What is it? After a long, seven-year run, the first-generation BMW small SUV is redesigned for 2011. BMW says it is an inch wider and has more interior room than before. The new version will come only with BMW's 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine mated to either a six-speed automatic or to the only six-speed manual transmission in a luxury SUV. All-wheel drive is standard. BMW says its engineers have worked on improving the quality of the interior and refining the X3's ride, which was previously a major sore point. BMW's optional Integrated Chassis Management system can electronically adjust the front and rear sway bars to stiffen them up when needed and soften them otherwise. BMW has set the base price at $39,725, undercutting the outgoing model.
What is new or notable? The X3s in other markets will be among the first BMWs to come equipped with the company's Auto Start Stop system that shuts off the engine to avoid idling--and restarts it immediately when needed. It is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. But that system isn't planned for the U.S. market.
When will it be available? January 2011