2010 BMW X3 - Official photos, features, specs, pricing

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At its introduction, the X3 offered something no one else could—a luxury-compact with the versatility and all-road capability of a sport-utility, combined with the quality, performance and handling of a BMW.

Photo: 2010 BMW X3 3.0si -Photo: 2010 BMW X3 3.0si -

Compared to the large domestic and Japanese sport-utility vehicles then dominating the market, the X3 offered a smaller, more nimble, yet in many ways equally versatile alternative.

Photo: 2010 BMW X3 3.0siPhoto: 2010 BMW X3 3.0si

The X3 also introduced drivers to xDrive, BMW’s “intelligent” all-wheel-drive system that offers near-instantaneous torque apportioning with changing road conditions. Many competitors have since entered the segment pioneered by the BMW X3 but none have been able to match the dynamic handling and performance that mark this Sports Activity Vehicle® as an authentic BMW.

Photo: 2010 BMW X3 3.0siPhoto: 2010 BMW X3 3.0si

For the 2010 model year the X3 continues with a single model, the X3 xDrive30i. The designation denotes the vehicle’s use of BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system and its powerplant, which is a 260-hp 3.0-liter aluminum/magnesium Valvetronic inline-6. Complementing this engine is a 6-speed STEPTRONIC automatic transmission, which is a no-cost option. A 6-speed manual remains standard as the 2010 X3 retains its position as one of the only vehicles in its class to offer a manual transmission for serious driving enthusiasts. The base MSRP is $39,725.

Photo: 2010 BMW X3 3.0siPhoto: 2010 BMW X3 3.0si

For the 2010 model year the Panoramic Moonroof becomes optional. It is available as a stand-alone option and is also included in the popular Premium Package. BMW was the first manufacturer to offer HD radio which enhances the listening experience with CD-quality sound on FM and FM quailty sound on AM. Multicasting makes addition programming options available on a single frequency.

The X3 xDrive30i can sprint from 0-60 mph in 6.9 seconds with its 6-speed manual, or 7.1 seconds with its 6-speed STEPTRONIC automatic transmission. Complementing the stellar performance is an impressive fuel economy rating as the X3 xDrive30i carries an EPA estimate of 17 mpg City / 24 mpg Highway with the automatic or 16 City / 23 Highway with manual when measured with the new EPA standards. Not many luxury-compact sport-utility can match these mileage and acceleration figures.

More horsepower and torque thanks to BMW’s aluminum/magnesium inline-6
The X3 xDrive30i boasts BMW’s Valvetronic 3.0-liter aluminum/magnesium 6-cylinder engine. With 260 horsepower and 225 lb-ft. of torque on tap, the X3 xDrive30i makes it one of the quickest 6-cylinder SUV’s in the segment—6.9 seconds with its 6-speed manual or 7.1 seconds with its 6-speed STEPTRONIC automatic. BMW’s exclusive Valvetronic technology ensures that the X3 not only provides exceptional acceleration, but excellent fuel economy as well.

Valvetronic manages the two conflicting demands of modern engines—more power and better economy—by taking a new approach to valve control. Valvetronic varies valve lift to a far greater degree than other variable-lift systems—so much so that it replaces the traditional engine throttle. Instead of a conventional throttle controlled by the accelerator pedal, engine breathing is controlled entirely by the valves themselves.

The Valvetronic mechanism acts on the intake valves, imposing an additional control element between the camshaft lobe and rocker arm for each cylinder, called an intermediate follower. Upon contact by the lobe, this follower actuates a finger-type rocker arm and, in turn, the valve. The follower’s pivot point is positioned by an eccentric shaft, rotated by a servo motor in response to the driver’s accelerator-pedal movements; this varies the valve lift. The system’s advantages include:

* Greater efficiency. As a throttle closes, it poses a restriction to incoming air. Valvetronic eliminates this restriction, reducing “pumping losses.”
* More spontaneous engine response – again, because there is no conventional throttle.
* More power, because maximum valve lift can be higher than with fixed lift.

Photo: 2010 BMW X3 3.0siPhoto: 2010 BMW X3 3.0si

In a class where a 5-speed automatic transmission is the norm, the 2010 X3 remains unique in that it offers not one but two 6-speed transmissions. The automatic STEPTRONIC transmission benefits from the same improvements found throughout the BMW lineup, making it quicker-shifting, more fuel efficient and more responsive than ever. As in previous years, this new STEPTRONIC is available as a no-cost option.

