The new 2.0-litre N20 four-cylinder engine produces 180kW of power and 350Nm of torque (1250-4800rpm) – down 10kW but up 40Nm compared with the outgoing 3.0-litre powerplant.
BMW says the new xDrive28i will accelerate from 0-100km/h in 6.7 seconds, making it two tenths faster than the six-cylinder model.
Despite the performance boost, fuel efficiency will improve 17 per cent, with combined cycle consumption falling from 9.0 litres per 100km to 7.5L/100km under European standards. At that level, the xDrive28i should be a close match for the entry-level xDrive20i variant.
Like the rest of the X3 range, the four-cylinder engine will be teamed with an eight-speed automatic transmission that sends power to all four wheels.
BMW Australia’s Scott Croaker said the first four-cylinder X3 xDrive28i vehicles are expected to arrive in local showrooms by the end of May.
The new N20 engine already appears in a lower state of tune in the entry-level X3 xDrive20i (135kW/270Nm), and is found in an identical state in the 328i, 528i and the Z4 sDrive28i.
The BMW X3 xDrive28i is currently priced from $71,900 before on-road costs. Any pricing or specification changes will be revealed closer to its Australian launch.
Read CarAdvice's review of the 2011 BMW X3 xDrive28i.