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BMW’s all-new X3 SUV is ready to battle Audi and Mercedes

The dimensions of the new X3 SAV (sports activity vehicle – seriously, that’s what BMW calls it), are similar to the outgoing model, but the wheelbase has been extended by 2.2 inches. As for its inside design, we will see numerous technology features and styling of the new 5-Series.For the first time ever, an available sport-tuned M40i model gives the X3 sub-5-second 0-60 miles per hour performance with 355 horsepower from a turbocharged inline-6.The new BMW X3 is expected to be made official some time this week, although it looks like we have some photos of this new SUV ahead of the official reveal. Mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, BMW claims the X3 can make the sprint to 60mph from a standstill in 6.0 seconds and reach a top speed of 130. Also new is the addition of a sporty X3 M40i. The 2018 X3 will come with the CLAR as well as increased power all across the model’s new lineup. Front legroom is only marginally increased, with a similarly small decrease in rear passenger room. For the first time, the X3 can be equipped with a factory-installed trailer hitch.The new X3’s large, trapezoidal central console is the most eye-catching element inside, and its shape is echoed by the infotainment screen on the top of the dashboard.Moreover, a full complement of safety and driver assistance systems – such as six airbags, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist and rear cross-traffic alert – will be available.Just like before, the X3 will be assembled in the United States at the Spartanburg factory where BMW is also putting together the X4, X5, and X6 models – and where the X7 will start production in fall 2018. Topping the range will be a new high-performance model, the first such X3 variant, using a 360hp turbo 3.0-litre straight-six engine and badged as X3 M40i. 0-60 miles per hour takes 6.0-seconds in the xDrive30i, on its way to a top speed of 130 miles per hour.As for the rest of the range, BMW will initially be offering the X3 in diesel form only, with the carry over xDrive20d opening the range.Standard and optional equipment lists have not been finalised, but items like three-zone climate control, ventilated front seats, panoramic sunroof, ambient interior lighting, electric park brake, 10.3-inch touchscreen iDrive multimedia system, Apple CarPlay support, satellite navigation, voice and gesture control, 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, head-up display, wireless smartphone connectivity, WiFi hotspot, electric tailgate, and LED tail-lights will be on offer, with alloy wheels ranging from 18- to 21-inches in diameter. The M40i includes a revised sport steering system as well, offered as an option on the xDrive30i. Thanks to the optimized packaging brought by the new underpinnings, BMW was able to stretch the wheelbase by 56 millimetres to free up more space inside the cabin.The 2018 BMW X3 goes on sale in November.