BMW to invest $600 mln in its Spartanburg plant in US

2018 BMW X3

Pointed unashamedly at the Audi SQ5, the new model features a new 3-litre M Performance straight-six petrol engine with 355bhp and 369lb ft of torque.

Pricing for the 2018 X3 has yet to be announced, but BMW says both the four- and six-cylinder versions should arrive at United States dealers in November. While the overall length is about the same, the wheelbase is 2.2 inches longer, reducing overhangs and increasing interior space.

For what it's worth, BMW is making a big deal about the fact that the X3 will be the company's first SUV to be offered with a factory-installed tow hitch. BMW estimates that the xDrive 30i accelerates to 60 miles per hour in 6.0 seconds, while the M40i gets to 60 in just 4.6 seconds.

Two new options packages give buyers more selection when ordering their X3. BMW has stretched the distance between the new X3's front and rear wheels, pushing them closer to the edges of the car's bodywork. On its third trip through BMW's redesign studios, the X3 adopts the same philosophy of the current X5: don't break it, just burnish it. Naturally, that includes the company's famous "kidney" grille, but it - and the front foglamps - have a hexagonal design for the first time on one of BMW's "X" range of SUVs. That's up 55 hp and 69 lb-ft from the most powerful X3 from the 2017 model year. Adaptive dampers, as well as 20- and 21-inch wheels, are optional. Three-zone automatic climate control is available, and the rear seats can tilt individually.

The leaked pictures of the brand new BMW model were published online by the company's Hong Kong office.

Other optional extras include a panoramic sunroof (standard on the M40i), a head-up display that's 75-percent larger than in the old X3, and a 10.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system with navigation that runs BMW's latest iDrive software and is Apple CarPlay compatible. The former replaces the xDrive28i and is motivated by a turbocharged 2.0-litre gasoline engine with 248 horsepower (up by 8 hp) and 258 pound-feet of torque channeled to both axles through an eight-speed automatic transmission.

With more than 1.5 million X3s sold so far, BMW has gone out of its way to make the new X3 look like a minor evolutionary design, so there's no mistaking the new auto for anything other than an X3. Thanks to the added power, BMW expects the model to sprint to 60 miles per hour in 4.6 seconds. The new X3 will be available in xLine, M Sport and Luxury Line variants.

Official Australian details are not confirmed yet, but a look at what will be on offer globally shows BMW is hoping customers will take the all-new X3 very seriously.