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BMW X3 and 5 Series 2007 Review

BMW adds its first four-cylinder diesel engine to the X3 and 5 Series range.

Since the introduction of diesel-powered vehicles began with the introduction of the X5 in 2003, BMW diesels have risen from just 671 vehicles to 3342 or 21 per cent of total sales.

In some models, such as the X5, it represents up to 70 per cent of sales.

Now BMW has added its first four-cylinder diesel engine to the X3 and 5 Series to bring its total diesel models to seven.

And, for the first time, they are the entry level vehicles in their range.

The X3 2.0d costs $62,900 and the 520d $79,900.

They join the 120d ($48,000), 320d ($56,700), 530d ($115,000), X3 3.0d ($75,900) and X5 3.0d ($96,300) with the most powerful diesel model, the 200kW/565Nm twin-turbo X5 3.0sd arriving early next year costing $102,800.

In Europe, BMW offers diesels in every model range except the Z4, including a new twin-turbo 210kW 645d coupe and convertible.

However, BMW Group Australia public relations and corporate communications manager Toni Andreevski said he could not foresee a 6 or 7 Series diesel coming to Australia as it was not what customers wanted.

The third-generation two-litre turbo diesel engine powering the X3 and 5 Series is a lightweight unit with an all-alloy block and cylinder head.

It produces 125kW of power and 320Nm of torque and on the national launch, along dusty roads in the Victorian wine district, the engine proved a worthy addition to the dynamic BMW range. Being lightweight, yet torquey, it does not make them nose heavy nor do they seem to be outweighed by the cars, even the 1750kg X3.

There was no dramatic understeer, while oversteer could be easily provoked past the corner's apex with a judicious amount of throttle, thanks to the torque on tap.

Fuel economy for the X3 is claimed to be 7litres/100km, but we recorded about 8l/100km on the launch, while the 520d is claimed to be 6.1 and we recorded 7.1.

They are still good figures considering the vigorous driving they copped on the launch.

BMW also claims the emissions from the vehicles are just 162g/km for the 520d and 185g/km for the X3 thanks to a particulate filter on the exhaust.

The engines are also particularly quiet and smooth, even at idle with the bonnet up.

There is the usual clattery sound, but it is not as loud or obnoxious as some other diesels because they are fitted with two balance shafts.

A few revs brings the noise down even further and, surprisingly, when given full throttle there is not the usual disharmonious double-sound.

Instead, there is a muted, almost V8 burble.

Both vehicles are mated to six-speed automatic transmissions, which are smooth and fast in auto or manual sequential mode.

The X3 comes with the same level of specification and equipment as the 2.5si petrol model which includes front and rear parking sensors, stability control, hill descent, six airbags, leather seats, rain sensing wipers, auto headlights, cruise control and more.

The 520d comes with eight airbags, Dakota leather, control display with colour monitor, USB connection for iPod and more.



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Range and Specs

X3 2.0D 2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $7,100 – 11,000 2007 BMW X Models 2007 X3 2.0D Pricing and Specs
X3 2.5SI 2.5L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $7,700 – 11,990 2007 BMW X Models 2007 X3 2.5SI Pricing and Specs
X3 3.0D 3.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $8,900 – 13,420 2007 BMW X Models 2007 X3 3.0D Pricing and Specs
X5 3.0D Executive 3.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $11,700 – 17,160 2007 BMW X Models 2007 X5 3.0D Executive Pricing and Specs
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