Report: 2011 BMW X3 Gets Larger, Lighter; Hybrid In The Works

Autocar is reporting that at the Paris auto show in October, a larger and lighter second-generation X3 will be revealed, carrying with it new technology from the upcoming 3 Series. Expect a new all-wheel drive system, and a ThyssenKrup-developed mechanical-electric steering system that will replace the ZF hydraulic setup found in the current model.

According to Autocar, who cites unnamed, "highly placed" sources at BMW, an X3 ActiveHybrid variant is in development but likely won't emerge until 2012.

The 2011 X3 will grow larger in every dimension, per the report: 3.3 inches longer, 1.1 inches wider, 1.4 inches taller, and with a wheelbase lengthened by 0.6 inches. Yet, despite the increase, BMW engineers say weight falls by 55 pounds in the European entry-level model, the -- deep breath -- X3xDrive20d.

The exterior growth also creates more interior space. Rear seat legroom is up 0.8 inches, and luggage capacity grows by 2.8 cubic-feet. According to the report, BMW has also turned its attention to interior quality, adding upgraded dashboard and trim materials.

Autocar pins the entry model with the standard Getrag six-speed manual, but the rest of the lineup will use a ZF eight-speed automatic and stop-start technology. In Europe, two gasoline and two diesel straight-sixes will be available, the former ranging from 268 horsepower without power-adders to 302 horsepower with two turbochargers.

Stay tuned for more as the next-generation X3's launch date nears.

Source: Autocar, BMW

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