CAR Online reader Kenneth Valenca has grabbed some tasty spy shots and video of the new 2011 BMW X3. He was driving along the A3 autobahn between Nuremberg and Wurzberg this week when he spotted a camouflaged SUV roaring up behind him in the fast lane.
'I thought it was a BMW X1 or X3 coming from behind us,' said Kenneth. 'It had Munich plates so we figured it was on a test run from Munich towards Frankfurt along the A3.'
No sooner had we published Kenneth's excellent handiwork than one of CAR's sources pinged us a fresh set of even less disguised shots. The top three photos in our picture switcher are CAR's latest scoop photos of the X3; Kenneth's are the three below.
Good spot! It is indeed the new X3!
Kenneth, who's a civilian working for the US Army in Grafenwohr, deserves a pat on the back for his hastily grabbed video of the X3, which you can watch in our player below. It's an appropriately American-German scoop – the X3 will be built in BMW's US plant, instead of Magna Steyr in Austria where the current model is assembled.
BMW is likely to show the new X3 at the 2010 Paris motor show this autumn, before sales start at the end of the year. It'll nudge slightly upmarket to put more space between it and the X1 – it's a bit bigger and more comfortable than today's X3, which has never quite taken off in the minds of critics, although BMW has sold more than half a million units globally.
What's new on the new X3?
In line with other recent BMWs, the new 2011 X3 will receive a slew of technical upgrades. Four- and six-cylinder diesels will be most popular, this time mated to Munich's new eight-speed automatic gearbox, which will finally be available with stop-start. The range-topper will be a 3.0-litre twin-turbo petrol.
This lightly disguised car clearly shows an evolutionary design. More rectangular headlamps and a character line along the flanks of the car will put more clear water between the X5 and X3, two SUVs that have overlapped a bit too uncomfortably in recent years.