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January 2012
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Vehicle Profile: The 2012 BMW X3 Overview
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Vehicle Profile: The 2012 BMW X3 Overview
The ultimate Sport Activity Vehicle.

BMW launched the premium Sport Activity Vehicle (SAV) segment. Since then, the X3 lineup has become a bestseller for BMW, and the segment has grown considerably. BMW redesigned the X3 from the ground up just last year – delivering more room, more power, more luxury, better fuel economy and new technology. The 2012 BMW X3 continues the model’s winning ways, offering a broader range of standard and available features than ever before.
The X3 is a premium compact crossover that sprints and corners like a hot hatchback while offering seating for five and 63.3 cubic feet of maximum cargo space. The 2012 X3 also serves as a technology benchmark in this segment, boasting such standard and available features as Brake Energy Regeneration, the fourth-generation iDrive system, USB/iPod adapter and Bluetooth® hands-free calling.
BMW offers the matchless 2012 X3 in two trim levels: The X3 xDrive28i (MSRP $37,100) and the turbocharged X3 xDrive35i.
Powering the X3 xDrive28i is a composite aluminum/magnesium inline six-cylinder displacing 3.0 liters. A two-time Ward’s 10 Best Engines of the Year selection, the 3.0-liter six uses Valvetronic and Double VANOS variable valve timing to deliver a responsive and refined 240 hp and 221 lb/ft of torque.
Drivers with a penchant for more power can opt for the X3 xDrive35i and its twin-scroll turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder. Boasting a class-leading 300 hp and 300 lb/ft of torque, the six-cylinder turbo delivers acceleration runs from zero-to-60 mph in just 5.5 seconds and returns an EPA-estimated 26 mpg on the highway.
Contributing to the responsive power and exemplary efficiency of the X3 is its standard eight-speed automatic transmission – a paragon of swift, whisper-quiet shifts that offers “Sport” and “Manual” modes. True to its nomenclature, the X3 also features standard xDrive Intelligent All-Wheel Drive with Dynamic Stability Control. Under normal driving conditions, the xDrive system splits torque delivery 40/60 between the front and rear axles. When roads turn slick, the torque split is limitlessly variable with up to 100 percent of torque delivered to either axle for confident performance.
The X3 also serves as a showcase of standard driver-assistance technology with Hill Descent Control leading a list that also includes Servotronic vehicle-speed-sensitive power steering, four-wheel anti-lock brakes with Dynamic Brake Control and Dynamic Cruise Control. Optional driver aids include Performance Control, which maintains a rear-drive torque bias for sportier handling, and Dynamic Damper Control, a system that automatically adjusts the firmness of the suspension to match road conditions and afford the perfect ride (both items are part of the Dynamic Handling Package). Also available to help the driver are Park Distance Control and a rear view camera.
In every segment it occupies, BMW represents uncompromising performance and tasteful luxury. The X3 fulfills that equation with premium standard and available amenities, starting with a new black high-gloss interior trim, eight-way power front seats, automatic climate control and a three-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel with controls for the audio, cruise control and Bluetooth wireless systems. On the X3 xDrive35i, the roster of standards broadens to include a panoramic moonroof with power slide and lift, Xenon headlights, and a sport steering wheel.
The standard AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system features 12 speakers, a 205-watt digital amplifier, iPod and USB connectivity and HD Radio. The optional Premium Sound Package includes the Hi-Fi System which ups the ante with 600 watts, 16 speakers, 5.1 Surround Sound and a 12-month subscription to SIRIUS Satellite Radio.
Available as part of the Technology Package, the Navigation System with Real Time Traffic Information features an 8.8-inch high-resolution trans-reflective screen (the largest onboard monitor in this class). Other desirableoptions include an anthracite headliner and 19-inch Double Spoke alloy wheels (Sport Activity Package), ambiance lighting and leather upholstery(Premium Package), a full-body aero kit and M Sport leather steering wheel with paddleshifters (M Sport Package) and a heated steering wheel (Cold Weather Package).
When you climb behind the wheel of the X3, your safety and that of your family is paramount. That’s why BMW outfitted its bestselling SAV with an abundance of passive and active technology governed by the Advanced Safety System. Automatic front safety-belt pretensioners and active front-seat head restraints, plus dual-threshold, dual-stage deployment front and front-door-mounted side-impact airbags are included. Available cutting-edge safety technologies include Adaptive Headlights, a Rear View Camera and a Head-up Display, which projects information such as vehicle speed on the lower portion of the windshield for undistracted viewing.
The editors at Car and Driver magazine wrote that the redesigned X3 “combines compact crossover convenience and versatility with much of the goodness of the car that remains the brand’s best model, the 3 Series.” Come do your own evaluation of the new 2012 BMW X3 SAV by scheduling a test drive.


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