BMW’s exclusive xDrive, Dynamic Stability Control and Dynamic Traction Control provide all-wheel-drive performance
Like other current BMW models with all-wheel drive, the X3 incorporates BMW’s advanced xDrive all-wheel drive and traction system as standard equipment. Dynamic Traction Control is included as part of DSC. At the touch of a button, DTC waits for a higher threshold of wheel-slip before engaging DSC functions. This helps when starting off on loose snow, for example, and still provides a level of confidence by preventing radical vehicle movements through brake application and throttle control. It also offers the driving enthusiast another dimension of performance.

In order to ensure a high degree of stability and traction under all conditions, the xDrive all-wheel drive system, DSC and the engine management system are networked via Integrated Chassis Management. Working together, the systems will react to a loss of traction at any wheel by first utilizing xDrive to move traction to the front or rear axle as appropriate. DSC will then work, if necessary, to help stabilize the vehicle.

Housed in the transfer case behind the transmission, xDrive takes a clearheaded approach to apportioning driving torque between the front and rear wheels. In its essence, xDrive operates as follows:

* Driving torque is always transmitted to the rear wheels and most of the time to all four wheels.
* The portion of torque transmitted to the front wheels is controlled by a multi-disc clutch that can be fully open, fully engaged or at any level of partial engagement in between. Thus the torque split between rear and front wheels is steplessly variable.
* Engagement pressure on the multi-disc clutch is applied by a servo motor, which in turn is directed by an electronic control system that receives inputs from the DSC system via sensors for –
– Rotational speed of each wheel
– Steering angle
– Brakelight switch
– Vehicle yaw and lateral acceleration.
* The servo motor exerts engagement pressure on the multi-disc clutch via a linkage consisting of levers, a ball ramp and a disc cam.

Photo: 2010 BMW X3 3.0siPhoto: 2010 BMW X3 3.0si

Considering the front and rear wheels as two pairs, the rears always drive. The proportion of the total driving torque apportioned to the front pair at any given time depends upon the degree to which the multi-disc clutch is engaged (i.e. the engagement pressure exerted by the servo motor). As more torque is transferred to the front wheels, a smaller proportion goes to the rear. With full traction at all wheels, the maximum proportion to the front is 50%; in a situation where both rear wheels are on glaze ice and the fronts are getting traction, the proportion going to the rears can approach zero.

All-wheel drive is essentially permanent; however, under normal traction conditions, there are defined circumstances under which xDrive operates in rear-wheel drive only:

* During tight cornering with little engine torque, to permit large wheel-speed variations between the front and rear wheels (such as when parking).
* In tight curves with low to medium torque.
* At speeds in excess of 180 km/h (112 mph).
* When the vehicle tends to understeer markedly.
* Anytime the antilock braking function is active.

xDrive, however, does not just optimize traction; it can also enhance handling characteristics, fostering both agility and stability on non-slippery as well as slippery road surfaces. Via the same type of logic DSC employs to recognize and correct for excessive over- or understeer, xDrive adjusts the front/rear torque split to avoid these tendencies. If undesirable oversteer is sensed, the multi-disc clutch is completely closed, sending the maximum possible torque to the front wheels. If excess understeer is detected, xDrive opens the multi-disc clutch completely, leaving no driving torque at the front wheels. All this occurs smoothly, with no overt indications to the driver; the driver merely enjoys optimum dynamics under a wide range of driving and road conditions.

In connection with all these adjustments to the front/rear torque split, it’s essential to note that xDrive makes them ultra-quickly; reaction times (from sensing to control actions) are so fast that it could almost be said that the system operates pro-actively.

BMW chassis engineering also contributes to X3’s road abilities
xDrive and bad-road capability, however, aren’t the only factors in the X3’s unique blend of handling talents. First of all, as the foundation for all this road technology, the X3 has a highly rigid unitized body structure that not only stands up to the rigors of tough going, but also abets a quiet and vibration-free ride in the more usual exercises of driving on paved roads and streets.

Up front, the suspension system is an X3-only version of the double-pivot strut-type layout that also contributes to the excellent ride and handling of BMW’s 3, 5 and 6 Series models. At the rear, the X3 employs an evolution of the multi-link suspension concept from the previous 3 Series Coupes – called Central Link – for the more rugged terrain to which X3s will sometimes be subjected.

Aluminum components help reduce unsprung weight and thus contribute to a relatively supple ride over rough surfaces: in the front suspension, the forward lower links; at the rear, the upper transverse links. There are of course front and rear anti-roll (stabilizer) bars, and a firmer suspension calibration is included with the optional Sport Package (see Options and accessories).

