New suspension, xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive, and made-to-measure dynamics.

The new BMW X3 features standard xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive. Now in its third generation, BMW xDrive has been revised to incorporate even more flexibility, quicker response and improved handling characteristics. The new system marks a significant evolution in xDrive capabilities, which has always depended upon a networking of Dynamic Stability Control and the xDrive system. With the overall Integrated Chassis Management system, all three control circuits work in parallel. This refined interaction achieves even quicker reactions to changing driving conditions and enhances xDrive's already outstanding handling dynamics.

BMW xDrive is unique in design and construction. In normal conditions, driving torque is always transmitted to the rear wheels, and most of the time to all four wheels. Normal torque split is 40% front/60% rear. The portion of torque transmitted to the front wheels is controlled by a multi-disc clutch that can be fully open (100% to the rear), fully engaged or at any level of partial engagement in between. The torque split between rear and front wheels is thus steplessly variable. Engagement pressure on the multi-disc clutch is directed by an electronic control system in response to actual road and driving conditions. This gives xDrive a dynamic ability that is unparalleled by other all-wheel drive systems.

The new BMW X3 also features completely redeveloped suspension technology. The combination of a double-joint spring-strut suspension at the front and a multi-link rear suspension provides the foundation for agility and driving comfort. The standard Servotronic speed-sensitive power steering contributes to the BMW X3's precise handling.

The BMW X3's optional Electronic Damping Control adjusts the shock absorbers to any level of firmness, quickly adapting to road conditions and the driver's demands.. Suspension control is always optimum for current road conditions, vehicle speed, and load. The shocks default to the softest appropriate setting for the vehicle's speed, and when the vehicle encounters an irregular road surface, they adjust instantaneously to control ride motions, preserve ride comfort, and maintain adhesion to the road. The system is so fast that even at highway speeds the system can sense a pothole at a front wheel and adjust rear-wheel damping before it reaches the same pothole. The Electronic Damping Control option includes a new Performance Control feature on the BMW X3. Performance Control helps the X3 maintain a neutral handling character by adjusting the xDrive torque split to 20% front/80% rear in steady state cornering. Performance Control can also apply the inside rear brake while also applying a little more power to the outside wheel (to compensate for the additional drag of the brake) in order to help rotate the vehicle.

Adjacent to the E-Shift lever on the BMW X3's center console is the optional Driving Dynamics Control selector (included with EDC). DDC provides three settings that tailor vehicle characteristics to different drivers, one driver's different moods, driving conditions - or all of the above. The settings are Normal, Sport and Sport Plus; the following vehicle-dynamics parameters are affected:

Shock-absorber firmness (within the Electronic Damping Control system)
Engine throttle response
Transmission shift characteristics
Power-steering assist level
Dynamic Stability Control mode

The BMW X3's driving dynamics can be widely controlled by these different calibrations of so many elements. In addition, when equipped with the Navigation system, the driver may use iDrive to custom-tailor the Sport setting.

Just ahead of the Driving Dynamics Control switch is the Dynamic Stability Control switch for BMW's all-encompassing stability- and traction-control system. A brief push on this button switches the system to Dynamic Traction Control, in which DSC's intervention threshold is raised; one effect of this setting is improved traction in deep snow. A long push on the same button de-activates DSC altogether, though the anti-lock braking and anti-rollover functions always remain active.

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