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BMW X3

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Comments

  • dherzfelddherzfeld Posts: 9
    In the X3 brochure, the bikes mounted on the interior bike rack have the seats removed. Is this required in order to get the bikes into the vehicle. Is there sufficient clearance between the seat and the roof?

    Thanks
  • harplayrharplayr Posts: 70
    In most cases, yes. I just put a scribe mark on the seat post, and a quick release on the bike frame. It just takes a matter of seconds to remove or install the seat.
  • jedrekjedrek Posts: 2
    I am planning to order my X3 with black seats and light grey
    headliner. I have seen both: light grey and black headliners
    with black seats.

    Anybody knows how to get light grey headliner?
    Maybe is part of special package?

    My dealer told me, that if you order sport package: headliner
    is black other than that, headliner is light grey.

    I seen a few X3`s with light grey headliner and with cold weather package.
    So I am confused. Please help.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,108
    ". . .I've seen the Exocist 127 times and it just keeps getting better and better."

    Although the new X3 in our garage is technically my wife's car, she did solicit my input and we both fully test drove three different X3's before ordering ours. The X3 2.5 we tested was anemic and was literally -- apples to apples -- around $20 per month less on a 36 month lease, so we never even seriously considered it. We drove both sport package and non-sport package equipped X3 (3.0's) and automatic and stick shift versions. The automatic wouldn't "pick a gear" and stick to it unless you were on a flat Interstate at about 70MHP -- around town the auto seemed to constantly be "on the lookout for my intentions." It was constantly downshifting almost immediately after shifting up -- of course this is not a literal statement, but the only way to use the X3 with an automatic would be in "Steptronic" mode which is a poor substitute for a stick -- besides the stick has 6 gears, the auto only 5 and the power, control, economy and fun of the X3 with the 3.0 and the stick "go to eleven." Thanks Nigel.

    My personal daily driver is a 2003 Audi allroad (with the 6 speed manual) and before I even picked up the car I had the Audi dealer fully paint the fender flares and the bumpers body color. It is probably just me, but the allroad and the X3 look "unfinished" somewhat dressed down with their black plastic bumpers and "fender flares." Luckily for my aesthetic sensibilities, my wife ordered her X3 in Jet Black gloss -- with the Sport Package the "shadowline" exterior trim on the X3 is gloss black too -- so configured, the X3 looks, IMHO, fully dressed for an evening on the town. The Sport set up also brings with it a major upgrade in the look of the wheels (and tire combo, too) -- and at 18" they seem to fill out the wheel wells nicely. The fact that the Sport option lowers the suspension makes this car truly a Black Beauty. The Terracotta (dark ruddy leather) interior with the light birch wood (and sport seats courtesy of the Sport pack) and black dash and steering wheel make for a visually stunning interior and round out the "all dressed up" look.

    Those not wanting Jet Black (or those who do not find the "grey/black plastic" bumpers offensive) can order a genuine BMW accessory that replaces the fender flares and bumpers with full body color substitutes -- but it runs in excess of $2,000. Also, those not caring for the extra stiffness of the sport package can order an 18" tire/wheel package stand alone (but ordering this omits those wonderful sport seats and doesn't really save more than a few hundred bucks.)

    Speaking of ordering options, it is so easy to add $10,000 to the base price of the X3 3.0 that it isn't funny. In fact the price of the X3 can easily be pushed beyond $50,000 without even trying too hard. Yet, having said that, please let me spend some of your hard earned money -- $250 to be exact. Now, I will, later, suggest other "must have" options, but this one would be very easy to overlook and probably most sales people will not even bother to try to sell you on "Servotronic" power steering. After all, the car comes with perfectly acceptable "normal" power steering -- doesn't it? Well, yes it does come with power steering and it IS a BMW so even the standard set up ain't bad. But Servotronic is a whole new animal. Until you've driven a car with Servotronic, you just don't know what you're missing. In a nutshell, Servotronic steering is road-speed sensitive rather than engine-speed sensitive. The slower you go, the more boost you get, when you reach cruising speed the boost is diminished providing you with much greater road feel and -- for my $250 (yours too, I hope) much more control and many more "smiles per mile." If the dealer has one with and one without Servotronic, please take an extensive test drive of each -- you will want to part with that $250 unless your fingers, hands and arms are numb.

    Another must have feature (see, I told you) is the Xenon Adaptive Headlights. I have had Xenon's on my last six Audis so I knew the value of the pure white light, but I had not experienced adaptive headlights prior to the X3. At first, I thought, "how could 15% of headlight movement side to side make THAT much difference, I'll probably never even notice it." Wrong. The adaptive lights seem to almost be predictive -- as you turn the wheel while driving on a twisty dark secondary road the lights turn with the steering wheel and you can actually see "around the corner." Instant Tang! Instantly noticeable and valuable.

    Finally on the list of upgrades (including suspension, tires, wheels, seats, power steering and headlights) is the upgraded sound system. When we test drove the X3 demos I was immediately struck by the mediocre sound systems (and those of you that know me know that I took my own road tested CD's along for the drive) that pass as BMW standard equipment. Indeed, the upgraded system ought to be the standard system. The upgraded system is good, perhaps very good. That is, the upgraded system will not blow you away with its sonic epiphanies, but it is substantially better than the almost un-listenable stock unit.