Continuing a BMW concept first seen in the M3 sports cars and since their debut extended to other Series, the X3 has specific reinforcements that help maintain precise suspension movements: at the front, a large-area thrust plate that also serves as a skid plate; at the rear, dual diagonal braces. Both beef up the underbody area where the suspension subframes attach.

As on all current BMWs, steering is by rack and pinion with variable power assist. Standard is engine-speed-sensitive assist, which increases at very low engine speeds to reduce parking efforts. Optional Servotronic vehicle-speed-sensitive assist further reduces parking effort and provides a progressive diminution of assist with increasing vehicle speed.

Ventilated disc brakes are standard, with 325-mm/12.8-in. diameter at the front and 320/12.6 at the rear. Four alloy wheel types are offered:

* 17 x 8.0-in. Light Alloy V-Spoke wheels with 235/55R-17 all-season tires are standard
* 18 x 8.0-in. Light Alloy Y-Spoke wheels with 235/50 R18 all-season tires are available as part of the Sport Activity Package
* The Sport Package includes 18 x 8.0-in. wheels with 235/50R-18 all-season tires. Their sporty Double Spoke design is distinctive from that of the standard and optional wheels above
* Offered in combination with the Sport Package are 19 x 8.5 front/19 x 9.0 rear Double Spoke wheels; these carry 235/45R-19 front / 255/40R-19 performance tires. Because of the higher-speed rating realized with these tires, the standard 130-mph electronic speed limiter is deleted

Photo: 2010 BMW X3 3.0siPhoto: 2010 BMW X3 3.0si

X3 exterior: a revitalized interpretation of the SAV® concept
Distinct changes that were made in 2007 to the front and rear of the X3 which still provide a fresh look. The front end includes Xenon Adaptive Headlights with the inner lamps surrounded by corona rings that also function as daytime running lights. The Adaptive Headlights option adds Cornering Lights. Built in to the foglamps, Cornering Lights provide additional illumination in low-speeds (under 25 mph) to aid maneuvers such as parking. At the rear, reconfigured taillights incorporate LED lamps for the Adaptive Brake Lights.

On standard models not equipped with the Sport Package, the body side wheelarch and rocker arm trim panels are made of flexible, damage-resistant black surfaces. The same two-tone treatment extends to the areas below the front and rear bumpers. Sport Package-equipped vehicles get body-colored wheel arches, lower bumpers and distinct rocker panels. Roof rails are standard, as is a roof spoiler that contributes to an excellent 0.35 aerodynamic drag coefficient. Electrically released, the one-piece tailgate rises on gas struts to provide 6-ft. clearance for loading.

A cargo area that accommodates the X3 user’s active lifestyle
The X3 cargo hold reflects BMW’s characteristic attention to esthetics and function. Accommodating up to 71 cubic feet of cargo, it comes standard with a retractable cover, velour carpeting and side trim, left- and right-side lights as well as one in the tailgate, and an accessory electrical power outlet; longitudinal rails can be used to secure accessories such as the available two-bicycle rack. Concealed storage is provided in the cargo area’s right side; an available cargo net can be positioned in different ways to separate cargo and seating areas.

Roomy, versatile and appealing interior
The instrument panel includes an integrated hood above the instruments, which blends seamlessly into the upper dash. Climate, audio and ancillary controls are grouped attractively above and in the center console and the Premium Package now adds soft ambient lighting.

Durable and functional leatherette upholstery is standard, as is Light Burl Walnut Wood trim, which accents the forward console and extends across the dash. Either Gray Poplar or Light Natural Poplar wood trim is optional at no extra cost. Soft touch paint adds a touch of elegance to the door pull cutouts, and the armrests are now wrapped in either standard leatherette or the optional Nevada leather. Further optional features and materials are described under Options and accessories.

Standard furnishings include 8-way power front seats and a memory system for the driver’s seat and exterior mirrors. The X3 options list includes 16-way Comfort Seats, in addition to the 8-way power/ 2-way manual sport seats available in the Sport Package. The steering wheel is tilt/telescopically adjustable.

Storage space is generous: each front door has two lower bins, both fully enclosed for more secure small-item storage. For front occupants, the center console includes an armrest and single cupholder; a retractable dash cupholder serves the front passenger. The rear of the console also includes an auxiliary stereo input for an iPod or MP3 player, as well as the switches for the 3-stage heated rear seats on models with the Cold Weather Package. The console compartment accommodates an available 6-disc CD changer.

