Vehicle Overview from Edmunds.com
Edmunds.com 2011 BMW X3 Overview
Compact luxury crossovers have only recently blossomed into a full-fledged market segment. Many manufacturers are now hoping to tap into consumers' desire for the features and comfort associated with luxury SUVs but without the big footprint and even bigger fuel bill. BMW has the right to be a little smug, however, as it debuted its pioneering X3 years ago. While new competitors have surpassed the original model in most respects, an all-new 2011 BMW X3 is hoping to climb back to the top of the segment it created. While the last X3 was built in Austria, the new model will be built in South Carolina alongside its X5 and X6 siblings, signifying a desire by BMW to increase its desirability and sales in the American market. To do that, the 2011 X3 will be bigger in all dimensions, growing to a size that's just a bit smaller than the original X5 midsize SUV. This will provide a welcome increase in interior space, both for people and their stuff. The 2011 X3 will be offered with a choice of two models that correspond to different engines. The xDrive28i will feature a naturally aspirated 3.0-liter inline-6, while the upgraded xDrive35i gets the same turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 that's standard on the X5. All-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission will be standard on both. Notably, the new X3 is lighter than the old model, which means you can expect quicker acceleration and better fuel economy. The X3 was always touted for its impressive handling, and the new model should carry on that mantle. Its lighter weight, greater rigidity and revised steering should make for an even more dynamically gifted small SUV. Yet the new X3's telling attribute will be its ride, as the previous model was known for being rather stiff. Early X3s were downright unpleasant. We'll have to wait for a full test to see how the 2011 BMW X3 stacks up to its competitors in this regard. Check back later for a full report of the 2011 BMW X3 with additional driving impressions, equipment information and buying advice.