What Changed for 2009:
- Minor changes for 2009
- Renamed the \"X3 xDrive 3.0i\"
- New interior trim and upholstery options
- More optional exterior colors
- New standard 17-inch wheels
- New optional 18-inch wheels in the Sport package
Smaller sibling to the BMW X5 SAV (BMW calls it a Sport Activity Vehicle or SAV), and nearly as popular in sales volume, the BMW X3 SAV first arrived in 2003. A 5-passenger compact SUV, the X3 offered sports-car-like handling in a package offering nearly as much interior volume as the first-generation X5. The 2007 model year saw many revisions, including an engine upgrade that offered more power and better low-end torque. With the exception of the new nomenclature (it's now called the \"X3 xDrive 3.0i\") the 2009 model year BMW X3 is mostly a carryover. Only minor changes were made to the interior upholstery choices, exterior colors, and aluminum wheels.
BMW provides all 2009 X3 owners with a 4-year/50,000-mile new-vehicle limited warranty and a 4-year/unlimited mileage membership in the BMW Assist Safety Plan. The BMW Maintenance Program includes all factory-recommended maintenance items for the first 4-year/50,000-mile period of ownership.
There is only one model in the BMW X3 lineup for 2009: X3 xDrive 3.0i. It features a standard inline 6-cylinder powerplant and BMW's permanent xDrive all-wheel-drive (AWD) system. The X3 offers a long list of standard convenience features that includes power windows and locks, automatic climate control with automatic recirculation and activated charcoal microfilter, 8-way power driver and passenger front seats, and an MP3-compatible AM/FM/CD audio system with 10 speakers including two subwoofers. The standard wheels are 17-inch, V-spoke cast aluminum. They have been redesigned for 2009.
Popular option packages include the Sport Activity package. It adds redesigned 18-inch wheels, sports leather steering wheel, running boards, shadowline trim, and privacy glass. The Cold Weather package adds heated front and rear seats, headlight washers and a ski bag. The Sport package equips the X3 with sport suspension, sport steering wheel, redesigned 18-inch wheels, sport seats, and a full aerodynamic body kit with painted side skirts. The Premium package includes a universal garage door opener, ambient light package, auto-dimming mirrors, upgraded leather upholstery, and BMW Assist with Bluetooth.
Stand-alone options on the 2009 BMW X3 include Xenon adaptive headlights, DVD-based navigation system, metallic paint, Sirius satellite radio and HD radio. Standard wheels are aluminum alloy, 17 inches in diameter with all-season tires. Optional wheels in 18- and 19-inch diameter are available with performance-oriented tires.
Standard in the 2009 X3 xDrive 3.0i SAV is a 3.0-liter, 24-valve, inline 6-cylinder engine with a composite magnesium/aluminum engine block, Valvetronic, and Double-Vanos steplessly variable valve timing. It is rated at 260 hp and 225 lb.-ft. of torque. Consumers are offered the choice of BMW's 6-speed Steptronic automatic transmission or a 6-speed manual transmission (rare in this segment) at no additional cost. EPA fuel-economy ratings are 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway for the automatic transmission, 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway for the manual transmission. According to BMW, X3s equipped with the Steptronic version can accelerate to 60 mph in 6.9 seconds, on to a top speed of 142 mph (vehicles equipped with the Sport package).
Standard on all 2009 X3 models is BMW's xDrive, a full-time AWD system that electronically varies front/rear torque split and traction control to offer optimal traction and control under varied road conditions, according to BMW. The X3 features a fully independent suspension engineered for driving dynamics and agility on paved roads, BMW says. (The X3 is not designed for heavy off-road use; therefore it is not equipped with a transmission low-range or locking differentials.) Disc brakes with anti-lock control are standard on all 2009 BMW X3 models.
In addition to 3-point safety belts and active head restraints, BMW equips all 2009 X3 xDrive 3.0i models with a driver and front passenger front air bag supplemental restraint system (SRS) with advanced technology dual-threshold and dual-stage deployment. A front- and rear-compartment Head Protection System (HPS) \"curtain air bag\" helps to protect outboard passengers from injury, while a rollover sensor deploys air bags in the event of a rollover. For additional protection, a battery safety terminal is designed to cut off electrical power in a severe collision. Standard active safety features in every BMW X3 include anti-lock brakes (ABS), dynamic stability control (DSC) with Brake Fade Compensation, Start-off Assistant, Brake Drying, Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), Dynamic Brake Control, and Hill Descent Control (HDC).
The 2004-09 BMW X3 has been crash tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). It received \"Good\" ratings (the Institute's highest) for both the frontal offset test and the side-impact test. By also offering standard electronic stability control, the 2009 X3 xDrive 3.0i is listed by the IIHS as a \"Top Safety Pick\" for 2009. The 2009 X3 xDrive 3.0i has not been crash tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The X3 model was chosen to premier BMW's innovative AWD system, xDrive, in late 2003. Unlike the AWD system fitted to the mid-'80s 3 Series or early X5, xDrive was designed to intervene before traction is lost. xDrive retains the same 40/60 torque split for sporty handling characteristics, but is able to redistribute torque within milliseconds to the wheels with traction-often before the driver notices any loss of stability, BMW says. Working with the dynamic stability control (DSC) computers, xDrive splits power between the front and rear axles through the use of a multi-plate clutch. In addition to offering excellent traction in slippery or adverse weather conditions, BMW says, xDrive is able to control oversteer and understeer both electronically and mechanically, to help the driver regain and retain stability in nearly all driving situations.