The 2011 BMW X3 lineup changes this year, dropping the previous xDrive30i model for a naturally-aspirated xDrive28i priced from $37,625 and a turbocharged N55-powered xDrive35i priced from $41,925.

Those prices basically bracket the tweener that was the previous X3 xDrive30i, which was priced at $38,850. The slight drop in price makes sense for the xDrive28i, as it gets 20 fewer horsepower for a total of 240. The pricier 2011 X3 xDrive 35i adds in the punchy twin-scroll single-turbo N55 3.0-liter inline six for 300 horsepower.

So BMW's pricing structure for the 2011 X3 makes sense within its own ranks. But how does it compare to the competition?

Mercedes-Benz's GLK starts from $35,500 and is powered by a 268-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6. With common options, it closes the gap on the X3, but does have the advantage at the entry level. Audi's Q5 starts at a low $36,075, but that's for the 211-horsepower, turbo-four 2.0T model. Step up to the Q5 3.2 FSI and you're looking at $43,375. Lexus' RX range starts right on top of BMW's, with the RX 350 based at $38,850. That's in front-wheel drive trim, however. Stepping up to all-wheel drive adds $1,400 to the price. The base RX350 is more powerful than the 2011 X3 xDrive 28i, however, at 275 horsepower. Picking the RX450h hybrid bumps you to 295 horsepower, but also a starting price of $44,200 in front-drive trim, or $45,700 for the all-wheel drive model.

In other words, the 2011 BMW X3 looks to sit right in the middle of its competitive group on pricing. That leaves personal preferences like ride quality, handling, fuel efficiency, cargo space, and appearance the deciding factors. Fortunately High Gear Media will be driving the 2011 BMW X3 tomorrow to assess all of those factors and more.