|  First Published: March 2005

BMW’s new X3 combines the agility of a typical BMW with the broad range of practical benefits offered by a Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV).

BMW’s straight-six petrol engines ensure dynamic motoring in all conditions. Developing maximum output of 170kW and 300Nm of torque, the agile X3 3.0i reaches a top speed in standard trim of 210 km/h.

Ground clearance is 201mm, even with a driver aboard, the approach and departure angles are 26.1º and 23.6º respectively, and ramp over is 19º. Fording depth is 500mm and the X3 can set off on a 33% gradient. The X3 2.5i develops maximum output of 141kW and 245Nm of torque and has a top speed of 208km/h. The 3.0-litre six-cylinder sprints the X3 to 100km/h from rest in just 8.1 seconds, consuming just 12.1 litres / 100 km.

The 3.0i comes with a five-speed automatic Steptronic gearbox while the X3 2.5i has a choice of either a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic Steptronic transmission.

The new xDrive all-wheel-drive system allows infinite, fully variable distribution of drive forces between the front and rear axle, the system immediately recognising the need for a change in power distribution and responding quickly. This enables xDrive to transmit optimum drive power to the respective axle at all times, even when taking a bend at speed.

On the road xDrive offers a significant improvement of agility, driving pleasure and safety. It has a lowered centre of gravity, and the low CoG helps limit body roll with without compromising ground clearance. The Tyre Pressure Indicator (TPI) constantly compares wheel speed to monitor air pressure in the tyres.

The X3’s on-board computer monitors time, outside temperature (with a black ice warning when temperatures drop below 3ºC, average fuel consumption, the distance-to-empty, and average speed. The optional 16:9 colour monitor for the navigation system pops up when required. The X3 also comes with the Car and Key Memory personalisation functions.

The X3 offers substantial, useable storage space in the rear access by a lift-up full-length tailgate. Up to 1560 litres (500kg) is available. The X3 2.5i can tow a braked trailer weighing up to 1700kg, while the 3.0i can tow up to 1800kg. BMW’s Trailer Stability Control ensures safe driving conditions.

The BMW X3 also features Brake Force Display, which warns following drivers that the BMW in front is stopping more rapidly than usual, providing extra reaction time. Optional features include a large panorama roof and Adaptive Headlights.

Prices start from around $69,850 for the manual 2.5i model (excludes on-road costs). For more information or to see a dealer list visit www.bmw.com.au. - BMW

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