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New BMW X3 more powerful

The BMW X3 gets newly conceived suspension technology, electric power steering and for the first time in an X model, variable sports steering, which will be optional in some markets.

Although the car has some links with the first-generation car, the newcomer borrows visual cues from the latest X models, gains more useable interior space and enhanced performance with a new range of engines.

BMW Australia spokesman, Piers Scott, says the newcomer is expected to arrive into local showrooms early next year.  Initially two engines will be available at launch in Europe, a 135kW 2.0-litre turbo-diesel and 225kW 3.0-litre petrol six, both adopting BMW's "efficient dynamics'' principles.

However, Scott believes that once the car arrives here, more engine variants will be available.  "But are really not in a position to confirm which variants they will be,'' he says. 

However, the company does plan other turbo-diesel and petrol engines and a hybrid version, which could also make it to Australia if right-hand drive hybrids are available.

Apart from new engines, some higher performance models will get a new eight-speed automatic.  Like BMW's sedan range, the new off-roader will get auto stop/start for the first time in conjunction with the six-cylinder engine as well as the eight-speed auto.

BMW's xDrive four-wheel drive technology is standard across the range with a "performance control'' function available.  The car gets newly conceived suspension technology, electric power steering and for the first time in an X model, variable sports steering, which will be optional in some markets.

It will also be the first X model with optional damper control and dynamic drive control.  The all-wheel drive splits torque 40:60 front-to-rear thanks to an electronically controlled multi-disc diff and a host of other techno features.

The MacPherson front struts have been redeveloped along with the multi-link rear suspension, while an optional electronic damping control adapts to the road and driver inputs.

Normal, Sport and Sport-Plus modes are mounted next to the gear selector. The Sport controls sharpen throttle response, transmission shifts, steering assist, DSC settings and suspension firmness.

The "performance control'' feature shuffles 80 per cent of the torque to the rear under steady acceleration.  Inside the cabin gets new materials and added versatility with a 40/20/40-split rear seat.

With the seats folded, the maximum luggage capacity is 1600 litres.  A range of BMW ConnectedDrive options will be available, including head-up display, internet access, reversing camera with top view.

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