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BMW X3 xDrive35d & xDrive20i revealed: UK gets X3 xDrive35d

Sat, 06 Aug 2011

2012 BMW X3

Update: UK specs and prices added at the bottom – thanks BMW UK.

The new BMW X3 is turning in to something of a star for BMW, as we discovered when we recently reviewed the latest X3, but the reveal of the 2012 BMW X3 X3 xDrive35d for the UK should make the X3 even more appealing.

BMW has actually revealed two new X3s for 2012, but the UK won’t be getting the X3 xDrive20i because BMW UK has decreed that X3s in the UK are going to be diesel only.

On balance we understand that point of view, but we would have thought the entry-level petrol might have some appeal here. The linearity of a petrol engine, even a small one like this, has an appeal a diesel can never have.

The  X3 xDrive20i is powered by a 2.0 litre 4-pot twin-scroll turbo with direct injection and plenty of clever stuff like variable cams and valvetronic to deliver 181bhp and 199lbs/ft of torque. It comes as standard with a six-speed manual but you can opt for the excellent 8-speed auto.

But perhaps BMW UK feels the new X3 xDrive20i is just too close in terms of performance and power to the xDrive 20d (well, the same power but the xDrive 20d has 50% more torque) and would perhaps just take sales from the xDrive 20d, rather than adding to them.

What we most certainly are getting is the 2012 BMW X3 xDrive35d, a range-topping X3 with the most powerful engine so far in the X3 (until an X3M in 2012/2013 - don’t bet against it) in the 3.0 litre six-pot TwinPower Turbo. It delivers 309bhp and a very healthy 465lbs/ft of torque.

All that power gets mated to the latest 8-speed auto with eco-toys like stop-start, and the clever two-stage turbocharging ensures economy at gentle throttle inputs by using the small turbo whilst running compressed air through the large turbo to ‘prime’ it, so when you develop a lead foot the large turbo kicks in without any delay to deliver some serious boost. It’s a bit like having your cake and eating it.

For some reason BMW hasn’t sent us any performance or economy information for X3 xDrive35d. But we can probably guesstimate. We’d expect the  X3 xDrive35d to offer a 0-60mph of around 6.1 seconds, combined economy of just about the right side of 40mpg and CO2 under 200g/km. Price? £40k, or thereabouts.

New models covered, BMW has also improved a few bits across the X3 range with the Auto Hold adding auto-release for the electric hand brake (not one of our favourite toys), the ConnectedDrive gets more features and you can now get everyone’s current favourite trim finish - High-gloss Black.

We liked the X3 xDrive20d a lot. I think we’re going to really like the X3 xDrive35d.


BMW X3 xDrive35d: £40,205 BMWX3 xDrive35d M Sport: £42,225

Fuel Consumption

Urban: 42.2mpg Extra urban: 48.7mpg Combined: 46.3mpg

CO2 162g/km


0-60mph: 5.8secs

Top Speed: 149mph

By Cars UK