BMW's all-new X3 SUV is ready to battle Audi and Mercedes

BMW's all-new X3 SUV is ready to battle Audi and Mercedes

Today, the 5-million-square-foot facility is tasked with assembling mid-size and compact crossover SUVs, including the all-new 2018 BMW X3.

If you want to add M-inspired goodies without having to put up with all that extra power, BMW will outfit your X3 with the M Sport Package, adding a new aerodynamic kit, darker trim pieces, and interior affects, including a new M Sport steering wheel. Mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, BMW claims the X3 can make the sprint to 60mph from a standstill in 6.0 seconds and reach a top speed of 130. We'll find out on Monday, but the 2018 X3 is expected to be a bit longer than the current model to give it more interior room.

The new BMW X3 is expected to be made official some time this week, although it looks like we have some photos of this new SUV ahead of the official reveal. Eight inches of ground clearance and an nearly Jeep Grand Cherokee-matching fording depth of 19.6 inches mean BMW hasn't completely abandoned the X3's ability to perform off-road. The nose is more rounded and features an enlarged grille. The all-new BMW X3 will doubtless be an impressive auto, but whether it can transcend BMW's core selling point strongly enough will be a question we will not be able to answer till we get behind the wheel later this year. A new, large dashtop mounted screen is the biggest change, featuring the latest iDrive infotainment system, while a majority of the smaller switchgear is all shared from other BMW models. There's the vent behind the front wheels, LED lighting both front and rear, and sharp character lines on the hood and along the side.

The biggest news at launch will be the X3's newly available Level 2 autonomous driving hardware. This includes adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, cross traffic alert, and frontal collision mitigation.

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Other options include a head-up display, the futuristic (if fairly large) Display Key and a smartphone app that can display a 3D view of the X3's surroundings.

Later on, we will see a plug-in hybrid baby [sibling] to the X5 xDrive40e with a 2.0-liter gasoline engine, as well as the first pure M X3 sporting a version of the M3's 3.0L straight-six with over 400 horses. Meanwhile, BMW has not announced a diesel engine for the new X3.

The all-new BMW X3 will be available with new engine options, ranging from the new B48 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder to the B58 3.0-litre turbo inline-six. Most buyers are likely to choose the xDrive20d, which will leave company-car customers liable for a Benefit-in-Kind rate of 28%. The xDrive30d starts at £44,380, while the M40i will be £51,280 when it arrives later.

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