BMW's first-generation X3 wasn't terribly well received by the automotive press, and to top it off, was priced higher than its later competition. BMW fixed both of these problems with the new 2011 model as the ride, handling, and interior have all improved and the base price has dropped a not insignificant $2100 to $37,625.
For this money, buyers will get the base X3 xDrive28i with BMW's 240-horsepower, normally-aspirated, 3.0-liter I-6. The six-speed manual option is gone, replaced with a standard eight-speed automatic transmission. BMW claims this powertrain setup will propel the new X3 from a standstill in 6.7 seconds, around half-a-second better than the outgoing model.
For just over $4000 more, buyers can order the xDrive35i with BMW's excellent updated N55, single-turbo, 3.0-liter I-6. In X3-spec, the engine produces the same 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque as seen throughout BMW's lineup. Like the xDrive28i, the only transmission offered on the xDrive35i is an eight-speed automatic.
Those looking for even more performance can spring for the new Dynamic Handling package, which includes Driving Dynamics Control and Performance Control. The system works with the stability control system to eliminate both understeer and oversteer by using individual wheel braking and slight throttle modulations to hold the chosen line.
Despite the decrease in price for the new X3, BMW has actually added content to the car, albeit most in the form of options. BMW's latest -- and greatly improved -- iDrive system is now standard and includes the latest Blackberry integration system. This system allows the driver to view and read emails on the iDrive screen when stopped and can read emails aloud to the driver while on the road. A rearview camera is optional and includes Top View, BMW's around-vehicle monitoring system.
All prices include an $875 destination and handling fee.