BMW X3 xDrive35i (F25 2011)
BMW X3 xDrive35i (F25 2011)

Let's be frank, the first generation X3 wasn't much of a looker. So for the second-gen model BMW's smoothed out the kinks, giving the car a far more modern and upmarket appearance, although it still falls short of the chunky good looks of the bigger X5.

Two engines have been announced for the new X3 so far: a 135kW/380Nm 2-litre turbo-diesel (dubbed xDrive20d) and a 3-litre turbocharged petrol six-cylinder (christened xDrive35i) that generates 225kW of power and 400Nm of torque; both come fitted with four-wheel drive as standard. Respectively they complete the zero to 100km/h in 8.5 and 5.7 seconds and, in official European testing, fuel consumption is pegged at 5.6 and 8.8L/100km.

Overseas, the new X3 can be packed with all manner of kit, including two-zone climate control, a panorama sunroof, headlights that follow the steering, automatic control for the headlight's high-beam, smart cruise control, head-up display, engine start-stop, Bluetooth hands-free and streaming audio, and a reversing camera.

The X3 can also be fitted with the latest generation iDrive entertainment and navigation system that we know and love. While we're certain that we'll get that system's hard-disk media storage and iPod connectivity, we're not entirely hopeful that internet-reliant features, such as web access, Google search, news and weather services, and enhanced traffic info will be coming down under.

The new X3 is due for local launch in the first half of 2011. Pricing and specifications have yet to be determined at the time of writing.

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