The rear-seat backrest is split 60/40, its two portions folding down to provide cargo- and people-carrying versatility. In the “60” portion, a folding center armrest includes two cupholders, storage space and the center head restraint.

Safety and security:
Active features complement the X3’s extensive passive systems
Since its introduction, the X3 has offered the full gamut of safety systems, including BMW’s first use of a curtain type front and rear Head Protection System. Like the rest of BMW’s lineup, the X3’s DSC includes a range of braking features: Brake Drying, Brake Stand-by, Brake Fade Compensation and Start-off Assistant. These are in addition to the Hill Descent Control, which has been a part of the X3’s DSC since its introduction.

Brake Drying comes into play any time the X3’s windshield wipers are functioning. At certain intervals, the brake pads are brought up to the disc surfaces, just close enough to wipe them free of any water build-up without causing any physical wear on the pads or rotors. The result dries the brakes to eliminate any delay in response when the pedal is depressed.

Brake Stand-by senses whenever the driver quickly lifts his foot off the accelerator, and anticipates any extreme braking by pre-loading the brake pads against the rotors. The result minimizes any lag in brake performance by providing instantaneous response when the brake pedal is pushed. Together with Dynamic Brake Control (which has been a part of DSC for years), Brake Stand-by can help reduce the X3’s response time in emergency braking.

Brake Fade Compensation ensures consistent braking under the high temperatures brought on by heavy usage, such as an extended downhill or repeated hard braking. Brake fade reduces the brakes’ effectiveness, making it necessary to apply more brake pressure at the pedal to maintain a given amount of deceleration. During hard use, Brake Fade Compensation increases the pressure in the hydraulic system as the brake temperature rises, so the system maintains a consistent pedal feel even during repeated hard stops.

Start-off Assistant comes into play when the X3 is stopped facing uphill. At that point, the brake system maintains pressure for one second after the driver releases the pedal. The brakes continue to keep the vehicle stopped long enough to allow the driver to accelerate smoothly without concern about the X3 rolling backward. In a sense, Start-off Assistant is the ideal complement to the existing Hill Descent Control, which removes the need for driver intervention on steep declines. When HDC is actuated by the push of a button on the center console, the X3 maintains a constant speed without requiring the driver to “ride the brakes.” Hill Descent Control has been standard on all BMW SAVs® since the original 2000 X5.

Another X3 feature is Dynamic Traction Control. When engaged via its own console-mounted button, DTC allows a slight delay before engaging traction control. The minor amount of wheel spin that results can be helpful in certain road conditions, such as deep snow or loose sand.

The enhanced DSC is the newest of the safety features on the 2009 X3 xDrive30i, all of which are designed to work in tandem with the X3’s existing passive safety systems. Both front-impact airbags, for example, are further developed to optimize their 2-stage, accident-severity-dependent deployment characteristics, inflated shape and interaction with surrounding surfaces and components. Front safety belts include automatic tensioners and force limiters. The standard-equipment Head Protection System for front and rear occupants is configured as a curtain-type system.

Other notable safety features and systems include:
Ultra-sensitive “satellite” side-impact sensors. By sensing pressure change within the door structure (rather than deformation), they signal for deployment early in a side impact, yet minimize the chance of an unwanted deployment.

Interlocking door anchoring system. This familiar BMW feature employs an aluminum reinforcing bar in each door to strengthen the body side. At the aft end of each diagonally positioned bar is a hook-like member that, in a serious side impact, hooks into the body as the door deforms. The system is designed so that after most impacts, elastic snap-back releases the hook and the doors can be opened.

Intelligent Safety and Information System (ISIS), an overall system for controlling the vehicle’s safety systems and devices. ISIS is a decentralized system, with an overall Safety Gateway Module (SGM) and seven subordinate control units, each with a microprocessor of its own. This multiplicity of units provides a redundancy that helps preserve system reliability even when portions of the system might be damaged by accident forces. In interaction with the main and subordinate units, ISIS employs fully 14 sensors, which together achieve remarkable “tailoring” of the deployment of airbags, Battery Safety Terminal and safety-belt tensioners to actual accident circumstances.

Supporting the sophisticated electronic control scheme itself, fiber-optic cables are not susceptible to extraneous electromagnetic disturbances. System software can be updated over the life of the vehicle.

Options and accessories: a wide range available to personalize the X3
The 2010 X3 offers a wide array of options and packages to complement owners‘ active lifestyles.

Packages:
Sport Activity Package. This package bundles Privacy Glass, running boards, Shadowline exterior trim, a unique leather-wrapped Sport steeting wheel and Star Spoke 18-inch alloy wheels with all-season tires. It is cannot be ordered with Sport Package.

