• The X3 adds a new four-cylinder base engine.
  • The X6 features several revisions inside and out.
  • A new M Performance package is newly optional for the X6.

BMW is making several changes to its X3 and X6 SUVs for the upcoming 2013 model year. The automaker recently announced the updates, which include a new engine for the compact X3 and a host of updates to the sporty X6 that range from a new performance package to updated styling and revised paint colors.

According to BMW, the small X3's base model - officially dubbed the X3 xDrive 28i - will surrender its current 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine in favor of a new 241-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. Already used in the automaker's midsize 528i sedan, the new engine improves on its predecessor by offering improved gas mileage, one extra horsepower, nearly 40 more pound-feet of torque and improved acceleration.

But BMW's biggest SUV changes come to the automaker's extroverted X6. On the outside, the SUV receives an updated grille that helps modernize its front end styling, while new matte silver housings now surround the front fog lights. Other exterior updates include available LED headlights and standard LED tail lights that mimic the units used in BMW's new 3 and 5 Series models. BMW is also releasing nine new paint colors for the 2013 X6 and a new 19-inch wheel that comes as standard fare on the V8-powered X6 xDrive 50i.

Although revisions to the 2013 X6's interior aren't as exhaustive as updates to the SUV's exterior, some buyers will appreciate a newly available three-passenger rear bench seat offered in addition to today's bucket seats.  BMW is also offering several new leather upholstery options for the new model year.

The X6 will also increase its appeal among performance-oriented drivers in 2013 thanks to a sporty new M Performance package. Offered with both the X6 xDrive 35i and xDrive 50i, the package boosts horsepower from 300 to 315 in the six-cylinder and from 400 to 440 in the V8. Other upgrades include stainless steel pedals, unique 20-inch wheels, black chrome exhaust tips and an available "Carbon Black" paint scheme.

Although BMW hasn't announced pricing or a release date for the 2013 X3 and X6, we expect the SUVs to begin arriving in dealer showrooms in April with only slight price increases over today's models. And while we're only speculating, we expect the X6's M Performance package to go for around $5,000 - not a bad deal considering the option group's increased performance and improved styling.

What it means to you: BMW is fighting hard to keep its SUVs current in two very competitive segments.

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Jeffrey Archer is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.

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