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The BMW X3 is, or at least has been, a hard vehicle to get excited about. It's comely enough, and quite comfortable and capable, to be sure; it's just not all that moving, especially for a BMW. But there are a few new aspects to the updated 2015 X3 that just might get your enthusiast juices flowing.
Headlining the changes is the availability of a new xDrive28d model, packing BMW's punchy 2.0-liter TwinPower turbocharged diesel four-cylinder. Rated at 180 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque (with maximum twist available from just 1,750 rpm), the diesel X3 can hit 60 mph in under eight seconds, and will likely score well on EPA fuel mileage tests, though official estimates haven't yet been released. An eight-speed transmission is standard equipment with the 2015 X3 xDrive28d, as is Selective Catalyst Reduction (SCR) to clean up the diesel's exhaust to "clean diesel" standards.
Next up for the family driver with enthusiast tendencies is a rear-drive model. The X3 sDrive28i gets BMW's 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine, good for 240 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. While it's probably not as efficient at the pump as the oil burner, the rear-drive X3 should be considerably more efficient at converting rear tires into smoke, noise, and smiles in between school-soccer-grocery shuttle runs. BMW says the X3 sDrive28i will hit 60 mph in 6.2 seconds.
Other updates to the 2015 X3 reflect its mid-cycle status: the exterior gets a new look thanks to a revised kidney grille, new twin-circle headlights, tweaked front and rear bumpers, and side mirrors with integrated turn indicators. Inside, new chrome trim, a high-gloss black center stack panel, and updated cup holders are the main updates. New colors are available inside and out as well, and the tailgate gets BMW's automatic Smart Opener system for the rear liftgate. Full-LED headlights are an available extra, while the fog lights and turn indicators are LED units by default.
For those looking to customize the look of their X3 a bit further, there are the xLine and M Sport packages. The xLine offering adds metallic inserts to the bumpers, satin aluminum side accents to the air intakes, and simulated skid plates at the front and rear, as well as extra leather upholstery variations, unique interior trim, and 19-inch alloy wheels. The M Sport gets a unique aerodynamic package, high-gloss Shadow Line trim, a choice of six paint finishes, and two exclusive 19-inch or 20-inch alloy wheel options; the interior of the X3 M Sport gets an Anthracite roof liner, sport seats, and other M-bred touches to sport up the look and feel.
In addition to the new X3 xDrive28d and rear-drive sDrive28i, the 2015 BMW X3 will also be available in all-wheel drive form with the 28i engine, or, as the X3 xDrive35i, with the 3.0-liter turbocharged in-line six-cylinder rated at 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque. All X3 models come standard with the revised eight-speed automatic transmission.
Due to hit dealers this spring, the 2015 BMW X3 will start from $39,325 (all prices include destination fee) for the X3 sDrive 28i. The X3 xDrive28i starts from $40,725, and the X3 xDrive35i jumps off at $45,825. The new diesel model, the X3 xDrive28d, starts from $42,825.