Premium Package. Notable items include Nevada leather upholstery, BMW Universal Transceiver (garage-door opener), power-fold feature for the exterior auto-dimming mirrors and a digital compass for the interior auto-dimming mirror. Ambient Interior/Exterior lightning provides approach lighting upon entry and exit. For 2010 he Premium Package includes the previously standard Panoramic Moonroof. As before, the package also includes 4-way power lumbar support for the front seats and BMW Assist (described later); membership to BMW Assist is 4 years, standard. BMW Assist includes Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity which adds hands-free access to your phonebook.

Sport Package. Sport suspension, 18 x 8.0 wheels, 235/50R-18 H-rated all-season tires, Shadowline (black) exterior trim, power sport front seats, a sport steering wheel, and a full body-color aerodynamic kit with painted side sills. It cannot be ordered with Sport Activity Package

Cold Weather Package. Includes retractable nozzles for the high-intensity liquid headlight cleaning system, as well as 3-stage heating for front and rear seats. An interior ski bag completes the package.

Stand-alone options:
Comfort Seats. These 16-way adjustable seats provide the same 8-way adjustability as the standard seats, but add 4-way power lumbar support, power head restraints and 2-way adjustment for the backrest angle. Comfort seats can be ordered as a stand-alone option, or in combination with the Premium Package.

STEPTRONIC automatic transmission. BMW’s updated 6-speed STEPTRONIC replaces the previous 5-speed. This new transmission not only features an additional gear but provides quicker shifting and faster torque-converter lock-up for even more efficiency. No extra cost.

Servotronic power steering. Vehicle-speed-sensitive power assist in place of the standard engine-speed-sensitive system.

18-in. wheels and all-season tires in a design that’s distinct from that of the Sport Package. This wheel is part of the Sport Activity Package. 19-in. wheels and performance tires in differentiated front/rear sizes; available only in combination with the Sport Package, and in a new design.

Xenon Adaptive headlights with auto-leveling and cornering lights. Augmenting the powerful forward illumination of Xenon lamps, Adaptive Light Control (ALC) literally “aims” at making night driving safer. The outboard lights steer with the front wheels, guided by an electronic control system and swiveled by small servo motors. The driver enjoys enhanced night vision around corners and curves. This option also adds automatic leveling of the headlights and a cornering light feature to the foglights. During low-speed (under 25 mph) cornering, the outboard foglight illuminates, and an additional reflector in the lamp directs the light toward the inside of the turn for additional visibility.

Park Distance Control. Via ultrasonic sensors in the front and rear bumpers, PDC senses when the vehicle is approaching obstructions that may not be visible to the driver. Beepers at the front and rear of the cabin alert the driver.

Metallic paint, available in seven colors including Titanium Silver Metallic, Black Sapphire Metallic, Silver Gray Metallic, Highland Green Metallic, Monaco Blue Metallic, Montego Blue Metallic, and Platinum Bronze Metallic.

BMW On-board Navigation System with 16:9 display and folding monitor.

Nevada leather upholstery includes seats and door armrests; part of the Premium Package, but also available as stand-alone option.

Panoramic Moonroof. Optional for 2010, this feature allows plenty of light to enter the passenger compartment benefiting both front and rear seat passengers. It is now also included as part of the Premium Package.

Alternate interior trims. Dark Ash wood trim is standard. Gray Poplar wood or Light Natural Poplar wood are available at no extra cost.

Heated front seats. Available separately for customers who do not wish to order the Cold Weather Package.

Heated steering wheel. Available with the standard wheel (not available with Sport Package); an option not common in this segment.

Privacy glass aft of the B-pillar. It is also included as part of the Sport Activity Package.

Rear-seat side-impact airbags. The front and rear Head Protection System is standard.

Cargo net. Retractable into its roller assembly, the net can be attached to the rear-seat backrests with them folded or upright, giving two choices of partitioning between cargo (or pets) and occupants.

Premium audio system. The speaker count (10, including two subwoofers) is the same as that for the standard system, but speakers and other elements are upgraded.

6-disc CD changer, available for BMW SAV® center installation in the front console.

Other BMW SAV® center-installed accessories include aerodynamic exterior components, carrier systems that attach to the standard roof rails, chrome exhaust extensions, interior cargo area management options, wood shift knobs and handbrake grips. Wood or aluminum interior trim can be retrofitted to older X3s not already so equipped.

2010 BMW X3 specifications, overview, information and imagery courtesy of: BMW

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