

Owners will enjoy superior lofty views thanks to the command driving position while the interior features a broad range of classic and modern materials, colours and options to personalise the X3. The cockpit houses two circular dials, grouped in typical BMW style in an elegant binnacle. In the middle of the instrument panel, drivers will find the optional 16:9 navigation system colour monitor which appears automatically when needed.

With tailgate open, the X3 reveals capacious storage space, enabling the driver to carry all kinds of sports gear. A number of handy storage compartments are also included, while for those who need to pull something really big - a boat for example - BMW offers Trailer Stability Control for safe motoring when towing. This option is an extension of DSC and complements automatic Hill Descent Control (HDC) for safe downhill driving, even on loose ground.


In developing the X3, BMW focused in particular on developing the highest standards of active and passive safety. Key design principles include extending the front drive shaft through the oil sump, giving the X3 a very low centre of gravity, reducing body roll for outstanding comfort and stability. And, of course, with intelligent power distribution, xDrive keeps the X3 stable and sure-footed even in fast bends.

(June 17, 2003)

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