2018 BMW X3: This one avoids the immigration debate – STLtoday.com


In announcing its latest crossover, BMW — right out of the chute — makes clear this SUV’s origins: “The all-new 2018 BMW X3,” reads the opening line of the official press release, “was unveiled today at BMW Plant Spartanburg, S.C., where it will be produced … “

Obviously, the folks at BMW want to make sure the first thing you know about the new X3 is it’s made in America.

Now you know.

Oh, they also want you to know, equipped with a turbocharged straight six, it will greet 60 mph in a best-in-class 4.6 seconds.

Another American in a hurry.

Fully redesigned for 2018, this third-generation X3 is offered as the four-cylinder xDrive30i and the six-cylinder M40i. Each boasts standard all-wheel drive.

30i is motivated by a 2.0-liter turbo four that generates 248 hp — 8 more than X3′s old four-banger. M40i raises the cylinder count by two with its turbocharged, 3.0-liter straight six that produces 355 hp — 55 more than X3′s old six-pack. Each is managed by a standard eight-speed automatic.

Alas, the 2017 edition’s diesel option will not be offered in 2018.

Now in its third generation, X3′s styling continues to evolve. Sort of gangly in the 2004-2010 Generation 1, then leaner in the 2011-2017 Gen 2, this latest edition dons a more rugged wardrobe, riding a longer wheelbase (by 2.2 inches) under a nearly identical overall length. The result is a more planted presence, enhanced by short overhangs. Meanwhile, the trademark twin-kidney grille is now “three-dimensional” and, on M40i, the fenders flare a tad.

Oh, and for the first time ever — just so you know this crossover is a serious SUV — you can get a factory-installed trailer hitch.

In that tough-guy vein, off-pavement talent includes an 8-inch ground clearance, enhanced approach and departure angles (thanks to those short overhangs) and a lofty water-fording ability of 19.6 inches.

Inside, standard perks include sport front bucket seats with power-adjustable side bolsters, three-zone automatic climate control and a 40/20/40 split-folding rear seat with adjustable seat-back angles.

Standard safety nannies include “pre-crash accident detection,” which triggers occupant protection measures (i.e.: snugging seat belts), stability control, traction control, Hill Descent Control and various braking assists. On the options list is just about everything else: Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Active Blind Spot Protection, Lane Departure Warning, Daytime Pedestrian Protection, Frontal Collision Warning with Collision Mitigation, Cross Traffic Alert and more.

In the infotainment arena, not only smartphones, but smartwatches are compatible with the vehicle’s electronics, displayed on a new 10.25-inch touch screen.

Look for the all-new X3 — did we mention it’s built in the U.S.? — in November. No pricing yet, but, with now-standard all-wheel drive, a hike over the current base price of $41,045 is likely.


Dan Wiese is a freelance automotive writer. He is a regular contributor to the Post-Dispatch and to AAA Midwest Traveler magazine’s online Web Bonus. You can e-mail him at drivingwithdan@gmail.com


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