Why People Love BMW's 2014 X3 Sports Activity Vehicle


The new BMW X3 with xLine package. Source: BMW.  

On May 1, BMW (NASDAQOTH: BAMXF  ) reported its U.S. April 2014 sales results. To put it simply, BMW brand sales were impressive, increasing 8.5% in April for a total of 25,202 vehicles sold. Last year was a record-breaking sales year for BMW; this year, sales are even better.

In fact, year-to-date BMW brand sales were up 10.7% compared to this same time last year, and one of the drivers behind these numbers was an 85.2% increase in BMW's X3 sports activity vehicle, or SAV, sales. Here's what else you need to know. 

Good things come in small-ish packages

The new BMW x3 with xLine package (February 2014). Source: BMW.

The X3 is BMW's second-smallest SAV, but it packs an impressive punch. With a starting MSRP of $38,400, the base model -- the X3 sDrive28i -- has a 2.0-liter, BMW TwinPower Turbo inline four-cylinder engine, which produces 240 horsepower and generates 260 pound-feet of torque. This propels the X3 from zero to 60 in 6.2 seconds, with a top speed of 130 mph. Additionally, the X3 gets 21 mpg city, 28 mpg highway, and has a front to rear weight distribution of 48.1 to 51.9 -- and that's just the base model.

If you choose to upgrade to the BMW X3 xDrive35i, you'll get a 3.0-liter, BMW TwinPower Turbo inline six-cylinder engine that produces 300 hp, 300 pound-feet of torque, and will propel the X3 from zero to 60 in 5.3 seconds.

More importantly, when it comes to reviews, Edmunds.com states that the X3 has "superb driving dynamics, spacious and upscale interior accommodations, and solid fuel economy ratings" that make it a front-runner in its class.

The new BMW X3-Interior. Source: BMW.

What this means for investors
Glowing reviews are all well and good, but what really makes the X3 impressive from an investing standpoint is its sales. So far this year, BMW's sold 13,974 X3s, compared to 9,125 for the same time last year. Further, according to GoodCarBadCar.net, in April, the X3 was No. 13 for top-selling luxury vehicles in America -- remember, that's for all luxury vehicles and not just SUVs or SAVs. Plus, GoodCarBadCar also stated that X3 sales grew at a faster clip than any other top-selling luxury vehicle.  

What to watch
Last year was a record-breaking sales year for BMW brand vehicles, and as I've pointed out before, 2014 looks like it could be even better. Not only did BMW see an impressive increase in X3 sales, but its 2 Series also was up 16.1%, and its 3 Series and 4 Series both were up 18.9%. Moreover, Ludwig Willisch, President and CEO of BMW of North America, believes that May and June will follow suit. He said: "April started and ended strong, which is not typical with spring break, holidays, and taxes due during the month. The increasing momentum including launch of new diesel models in the X3 and 7 Series and the first sales this month of the born-electric BMW i3 gives us considerable optimism for May and June." That's pretty good news for investors. Consequently, if you're looking for your next great auto stock, you might want to give BMW a closer look.

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