2018 BMW X3
New BMW X3 has only minor changes on the exterior and it is hard to spot.BMW

BMW is gearing up for the launch of its new X3 SUV in India. The German carmaker unveiled the new version of the mid-size SUV in June 2017 for the global markets, while its India launch has been scheduled for April 19, 2018.

Ahead of the launch, BMW India has started production of the new X3 at its Chennai plant on Tuesday. The company is expected to open bookings for the 2018 X3 from April 1.

The new BMW X3 goes up against a number of SUVs, including Audi Q5, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Land Rover Discovery Sport and Volvo XC60. One of the bestselling X range models of BMW, the X3 comes with a more evolved and sharper design in its latest avatar, but is missing the "wow" factor.

BMW X3 at Chennai plant
Jochen Stallkamp, MD, BMW Group Plant Chennai with the all-new BMW X3.BMW

The SUV comes with the familiar new design approach of the X1 and X5 SUVs upfront. There are new hexagonal lights and a bigger, more muscular "3D" kidney grille up front.

While the previous-generation X3 had integrated inlay for headlights and the grille, the new version gets separated units.

In the rear, a redesigned set of optional LED taillights and a pair of sporty exhaust tips are the new additions. Overall, the new design is not flashy while the SUV retains its rugged stance.

BMW has stretched the wheelbase of the new X3 by 5.5cm to free up more space inside the cabin. Despite the stretched wheelbase, the length of the SUV is not increased and that results in fewer overhangs. BMW has also managed to make the SUV 55kg lighter than the previous version.

2017 BMW X3
2017 BMW X3BMW Press

The new BMW X3 is expected to be offered with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesel engine that develops 190hp in the xDrive20d trim. The petrol mill will be a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo unit with 248hp output in the xDrive30i variant.

A 3.0-liter six-cylinder diesel and a 3.0-liter twin-turbo petrol engine are expected to join the range later. The engines will come mated to an eight-speed automatic, powering all four wheels, as standard.

BMW's Chennai plant currently produces the 3 Series, 3 Series Gran Turismo, 5 Series, 6 Series Gran Turismo, 7 Series, X1, X3 and the X5. The plant will start the local production of the MINI Countryman later this year.

2017 BMW X3
2017 BMW X3BMW Press