SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- The redesigned 2018 BMW X3 will go on sale at U.S. dealerships in November underpinned by a new architecture and with a new M Performance model in the nameplate's lineup for the first time.
BMW officials unveiled the redesigned X3 on Monday at the company's massive assembly plant in Spartanburg, S.C., as part of an event celebrating the 25th anniversary of the company's announcement of its intention to build the plant. BMW assembles the X3, X4, X5 and X6 models in Spartanburg, and the large X7 crossover will also be assembled there when it begins production more than a year from now. It is BMW's largest production plant globally and exports 70 percent of its vehicles to 140 markets worldwide.
With the 2018 model, the X3 moves to BMW's versatile CLAR architecture, a lighter-weight modular system that already underpins the 7-series sedan and will be used on several other nameplates. Now in its third generation, the X3 generally maintains its overall exterior dimensions although its wheelbase has grown by 2.2 inches.
The redesigned X3 sports what BMW is calling its "three-dimensional" kidney grille and hexagonal fog lights, the first use of that face on one of its X models. It's lighter, more powerful and more efficient with improved handling and driving dynamics, BMW says. It has the company's full suite of driver assistance technologies.
At launch, BMW will sell two models, the X3 xDrive30i and the top-of-the-line X3 M40i. Pricing will be announced closer to the redesigned X3's on-sale date. The xDrive30i is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 248 hp, while the M40i is powered by a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine producing 355 hp.
Other models are likely later. BMW currently sells a rwd model as the entry-level X3. A plug-in hybrid X3 is a possibility, and BMW has confirmed it will sell a pure electric X3 in 2020.
With a fresh product in the hot premium compact crossover segment, BMW has a chance to kick-start its growth in the segment. The X3 has been a bright spot for BMW, with sales up 30 percent through the first five months of 2017 even though the vehicle is at the end of its life cycle. X3 sales rose 38 percent in 2016 to 44,196 vehicles.
Though X3 sales are up so far this year, that may moderate through the rest of the summer and fall as the current model sells down, Ian Robertson, BMW AG board member in charge of global sales and marketing, indicated in April.
"We have a new X3 coming in so that will limit some of the SAV mix," Robertson said then.
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