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BMW goes into xDrive
New model names highlight revised BMW X3 compact SUV range for 2009
3 Nov 2008
BMW X3 buyers will have to negotiate a maze of letters, numbers and words to order the upgraded and expanded 2009 model range being introduced in Australia from December.
Echoing the X6 model nomenclature, which we and many others have previously derided, BMW’s new compact SUV range now starts with the (deep breath) X3 xDrive20d Lifestyle Edition.
There are still four engines choices, but now there are two specification levels – Lifestyle Edition and Exclusive Edition – so the previous four-model range has also grown to eight.
The entry-level xDrive20d Lifestyle diesel model with its familiar 2.0-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine avoids the luxury car tax because of its low fuel economy (7.0L/100km) and is therefore priced from $61,830, which is $395 less than the X3 2.0d it replaces.
Changes are few and include a new leather-trimmed multi-function steering wheel, a different wheel design (but still 17-inch diameter), pearlescent interior chrome knobs, chrome exhaust tips and a graphite metallic finish to the kidney grille.
Left: X3 Exclusive Edition.
The $2900 Exclusive Edition package across the range will add 18-inch light alloy wheels, electric front seats with driver’s memory, front seat heating, bi-Xenon headlights with washers and an exterior lights package.
The two six-cylinder petrol models in the X3 range are the 2.5-litre xDrive25i Lifestyle at $69,157 (no change in price from the 2.5si), followed by the 3.0-litre xDrive30i Lifestyle at $74,877 (the same as the current 3.0si).
Topping the range is the 3.0-litre six-cylinder turbo-diesel xDrive30d Lifestyle at $76,996, which is unchanged from the current 3.0d because its price and consumption is too high to benefit from the government’s LCT exemption clause.
BMW has sold more than half a million X3s globally, including 5200 in Australia since it was launched here in July 2004.
The company claims there is still no direct rival to the X3 and that Australian sales have continued to grow, with local deliveries this year up by 15 per cent. However, in line with the luxury segment, September sales were down by 29 per cent on the same month in 2007.
BMW Australia marketing manager Tom Noble said he expects the latest update will help restore sales, especially with the lower price of the entry-level diesel.
“The new xDrive20d, with its sub-7.0-litres per 100km fuel economy, provides a deliciously tempting package for customers who want to avoid paying luxury car tax, yet still want to enjoy one of the most luxurious and competent all-wheel drive vehicles available,” said Mr Noble.
Read more:First Oz drive: Smaller diesel equals smaller price for BMW X3
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