There are two versions of the X3, the 240-hp xDrive28i and the turbocharged, 300-hp xDrive35i. Both feature all-wheel drive, engine start-stop technology, hill descent control and an 8-speed automatic transmission. A 5-link rear axle gives the X3 a much smoother ride than many other SUVs and its modern shape creates plenty of cargo space.
The X3 can be set to one of four different modes; Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and brand new for 2013, Eco Pro, which uses just about every trick in the book to eke as many miles to the gallon as possible. Electronic Damping Control, which is standard on the xDrive 35i and optional on the XDrive 28i, utilizes sensors for lateral force, steering wheel position, wheel rotation speed and more to adjust the driving experience accordingly. Standard dynamic stability control includes brake drying; start-off assist and brake fade compensation.
Though the X3 is not a hybrid, it uses a unique technology to help charge the battery through brake energy regeneration. When the battery is charged, the alternator disengages from the engine to reduce the demand placed on the engine, which lowers emissions.
BMW has worked to make the X3 more functional than ever, with an optional 3-way 40/60/40 rear seat and a 12-volt power outlet in the rear cargo area. Technology like the heads-up display improves safety as well as functionality. ConnectedDrive uses Bluetooth to deliver email and text messages from your phone to your iDrive screen, or you can have the messages read aloud through the speakers. The same screen displays the images from the optional rear-view and top-view cameras.
The interior of the X3 has been improved, with a focus on driver ergonomics. The X3 includes an 8-way power driver's seat and automatic climate control. BMW's iDrive system, whose control knob is found in the center console, has been vastly improved in recent years.
X3 options include a heated steering wheel, heated front seats and a power tailgate. The available Sports Activity package adds a leather steering wheel, light alloy wheels and aluminum roof rails. You can take it a step further with the X-Line Equipment package, which adds bling with aluminum and matte titanium touches to the exterior.