Earlier this year, BMW revealed its new 2011 X3 crossover. The small 3 Series-based crossover just went into production yesterday alongside the X5 and X6 at BMW's Spartanburg, South Carolina plant.
With the introduction of the 2011 X3, BMW relocated production of the small crossover from Magna Steyr's plant in Graz, Austria, to its own production facility in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Adding X3 production to the Spartanburg plant means that three of the four BMW X SUVs will be produced in the States. The X5 and X6 are already built at the South Carolina plant, prompting BMW to call it the "expertise center for the BMW X models."
Yesterday, the last current-generation X3, a red xDrive35d example, rolled off Magna Steyr's line in Austria yesterday, mere hours before the first 2011 model rolled off the line in Spartanburg.
The new X3 marks a significant departure, and improvement, from the old model. The new model is no longer a brutally harsh crossover with a lackluster interior. It's based on the current-generation E90 3 Series, and has grown in size to allow for a smaller sibling, the X1.
Initially, the X3 will be sold with two versions of BMW's 3.0-liter I-6, the normally aspirated N52 and single-turbo N55, but a hybrid is reportedly on the way. Other future powertrain additions could include small four-cylinder and diesel engines, as CAFE regulations approach. The sole transmission in the U.S. is ZF's eight-speed automatic, which is becoming familiar across BMW's lineup.
Expect to see the 2011 X3 at BMW dealerships around the country later this fall.