Shots: 2005 BMW M5 by Brenda Priddy (6/16/2003)
hundred for 2005.
Review continues below
BMW has issued
pictures of its new X3, the SUV trailed at the Detroit auto show in the form of
the Xactivity concept. Back in January the Munich firm insisted that the
Xactivity was just a design exercise, but the stance didn’t fool too many
people. It was obvious it was a production vehicle, and now the pretense has
been dropped; the second of what BMW calls its “Sports Activity Vehicles” will
go into production later this year after being shown to the world at the
Frankfurt show in September.
The X3 moves down a size from the successful X5, putting it in the same range
as vehicles like the Ford Escape. Justifying the “premium” tag it has attached
to the X3, BMW is using it to launch a new four-wheel-drive system patented
under the name of xDrive. According to the manufacturer, xDrive sets new
standards in agility for 4x4 traction systems. It works by instantly changing
torque distribution from front to rear axles and is claimed to offer
“substantial improvements” in stability, driving pleasure and safety.
The system is both fully adjustable and infinitely
variable. It feeds optimum torque to the required axle at any time, countering
understeer and oversteer during cornering in road use. Off-road, it is designed
to improve traction by distributing drive forces to the axle with the most grip.
As soon as wheelspin threatens, the electro-hydraulic center coupling transfers
power to the axle with the greater traction.