The new BMW X3 set to hit roads will not only be a new model for the company, but will have the added tag of being proudly made in South Africa, as the company takes advantage of the growth in demand for crossovers and SUVs by utilising its SA-based plant in the company’s global supply chain.
The new X3 is set to launch in SA towards the end of 2017, with three all-wheel drive versions.
This model, which has been one of the biggest-selling premium crossover SUVs in the world, will be a third generation incarnation.
It boasts an all-new chassis architecture, rear-and all-wheel drive versions with four and six-cylinder power. It also boasts a lighter structure than the current version – an impressive 55kg lighter.
The wheelbase on this third generation version is slightly longer at 2 864mm – an extra 50mm on the current version.
The interior’s been designed by BMW’s Australian designer, Calvin Luk, LED head and tail lights, an automatic-opening boot and bigger centre console storage areas. Luggage capacity has also been increased, up to 550 litre in standard form, or 1 600 litre with the rear seats folded.
Twin tailpipes also come standard with each model in the X3 range.
Electronically, the new X3 will be able to connect with everything from Microsoft Office platforms to smartphones and smart watches, while the car’s 360° surround view camera will be able to send real-time images or video feeds directly to smartphones, tablets or laptops.
Optional features that can be incorporated from the 7 Series include the full-colour head-up display and a full suite of electronics-based safety systems. These include active cruise control (which includes stop-and-go powertrain control), a system to assist with steering and lane changing, a wrong way warning for freeways and a cross-traffic alert.
Fuel consumption is reported to be a low 5.7 litres/100km, with emissions down to 149g.
South African production is set to begin in 2018, at the plant in Rosslyn, Gauteng.