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BMW released official pics and information of its much-anticipated baby off-roader, the X3.
With the new X3, BMW expands successful X-family. The 2004 BMW X3 combines the outstanding agility of a typical BMW with the wide range of uses offered by a Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV).
This represents the first premium offering in the class of SAVs beneath the X5, and comes to market to conquer the world's roads both on and off the beaten track.
The BMW X3 will make its debut at this year's Frankfurt Motor Show in September.
The BMW X3 combines the characteristic proportions of a Sports Activity Vehicle with both classic and new BMW design characteristics.
The modern design language with interacting concave and convex surfaces gives the X3 a youthful and fresh appearance.
Its unique position within the BMW model series is underlined by a wide range of characteristic features such as the newly interpreted, classic "Hofmeister kink" in the rear side windows, the newly designed double kidney grille, as well as the headlights and rear lights.
The long wheelbase with short overhangs and the sloping roofline accentuate the dynamic character and performance of this Sports Activity Vehicle right from the start.
Strong flared wheel arches and the striking front section emphasises the self-confident personality of this newcomer which makes a positive impression in every environment.
Dynamic performance is ensured by BMW's 3.0-litre straight-six petrol and diesel power units widely lauded for their truly outstanding refinement and performance.
Developing a maximum output of 170 kW, the agile X3 3.0i is specified with a top speed of up to 210km/h in standard trim, and can reach up to 224 km/h with its optionally available high-speed set-up (available with Sports Package).
The recently introduced straight-six turbodiesel with second-generation common rail direct injection develops a maxi?mum output of 150 kW in the X3 and propels this outstanding Sports Activity Vehicle with a supreme 410 Nm maximum torque.
Again, top speed in standard trim is specified up to 210 km/h, and can reach a maximum of up to 218km/h with high-speed set-up.
Both models come standard with a six-speed manual gearbox, a five-speed automatic transmission being available as an option. Other engine variants will follow one after the other.
A special highlight of the BMW X3 is the newly developed intelligent xDrive all-wheel-drive system which sets new standards in agility for all-wheel-drive vehicles.
xDrive allows infinitely adjustable and fully variable distribution of torque front-to-rear, the system immediately recognises any need for a change in power distribution and responds very quickly, when driving on-road often before the wheels begin to lose their grip.
As a result, the X3 is able to feed optimum torque to the respective axle at any time during dynamic cornering , significantly minimising both under- and oversteer in the process.
On the road xDrive therefore offers a substantial improvement in agility and driving plea?sure and, at the same time, safety. Stability management systems such as DSC can intervene at a far later point in time than with conventional four-wheel drive.
xDrive also ensures better grip and traction on slippery or rough terrain, transmitting power as quickly as possible to the wheels with better grip when a wheel might start to spin and thus eventually interrupt the flow of traction.
The versatility of the new BMW X3 is by no means limited to the wide range of different road conditions and terrain on which this SAV demonstrates its agility and dynamic performance.
Also the interior and the wide range of available equipment make this the ideal BMW for active, versatile personalities.
From the "command position" - the high, characteristic seating position in a BMW Sports Activity Vehicle - the occupants not only see the surroundings from a pleasant and clear perspective, but also enjoy a very modern and very spacious interior.
Typical BMW elegance and aesthetics combine with a wide range of practical details and a youthful sporty ambience appropriate to the vehicle character.
An equally broad range of both classic as well as sporty, modern materials and colours offers unique possibilities to personalise the interior of the new X3.
In the cockpit the two circular dials are grouped together in typical BMW style in an elegant binnacle. And right in the middle of the instrument panel the driver will find the optional 16:9 navigation system colour monitor, which flips up automatically whenever required.
Lots of space is to be found behind the wide-opening and convenient rear hatch door, plenty of room for all kinds of sports gear - such as mountain bikes - and naturally lots of other things.
Numerous storage compartments then round off the high functionality of the X3, and for those who want to transport even larger sports equipment, BMW's unique trailer stability control offers safer towing of boat and other trailers.
This extension of the DSC stability control system naturally comes as standard, just like automatic HDC Hill Descent Control for driving downhill safely even on loose or slippery surfaces.
In developing the X3, BMW also focused in particular on active and passive safety of the highest standard. The engineering principle of BMW's Sports Activity Vehicles - the front drive shaft extending through the oil sump - gives the X3 a very low centre of gravity and reduces body roll in the process.
xDrive's intelligent distribution of torque helps keep the X3 very stable and sure-footed even in fast bends, so that many critical situations do not occur right from the outset. And should they all the same, DSC Dynamic Stability Control will intervene to help stabilise the vehicle.
The new BMW X3 will be available in Europe and North America from the beginning of next year and will land in South Africa in July 2004.
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