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We've been hearing about it for years, and now the second-generation BMW X3 has arrived for the 2011 model year. Offered in two model options, there's an xDrive28i model with BMW's traditional inline-six making 240-hp and 230 ft-lbs of torque, as well as an xDrive35i model using the company's single turbo N55 straight-six to make 300-hp and 300 ft-lbs of torque. BMW claims the 28i model will hit 60 mph in 6.7 seconds, while the top-tier 35i model will do the sprint in an incredibly fast 5.5 seconds.

Improved acceleration and fuel economy (although no numbers have been released) are also the result of a new 8-speed automatic transmission, operated via BMW's joystick-style gear shifter.

In terms of size, the 2011 X3 has grown a reasonable amount, even if it looks mostly identical to the outgoing model. The new (F25) X3 is 3.36-inches longer, 1.1-inches wider and provides roughly half an inch of extra ground clearance. Interior room has been increased with 19 cubic feet of rear cargo space and 56.6 cu-ft with the rear seats folded flat.

A new third-generation xDrive system now features Performance Control, that not only allows for power to be split front-to rear with up to 80 percent distributed to the rear tires, but also side-to-side in the rear, helping reduce understeer and drive like a proper BMW.

Also of note is the inclusion of BMW's Driving Dynamics Control selector, that allows for three different settings (Normal, Sport and Sport Plus) to adjust the throttle response, transmission shift points, steering assist, stability control and suspension firmness.

The interior is typically BMW with a Spartan take on luxury, while the easy-to-use fourth-generation iDrive system features a huge 8.8-inch LCD screen.

Design changes you can see for yourself in the massive gallery of photos below, with a more slab-fronted design in keeping with the rest of the new BMW lineup, with larger kidney grilles and LED lights can be found out back.

The 2011 BMW X3 will go on sale towards the end of the year.

More: 2011 BMW X3 Adds Size and Sport – Particuarly With 300-hp xDrive35i Model on
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