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2004-2005 BMW X3 3.0i (US)2004-2005 BMW X3 3.0i (US)
Production 2004–present
Body style(s) four-door SUV
Layout F4 layout

The BMW X3 is a compact crossover SUV marketed by the German automaker BMW, based on the BMW 3-Series automobile platform, and now in its second generation. BMW designed the X3 in conjunction with Magna Steyr of Graz, Austria — who manufactured all X3s under contract to BMW for the first generation. Production of the second generation vehicle has transferred to BMW's Spartanburg plant in South Carolina, USA.

Following the X5, the X3 was the second vehicle marketed by BMW as a Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV).

History and development

BMW presented the precursor to the X3 as a concept vehicle unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show in 2003. Dubbed the xActivity, BMW previewed a SAV based on the 3 Series platform, without windows and a vestigial roof.

As BMW used parts from the E39 5 Series in making the X5, likewise BMW engineers employed 3 Series parts with the X3, e.g., the rear suspension from the E46 330xi.


Main article: BMW xDrive

When the BMW X3 premiered in late 2003, BMW announced that it would employ a new 4 wheel drive system to power it and the X5, a system marketed as xDrive that would intervene transparently to the driver before the driver was aware of instability.

E83, First generation (2004-2010)

BMW E83 X3
2006-2008 BMW X3 3.0si (US)
Manufacturer Bayerische Motoren Werke AG
Production 2003–2010 (Austria)
2004–current (Egypt)
Assembly Graz, Austria
6th of October City, Egypt (CKD)[1]
Class Compact crossover SUV
Body style(s) 4-door SUV
Related BMW 3-Series
Main article: BMW X3 (E83)

The BMW X3 was a big sales success for the marque and inspired similar offerings from rivals, such as the Acura RDX, Audi Q5, Cadillac SRX, Infiniti EX35, Mercedes-Benz GLK and Land Rover LR2.[2]

However the X3 was initially criticized for its harsh ride, an austere, minimalist interior that relied heavily on obviously plastic components, and lack of off-road capability due to its passenger car platform. Critics also felt the car was overpriced; a basic 2.5i, which lacked cruise control or automatic headlights and had leatherette (vinyl) upholstery, exceeded $30,000 in the U.S. (Vinyl has never been offered in other markets). The automotive press has provided mixed views of the X3. Jeremy Clarkson even said that the X3 was for people who are clinically insane after his road test of it. He also criticized it for its harsh ride, and pointed to the poor off-road ability. He got stuck multiple times because of deep mud and used summer tires. Automotive press generally liked xDrive capability, safe bottom for rough terrain and hill-descent control, but pointed to its only real down side against typical off-road cars: missing gear reduction which allows a vehicle to drive very slowly on rough terrain without using the clutch (on manual gearbox) or warming up the gearbox (automatic gearbox).

The X3 3.0i won the Canadian Car of the Year Best Sports Utility Vehicle award for 2005. The benchmark with other vehicles can be accessed in

BMW sought to rectify these complaints in 2005, with various upgrades. In 2007, BMW did a significant mid cycle refresh of the X3. Multiple upgrades included update body bumpers, engine, interiors, and suspension.

F25, Second generation (2011)

BMW F25 X3
BMW F25 X3
Manufacturer Bayerische Motoren Werke AG
Production 2010-present
Assembly Greer, South Carolina, United States
Class Compact crossover SUV
Body style(s) 4-door SUV
Related BMW 3-Series
Main article: BMW X3 (F25)

The F25 platform is the second generation of BMW X3 being released for the 2011 model year. For this generation production will move from Austria to BMW's US factory in Spartanburg, SC which currently produces the X5 and X6.[3]

The F25-based X3 is almost as large as the original X5 E53.[4]

For 2011 the F25 X3 is available in the US, only with a 3 liter inline 6 cyl. petrol engine either normally aspirated or with a twin scroll turbocharger. All US market vehicles come with an 8-speed automatic transmission. In other world markets various combinations of engines are offered including 2 and 3 liter diesel engines with either the 8-speed automatic or a 6-speed manual transmission. All X3's are equipped with BMW's X-Drive all wheel drive system.

X3 Cross Country

X3 CC in the 2007 Dakar Rally

The X3 Cross Country, also known as the X3 CC is an X3 prepared for rally raid competition.[5][6] It features a 2.9 liter inline-6 (debore and destroked M57TU2D30 engine from 3.0 litre to 2.9 litre), twin turbocharged diesel engine.[7]


The E83 BMW X3 was the first BMW produced that has been cosmetically changed for every model year in production.[citation needed] For example the 2005 and 2006 BMW X5 models are identical, as opposed to the X3 which is visibly different for 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007.

Production and sales

In 2005 BMW sold 20 percent more X3s than in 2004, making sales of 110,700 vehicles. On 18 June 2008 was the 500,000th X3 in Graz produced.

Calendar year Total production US sales
2004 92,248[8] 34,604
2005 110,719[8] 30,769[9]
2006 114,000[8] 31,291
2007 111,879[10] 28,058[11]
2008 84,440[12] 17,622
2009 55,634[13] 6,067[14]
2010 6,075[15]


  1. "Bavarian Auto Group". (2010-04-09). Retrieved on 2010-10-03.
  2. Bettencourt, Michael (2010-10-29). "BMW's refreshed X3 is smooth and sleek", The Globe and Mail (Toronto). 
  3. "Next X3 to be Built in USA plus Ongoing Plans for Magna and BMW". Retrieved on 2010-04-02.
  4. Bettencourt, Michael (2010-10-29). "BMW's refreshed X3 is smooth and sleek", The Globe and Mail (Toronto). 
  5. "PWRC: Al-Attiyah wins Baja Espana | WRC News | Jul 2008". Crash.Net (2008-07-25). Retrieved on 2010-04-02.
  6. "The BMW Knowledge Base - Three X-raid BMW X3 CC for the Dakar 2006". BMW Heaven (2005-11-03). Retrieved on 2011-04-18.
  7. [1]
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2
  9. "BMW Group Reports 2006 - Strongest Year Ever". (2010-09-13). Retrieved on 2010-10-03.
  11. "BMW Group U.S. Division Reports December Sales", Reuters (2009-01-05). Retrieved on 2010-10-03. 
  14. "BMWUSA sales up 9% in December 2009". (2010-01-29). Retrieved on 2010-10-03.

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