2011 BMW X3 – First Look

By Christian Stampfer on 9 January 2011
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BMW introduced the first generation X3 Sports Activity Vehicle in 2003 at the 57th Internationale Automobil Ausstellung in Frankfurt.  Built in Graz, Austria, over 600,000 of the original X3s were sold, including 150,000 in the United States.  The last first-generation X3 was built on the last day of August last year and production of the next generation X3 started the very next day, albeit at a plant half a world away.

The new second-generation X3, code-named F25, officially premiered in U.S. and European markets at the beginning of November.  While it builds on the original X3’s strengths, the F25 X3 is completely new and is immediately recognizable as a BMW with a forward-slanting twin-kidney grill and bold contour lines that meet at the grill.  Typical of BMW’s Sports Activity Vehicles, the twin round headlights with round fog lamps form a pattern characteristic of the line.  Other familial traits include flared wheel arches with a short overhand both in front and in the rear.

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The new X3 is half an inch (12 mm) taller, 3.36” (83 mm) longer, and 1.1” (28 mm) wider.  Ground clearance has increased by half an inch (12 mm) and the 110.6” (2810 mm) wheelbase is 0.6 inches (15 mm) longer.

The X3’s interior is markedly improved from the previous generation, which had been criticized as Spartan and inelegant.  The driver-oriented cockpit is complemented by the Central Display in the center stack, which features an 8.8” high-resolution trans-reflective screen, making it the largest such display in its class.

Storage compartments, trays, and cup holders are located throughout the vehicle.  The cargo volume ranges from 19 to 56.6 cubic feet (550 to 1,600 liters), depending on whether one or both rear seats are folded down.  Optional rear seats with ski pass-through have three segments, making a variety of configurations possible.

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