Germans make their mark
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German marques BMW and Mercedes-Benz both launched new models this week.
BMW has the new X3 mid-sized SUV; Mercedes-Benz has a new-generation GLA compact SUV.
BMW says it was the X3 that launched the mid-sized sports activity vehicle segment in 2003. Since then, more than 1.5 million models had been sold, across two model generations.
The company says the X3 retains short front and rear overhangs, with 50:50 distribution of weight between the front and rear axles.
The new X3 has a bolder front with a chunkier kidney grill and fog lamps featuring a hexagonal design for the first time on a BMW X model. It will sit on 18-inch light-alloy wheels as apposed to the previous model's 17-inch wheels, and will be available in three interior trim variants.
The company says the new X3, available in New Zealand towards the end of this year, is 'classier and more luxurious' than its prededecessor. New features on the X3 include the three-zone automatic climate control, an ambient air package, active seat ventilation, and a panoramic glass roof.
A BMW spokesman said: "Like all members of the successful X family, the new X3 blends standout driving qualities on any terrain with unrestricted everyday usability."
Pricing of the new X3 would be announced later this year.
Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz launches a new generation of its GLA compact SUV on Saturday, with a modified radiator grille and revised front and rear bumpers.
New standard equipment includes high-performance LED headlamps available across the range, while hands free access -- which for the first time includes keyless access to the boot via a swipe of the foot under the rear bumper -- is standard on all models except the baseline GLA 180.
A new option available on all GLA models (as part of the Vision or Parking Package, depending on model) is a 360-degree camera, allowing occupants to view a bird's-eye image of the vehicle on the media display during parking and manoeuvring.
New wheels for most models complete the external upgrades, ranging from 18-inch 5-spoke alloy wheels in vanadium silver for the GLA 220 d, to the 20-inch AMG multi-spoke alloy wheel in Himalayas grey with a high-sheen rim flange that features on the GLA 45 4MATIC model.
The GLA 180 goes on sale at a recommended retail price of $60,900, the GLA 220 d for $67,900, the GLA 250 4Matic for $80,000, and the Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 4Matic for $109,700.