From the technical point of view, the X3 3.0sd is typically German. The 3 liter inline six oil burner has won a good array of awards so far and for good reason. The sequential arrangement of the two turbochargers is genius in keeping that nerve inducing lag as non-intruding as possible.
There's a small turbine working at very low revs and a bigger one which starts spinning as soon as higher revs are achieved, thus minimizing any delay of response and keeping the throttle input as sharp as possible. The 286 hp and 580 Nm (427.8 lb-ft) of torque can sometimes induce nausea on the unsuspecting passengers every time your right foot becomes too heavy for the accelerator pedal.
The six-speed automatic transmission first appeared on the van Hooydonk-ized 7 Series, which is good enough proof of the amount of technology behind it. The gear changes are almost seamless and the Sport mode can keep the engine boiling at over 4000 rpm on a regular basis, as long as you give it enough pedal.
From the list of technical features, probably the most impressive one is the greatly advertised xDrive. Normally, the torque distribution is 62% on the rear and 38% on the front axle, but, depending on the different driving situations you are to be found in, the power delivery can vary between 0% on the front while the rest is sent to the rear, and 50/50.
The xDrive is based on an electronically actuated multi-plate clutch that works much faster than other four-wheel-drive systems. As a supplemental system to the xDrive, the DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) also tries to prevent the loss of traction in situations without enough grip, by letting up to 50% of the power reach only one wheel, even before the driver is aware that he's in trouble. Even though it's far from a hardcore rock-crawling off-roader, the X3 facelift also benefits from a Hill Descent Control system borrowed from Land Rover, which can be programmed to sustain a descent speed between 5 and 25 km/h (3 and 25 mph) via the cruise control system. Continue reading