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Below the Surface, 2015 BMW X3 Changes Substantially

By: Jeff Youngs, 2/11/2014
BMW chose to announce a major mid-life update to its X3 Sports Activity Vehicle at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show, and while the vehicle's styling modifications are modest, the changes under the crossover SUV's sheetmetal are significant.

The big news is the addition of a new 2015 BMW X3 xDrive28d model to the lineup, equipped with a turbocharged, 2.0-liter, clean-diesel 4-cylinder engine that is rated to make 180 horsepower and a whopping 280 lb.-ft. of torque, the latter available at just 1,750 rpm. BMW will charge a premium of $2,100 for the turbo-diesel engine, compared with the cost of the X3 xDrive28i.

Another new, entry-level model joins the lineup, pushing the base price of a 2015 BMW X3 below $40,000. The X3 sDrive28i is rear-wheel drive, an acknowledgement by BMW that perhaps not all of its customers need--or want--standard all-wheel drive. According to the automaker, this version of the X3 can accelerate to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds.

In other news, the 2015 X3 will be offered in new xLine and M Sport trim packages. The xLine treatment gives the X3 a more rugged appearance, while the M Sport model adds a sport transmission with paddle shifters, sport suspension, sport steering, sport seats, larger wheels and tires, and a unique look inside and out.

New paint colors, wheel designs, interior hues, and trim pieces are also offered for the new 2015 X3, as well as LED headlights, LED fog lights, and LED turn signal indicators embedded into the side mirror housings. The power tailgate features a Smart Opener hands-free system, and a new Parking Assistant system automatically steers the X3 into an available parallel parking space while the driver operates the pedals and transmission.

BMW also upgrades the technology it installs in the 2015 X3. A new black panel display climate control system is standard, along with a next-generation iDrive system with fingertip character entry capability and an Eco Pro driving mode that decouples the transmission from the engine when the SUV is coasting in order to conserve fuel. Options include a next-generation navigation system, new full-color head-up display, and BMW ConnectedDrive Services and Apps technology.

BMW provides free a 10-year subscription to BMW Assist eCall service that can automatically summon emergency responders when the X3's air bags deploy. Select the optional Active Driving Assistant package and the X3 is equipped with a Frontal Collision Warning and City Collision Mitigation system, pedestrian warning system, lane-departure warning system, and an Active Cruise Control system with Stop & Go capability.

For full details on the updated and upgraded 2015 BMW X3, please read the full preview discussing the new SUV. The new X3 goes on sale in the spring of 2014.

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