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BMW X3 facelift on the way

Family resemblance: BMW’s updated X3 features similar front-end styling to the new X5 and forthcoming X4 crossover.

Mid-life refresh for BMW’s X3 range brings styling tweaks and updated diesel engine

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BMW logo6 Feb 2014

By TIM NICHOLSON

BMW has released official images and details of its facelifted X3 that will go on sale locally in the third quarter, after pictures of the refreshed soft-roader leaked on the internet yesterday.

The mid-life refresh for the second-generation SUV brings with it a number of mechanical changes including the introduction of an updated 2.0-litre diesel powertrain, in addition to the expected cosmetic freshen-up.

BMW designers have restyled the nose by widening the kidney grille and extending the redesigned headlights so they join, matching the front end of the larger X5 and the imminent X4 sports crossover.

Further exterior changes include new front and rear bumpers and exterior mirrors with built-in indicators, new exterior colours and light-alloy wheel designs.

The German car-maker has tweaked the 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine in the xDrive20d, increasing power from 135kW to 140kW while maintaining the 380Nm torque figure from the outgoing model.

Fuel consumption for this variant has dropped from 5.6 litres per 100 kilometres on the combined cycle to 5.0-5.4L/100km when matched with the eight-speed automatic transmission, marking a 7.1 per cent improvement.

The 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol unit in the xDrive28i maintains its 180kW/350Nm output but fuel use is down from 7.5L/100km to 7.3-7.4L/100km.

Currently, BMW’s Australian X3 line-up is offered with a choice of a 135kW/380Nm four-cylinder diesel in xDrive20d variants, a 190kW/560Nm six-cylinder unit in the xDrive 30d and a TwinPower turbo four-cylinder petrol in different states of tune in the xDrive20i and xDrive28i.

In Europe, BMW offers a base diesel rear-wheel drive sDrive18d with a 110kW turbo-diesel engine with fuel consumption of 4.7-5.0L/100km when matched with a six-speed manual.

Upgrades to the cabin include chrome flourishes, new cup-holders with a sliding cover, a high-gloss black panels inserts for the optional automatic climate control system, new upholstery designs and interior trim strips.

BMW’s has added more features to its ConnectedDrive system for the mid-life update, including a new iDrive controller with an integrated touchpad allowing users to use their finger to dictate actions by text, as well as access to apps including Facebook, music platforms and internet radio.

Driver assistance options under the ConnectedDrive system include head-up display, anti-dazzle high-beam lights and a parking assistant, while the ‘Driving Assistant Plus’ adds active cruise control with BMW’s Stop and Go function and a lane departure warning.

Optional packages include the xLine which adds metallic bumper inserts, aluminium flourishes in the air intakes and side cladding, additional cloth and leather upholstery and exclusive 18- and 19-inch alloy wheels.

The M Sport package includes an aerodynamic package with high-gloss “Shadow Line” trim, a choice of six different body colours, and three alloy wheel designs, while cabin enhancements include sports seats in either cloth/leather or leather upholstery, while mechanical additions include an eight-speed sports automatic transmission, and altered sports steering and suspension.

Local specifications and pricing are expected before the launch of the updated X3 in June or July this year, which matches the launch timing of the mechanically related X4 crossover.

Pricing currently ranges from $59,000 plus on-road costs for the xDrive20i to $76,500 for the xDrive30d.

Last year, BMW sold 2855 X3s in Australia, marking a 14 per cent boost over its haul of 2500 units in 2012.

It was outsold last year by traditional rival, Audi’s Q5 (3044), but it did beat another contender in the small but competitive ‘medium SUV over $60,000’ segment: Land Rover’s Evoque (2595).

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