BMW bringing diesel to X3 SUV lineup

BMW bringing diesel to X3 SUV lineup
BMW announced Wednesday it was refreshing its X3 SUV and adding an optional diesel engine to the lineup. (BMW)

Score another victory for BMW's diesel fans.

When the Bavarian automaker brings a refreshed 2015 X3 crossover to dealers in the coming months, the vehicle will come with an optional diesel engine, the company announced Wednesday.

The X3 is the middle child of BMW's SUV lineup, slotting above the tidy X1 and below the large X5. Competitors include the Mercedes ML, Lexus RX, Audi Q5, and Acura MDX and RDX.


The latest addition to the X3 lineup brings diesel to the table for the first time in the U.S. It joins the all-wheel-drive turbocharged four- and six-cylinder models that will be largely unchanged. A new rear-wheel-drive base X3 will also be available that starts at just under $40,000.

The diesel engine in the new X3 xDrive28d is essentially the same unit that BMW uses in its 3-Series sedan and wagon. It uses 2.0 liters to make 180 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque, and is paired with the same eight-speed automatic transmission that's inside all X3s.

Fuel economy numbers will be released closer to this model's on-sale date. For reference, the 328d sports wagon is rated at 31 mpg in the city and 43 mpg on the highway, so expect slightly lower numbers for this use. The diesel X3 will start at $42,825.

Meanwhile, bargain hunters should look for the new BMW X3 sDrive28i. This model uses the same 2.0-liter turbocharged four cylinder as the all-wheel-drive version, with 180 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque.

Yet this model jettisons the AWD system in favor of rear-wheel-drive to save some pennies, a move Bimmer made with its larger X5 and Acura has recently replicated with its MDX. This version of the X3 will start at $39,325, while the AWD X3 xDrive28i is $1,400 more.

Meanwhile, this top of the X3 lineup remains the xDrive35i that we tested in 2011. Essentially a sports car hiding in sheep's clothing, this model scoots from zero to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds and has the handling to keep up.

Under this model's hood is a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine that makes 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque. This model starts at $45,825.

To denote this refreshed iteration of the X3, BMW made some subtle tweaks to the exterior that give it a fresher look. Inside, new cupholders! and a standard 6.5-inch iDrive display screen.

The 2015 X3 lineup will roll into dealerships in the spring.