Breaking down barriers and exceeding expectations – attributes common to every model in the BMW stable and none more so than the new 2013 BMW X3 Sport Activity Vehicle. From establishing the very segment it dominates to defying preconceptions about the driving dynamics of compact crossovers, the X3 keeps on blazing new trails – giving buyers substantial room, nimble handling, abundant power, premium luxury and surprising versatility, all in a captivating streamlined package. This year, the X3 offers greater value and increased fuel economy thanks to a new twin-turbocharged four-cylinder engine.
Year in and year out, the X3 earns bestseller status for the legendary marquee from Bavaria, and its position at the head of the SAV pack comes as no surprise. Undergoing a full redesign just two model years ago, the X3 continues to evolve, constantly riding the cutting-edge in terms of technology. Consider that such innovative features as electric power steering, brake energy regeneration and a Automatic Start/Stop system are offered as standard equipment, and you won’t be surprised to learn that the 2013 BMW X3 boasts a new small-displacement four-cylinder motor engineered to rival the power of far thirstier V6 powerplants.
BMW offers the five-seat X3 in two versions: the xDrive28i (MSRP: $38,500) and the xDrive35i (MSRP: $43,600).
Representing the latest phase of the eco-conscious BMW EfficientDynamics strategy, a new 2.0-liter TwinPower turbocharged four-cylinder takes its place under the hood of the xDrive28i. With 240 hp on tap, the new turbo-four matches the output of last year’s normally aspirated 3.0-liter inline-six, while raising combinedfuel economy to 24 mpg.
Along with a twin-scroll turbocharger, the use of direct injection and VALVETRONIC variable valve timing help to deliver off-the-line punch -- with maximum torque of 260 lb/ft (up from 221 lb/ft) peaking at a low 1,250 rpm and holding fast all the way to 4,800 rpm. Stay on the throttle and you’ll reach 60 mph from a standstill in 6.6 seconds, ideal for stress-free merging from highway on-ramps.
Buyers looking to pour on the power will want to step up to the xDrive35i with its turbocharged version of the venerable 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder – praised throughout the automotive world as the pinnacle of smooth responsiveness. A perfect balance of 300 hp and 300 lb/ft of torque delivers sportscar-quick acceleration runs from zero-to-60 mph in just 5.5 seconds. There’s another bonus: This road-rocket crossover returns up to 26 mpg on the highway.
Both models channel power through a slick Steptronic eight-speed automatic transmission, which features Adaptive Transmission Control as well as Sport and Manual shift modes. Of course the “x” in xDrive represents the crossover’s standard all-wheel-drive system with Dynamic Stability Control. While maintaining a rear-wheel-drive bias for sportier performance on dry roads, the xDrive system can send up to 100 percent of torque to either axle to improve grip under slippery conditions.
A bevy of driver-assistance technology sharpens the over-the-road agility of the X3 to a fine edge. Optional dynamic damping control optimizes suspension settings at each wheel for the perfect ride. Hill Descent Control uses the ABS brakes to maintain a predetermined speed when driving down a steep decline, allowing the driver to focus on steering. New for 2013, the available Driver Assistance Package now includes the Lane Departure Warning system, which issues an alert if the X3 should start to drift into the next lane.
Legendary BMW luxury is served on the X3 with an impressive slate of amenities. The base xDrive28i offers such standards as automatic climate control, eight-way power-adjustable front seats, a power tailgate, halogen free-form foglights, chrome exhaust tips and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with controls for audio, cruise control and Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free use of mobile phones. Step up to the range-topping xDrive35i and the list broadens to include a Panoramic Moonroof with power slide and lift control, Xenon Adaptive Headlights and LED Adaptive Brakelights
On the infotainment technology front, the X3 features a standard 12-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 sound system with a 205-watt digital amplifier and auxiliary audio input adapter. True audiophiles will crave the available Premium Sound Package including the 16-speaker premium sound system with 600-watt digital amplifier, 5.1 surround sound and a courtesy one-year subscription to SIRIUS Satellite Radio.
The award-winning iDrive telematics system offers intuitive control over a variety of systems including phone, navigation, entertainment and vehicle information. To help keep driver attention on the road ahead, iDrive operates through a (only 8.8 if Nav is equipped) glare-free high-resolution display screen, complemented by buttons mounted in the central console.
A host of packages allow buyers to build the X3 of their dreams. The tally includes a wide palette of leather-and-trim combinations (Premium Package), Park Distance Control and Rear View Camera with Top View (Technology Package) and Sport Seats, Anthracite Headliner and a full body aerodynamic kit with body-color exterior trim (M Sport Package).
The spectrum of active and passive safety equipment on the X3 rivals its comprehensive list of luxury and convenience features – topped by front-door-mounted side-impact air bags and active head restraints on the front seats. Utility takes a front-seat as well as the X3 provides 56.6 cubic feet of cargo capacity with the split-folding rear bench lowered.
There’s only one compact sport activity vehicle that makes no compromises in terms of luxury, versatility, agility and power while dramatically reducing your need to make stops at the pump, and that’s the founding member of the segment – the new 2013 BMW X3.