2011 BMW X3 SUV Scooped: Grows in Size, Could get a Hybrid Version  

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New X1 SUV, BMW's engineers are now busy preparing the second-generation X3 which is due to arrive in international markets in 2011. Based on the next 3-Series platform architecture, the new X3 bears the codename F25 and will come with all-wheel drive or as BMW calls it, xDrive. It is possible though that just like the smaller X1, the Bavarian automaker may also offer rear-wheel drive only variants of its compact SUV.

The introduction of the X1 in BMW's SUV range should result in an increase of the X3's exterior dimensions in order to further differentiate the two models. As it stands now, the Bavarian SUVs are similar in size, with the X1 being just 4.5 inches (114 mm) shorter, 2.2 inches (55 mm) narrower and 5.1 inches (130 mm) lower than the current X3.

While the prototype model's funky disguise does not reveal much about the design, it is expected that the new X3 will do away with the current model's flame-surface styling adopting many design cues from BMW's latest vehicles such as the 7-Series as well as the Concept CS. As for the interior, buyers should look forward to higher quality materials and a more contemporary design for the dashboard.

There'll be a wide engine range to choose from, with gasolines ranging from the 170HP 2.0-litre four-banger to a range-topping 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged straight-six while the diesel line-up will include numerous four- and six-cylinder engines.

It has also been reported that the next-generation X3 will gain a hybrid variant featuring a gasoline engine and a high-performance electric motor that will allow the vehicle to to be driven on electric power only, on the combustion engine alone, or with a combination of both power units.

Whereas the current X3 is built under contract by Magna Steyr in Austria, the new compact SUV will be manufactured at BMW's Spartanburg plant in South Carolina alongside the X5 and X6 models.

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