2015 BMW X3 emphasizes sensibility over style at Chicago Auto Show

BMW debuted a refreshed version of its crossover middle-child, the X3, at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show.

The 2015 X3 features revised styling, a new diesel engine option, and a few other changes to keep it competitive in the compact crossover segment.

The refreshed model gets a more purposeful look, including a tweaked version of BMW’s signature Twin-Kidney grille and a set of headlights that make the car look like it’s angrily squinting and flaring its nostrils.

If you’re one of the few people who remembers what the 2014 X3 looks like, then you’ll find this model quite familiar. Like the front end, the rest of the 2015 X3 features similar styling elements to its predecessor, but some effort has been made to liven things up.

While most people may not get too excited about the styling, environmentalists will want to take a second look at the new X3 xDrive28d and its 2.0-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder engine.

The diesel produces 180 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque, enough to get the X3 from 0 to 60 mph in under eight seconds.

Buyers can also specify the 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline four, which produces 240 hp and 260 lb-ft, or a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six with 300 hp and 300 lb-ft. An eight-speed automatic transmission is mandatory for all models.

However, all-wheel drive is not. Like the larger X5, the X3 is now available with rear-wheel drive, which should make for some interesting entrances to the Starbucks parking lot. BMW reckons the gasoline-powered rear-drive X3 sDrive28i will do 0 to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds.

All X3 models come standard with BMW’s iDrive infotainment system and a 6.5-inch screen. The system’s controller includes a touchpad for entering text messages, and there’s a full suite of driver aids including Parking Assistant, Lane Departure Warning, and City Collision Mitigation.

The 2015 X3 will be available with xLine and M Sport trim packages that give each model a more unique look. They’re similar to the Sport Line, Luxury Line, and M Sport packages offered on the 3 Series.

The 2015 BMW X3 will go on sale this spring, with prices starting at $39,925 for a base X3 sDrive28i. The all-wheel drive X3 xDrive28i starts at $40,725, while the six-cylinder X3 xDrive35i starts at $45,825. The diesel X3 xDrive28d starts at $42,825. All prices include destination.

The refreshed X3 should everything a compact crossover buyer wants. If it doesn’t, there’s always the 3 Series wagon and GT hatchback.

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