One of the least likeable aspects of the second generation BMW X3 SUV was its bland-looking face, something that the Bavarians seem to have corrected with the facelift model that was presented today.
The makeover includes a new set of cleaner looking headlamps with available LED units that now extend to a more attention-grabbing and three-dimensional double kidney grille that work together with a reshaped front bumper.
A tweaked rear bumper, new exterior mirrors with integrated turn signals, plus a fresh choice of colors and alloy wheels options, round out the exterior revisions that bring the X3 more in line with the latest X5 as well as the 3- and 4-Series ranges.
Some modest updates were applied inside as well, such as the new chrome and high-gloss black applications on the dashboard and the redesigned center-console cupholders with a sliding cover.
There is also a new xLine equipment package, an updated iDrive, four new upholstery colors and four new interior trim strips, plus an optional Smart Opener for the automatic tailgate and storage package.
In regards to the powertrain revisions for the facelifted model and beginning with the U.S. market X3, BMW is enhancing the range with a diesel version in the form of the xDrive28d that gets its mojo from an 180hp 2.0-liter inline four and for the first time, the availability of a rear wheel drive only model, the 240hp sDrive28i.
The diesel-powered X3 xDrive28d comes with a standard 8-speed automatic transmission and can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph (96km/h) in just under eight seconds, while the rear-wheel drive petrol-powered X3 sDrive28i does the same in 6.2 seconds. Fuel economy figures have not yet been announced.
BMW said the updated 2015 X3 will arrive in U.S. dealerships this spring with prices starting from $39,325 for the RWD X3 sDrive28i. The 240hp X3 xDrive28i will have an MSRP of $40,725; the 180hp X3 xDrive28d diesel will start at $42,825 and the range-topping 300hp X3 xDrive35i at $45,825, with all aforementioned prices including a $925 destination and handling charge.
Moving onto the European market model, the X3 LCI (BMW talk for mid-cycle facelift) premieres a new 2.0-liter diesel unit rated for 190PS (188hp) on the xDrive20d that returns a combined cycle fuel consumption of as low as 5.0l/100km (equal to 47mpg US / 56.5mpg UK). BMW says the new 2.0-liter inline-four diesel gains 6hp in output while the fuel consumption of the automatic version is 7.1 per cent lower than that of its predecessor.
Depending on the country, the European X3 will be available from launch with a selection of four diesel and three petrol engines, with outputs ranging from 150PS (148hp) for the sDrive18d diesel to 313PS (309hp) for the xDrive35i with a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six petrol. In the UK, the new X3 will be offered exclusively with diesel engines.
By John Halas