• 2015 BMW X3 xDrive28d rated at 27 mpg city/34 mpg hwy
  • Diesel-powered X3 offers better fuel economy than Audi and Mercedes rivals
  • X3 xDrive28d goes on sale shortly

The BMW X3 is adding a new diesel-powered model for the 2015 model year, and it offers stellar gas mileage, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The agency recently released fuel economy estimates for the X3 xDrive28d, predicting gas mileage as high as 27 miles per gallon in the city and 34 mpg on the highway, good for 30 mpg in combined driving.

Those figures place the X3 at the top of the fuel economy game among diesel-powered compact luxury crossovers, beating out diesel versions of rivals such as the Audi Q5 and Mercedes-Benz GLK. The Q5 3.0 TDI returns 24 mpg city/31 mpg hwy, while the GLK250 BlueTEC boasts 24 mpg city/33 mpg hwy.

So what is the X3's secret for such great gas mileage? Much of it is that the BMW has less power and torque than its rivals. While the Q5 3.0 TDI offers 240 horsepower and 428 lb-ft of torque, and the GLK250 boasts 201 hp and 369 lb-ft, the X3 xDrive28d falls behind with 180 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. That means that the X3 likely won't be able to keep up with rivals in terms of performance, even with its smooth 8-speed automatic transmission.

Fortunately, the BMW will keep up when it comes to pricing. The X3 xDrive28d starts around $42,800 with shipping, right in the middle of the GLK250 BlueTEC's $40,000 base price and the Q5 3.0 TDI's starting figure of around $47,500 with shipping. Each vehicle features a long list of standard luxury items, 2-row seating and all-wheel drive.

For shoppers who don't want to upgrade to diesel, BMW's refreshed 2015 X3 offers several other alluring models. There's a new rear-wheel-drive sDrive28i model, which starts around $39,500 and uses a 240-hp turbocharged 4-cylinder. Last year's xDrive28i -- which adds all-wheel drive but uses the same engine as the sDrive28i -- is carried over, while the xDrive35i remains at the top of the X3 lineup with a 300-hp turbocharged 6-cylinder and pricing that starts around $46,000 with shipping. All 2015 X3 models will be on sale soon.

What it means to you: The 2015 BMW X3 xDrive28d is worth considering for drivers interested in getting the best possible mileage out of their luxury crossovers.

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Doug DeMuro has a wide range of automotive industry experience, from work at a Ferrari dealership to a manager for Porsche North America. A lifelong car enthusiast, Doug's eclectic vehicle purchases include a Porsche 911 Turbo, an E63 AMG wagon, an old Range Rover and a Mercedes Benz G-wagen.

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