2013 BMW X3 – When four times two equals six!


BMW’s X3 can now navigate logging trails with 4-cylinder, turbocharged power.

In an ongoing return to its 4-cylinder roots, BMW has announced the addition of its 4-cylinder, twin-turbo technology to its X3 ‘sport activity’ lineup. Given that the new 3-Series, Z4 and 5-Series all enjoy this same TwinTurbo powertrain, the announcement from BMWNA’s New Jersey headquarters contained all the suspense of a Ron Paul podium appearance.

Of course, if Congressman Paul were at the BMW announcement he’d be an enthusiastic supporter of BMW’s ‘doing more with less’ strategy. The four-cylinder’s TwinTurbo technology combines direct fuel injection, variable camshaft timing and variable valve timing with a twin-scroll turbocharger. Producing 240 horsepower @ 5,000 rpm and – more significantly – 260 lb-ft of torque at just 1,250 rpm, the new 2.0 liter four provides lighter weight (from a smaller, all-alloy block), comparable horsepower and much better efficiency than the normally aspirated six it is scheduled to replace. BMW claims a 0-60 sprint of 6.5 seconds, which should get an owner home before his or her cappuccino cools.

To further bolster the efficiency, both four-cylinder and six-cylinder X3s will come with Auto Start/Stop, turning off the engine as the vehicle comes to a stop; this alone can improve economy by up to 3%. And BMW’s ECO PRO, which is selectable via a button on the center console, enhances efficiency further through optimization of heating, air conditioning and electrical functions (which is to say, dialing them back). There is also provision for a ‘driving tips’ display on the iDrive screen to help conserve fuel. In short, customers transitioning from Toyota’s Prius should do so seamlessly.

For those owners coming from another BMW, the newest xDrive28i (seriously…) will also offer an optional M Sport Package, adding 19-inch wheels to the sport activity experience. Notably, its ‘DUB’ derivative will constitute a separate announcement.

The 2013 X3, in both four-cylinder and six-cylinder guise, is produced by BMW at their plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Production begins this April, and vehicles should arrive at BMW showrooms in May.