    Now onto a few options that are additions to, not upgrades of existing systems: Parktronic, Satellite Navigation and Sirius Satellite Radio. These three options (which combined will add over $2,500 to the bottom line -- $1,800 for the nav system alone before discount) virtually transform the little SAV into a Premium Car. In fact, so equipped with BMW's Premium Package, Sport Package, Winter Package and the aforementioned options, this X3 will take you to a Black Tie affair in style -- and if you care, it will almost certainly impress the valet. My wife commented, "Sirius could KILL FM." It IS THAT good! And with BMW you get one full year of Sirius "included." Sweet. Also free for the first year is BMW's version of On*star. Unlike On*star you can use BMW Assists concierge service on a per-call basis ($4.95.) Speaking personally, we would probably never use this service more than 4 times per year. With On*star you pay a monthly use it or lose it fee -- which if you only use it three or four times annually is a huge expense. I find $4.95 a tiny bit expensive but all in all, a la carte pricing is preferable.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,108
    So much of the criticism of the X3 (in early 2004) was centered around two areas: it's cheap looking interior and its rough-riding suspension. In May of 2004 BMW recalibrated the suspension; and, make no mistake about it, the Sport Package is quite firm -- but rarely, if ever, harsh even on some of Cincinnati's most pock marked secondary roads. Some of the stiffness of the sport suspension is mitigated by the excellent sport seats which have very supportive side bolsters and extendible seat cushions. Note: The Cold Weather Package equipped BMW seats have heaters in the backs and bottoms of the seat -- my Audis only heat the bums. Backrest heat feels quite nice even on a cool May evening in SW Ohio. Nice touch.

    The cheap looking interior is, of course, subjective. I will agree BMW interiors can still learn a lesson in "how its done" from Audi -- but the leather sport seats in Terracotta and the contrast that is evident with a black exterior do not look cheap to my eye (I would imagine this contrast would also work with a white exterior too -- if it had the full body color wheel arches and bumpers, of course). But again, the BMW's interior (any BMW's interior), when compared to an Audi interior, is, shall we say somewhat more stark. The quality of the plastics, fabric and leathers inside the X3 do not appear to be anything less than high -- however, BMW seems to be bent on putting forth a more minimalist look than Audi or Lexus, for example.

    Now onto the driving. At this moment, with over 400 miles on the new X3 it could be said that we need more time with it to provide you with an adequate impression. Yet, I dare say 400 miles is far more than most people will ever test drive a car, so we are several steps ahead of that benchmark. The short driving summary is that it drives very much like a car -- it drives like an Audi A4 or perhaps more closely like my slightly modified allroad (I replaced the factory sway bars with 20% stiffer swaybars, lowered the air suspension 15mm (compressing the springs) and plus sized the tires from 225 x 55 x 17 all seasons to 245 x 45 x 18 ultra high performance rubber) only slightly more nimble and with more precise turn-in and less body roll in sharp turns at hurried speeds.

    In terms of power, the X3 3.0 (225HP) is very slightly under-powered, hence your need to fully test it with both the automatic AND the manual. With the manual transmission, the X3 is probably quicker than the vast majority of cars on the road -- but don't be counting on sub seven second runs to 60. Be happy with the possibility of being able to make such a run in 7 seconds (although it "feels" quicker). Being used to turbo charged Audis, the BMW does not, can not, have the same urge -- but it does easily surpass the Audi turbo engines in a key area: smoothness. There are two engines that always take my breath away in terms of their smoothness of their operation and the sweetness of their sounds -- BMW's 3.0 and Audis 4.2. This BMW 6 cylinder is "the benchmark" 6 as Audi's 4.2 is the benchmark V8. The best way to describe the BMW powerplant is to say "turbine smooth."

    We are in break-in mode until 1,200 miles, so we have been trying not to run the engine over 4,500 RPM -- peak torque comes on at 3,500 RPM so the 4,500 restriction hasn't been all that difficult to comply with.

    I understand that the upcoming X3 3.0 will come with the upgraded to 255HP 3.0 engine now arriving in the new 3 and 5 series sedans. Perhaps if the X also comes with a 6 speed manual or 6 speed Steptronic, the choice for the "shiftless" will be easier to make.

    My completely biased point-of-view then is don't even consider the current X3 with the 2.5 engine and an automatic transmission; and, frankly the 3.0 also requires the manual transmission to keep the sporty BMW feel that most folks hanker for. If you must have the current 3.0 version with Steptronic and you want the BMW feel you will almost certainly have to use the transmission in manu-matic mode or, better yet, wait and get the new 3.0 with its higher output. If, however, you can see yourself shifting for a living, the current 3.0 so coupled will still render that BMW sports-sedan feel (at least with the Sport Package it will.)

    We love this car.

    I can't imagine taking if off road, though.

    Party on Wayne. . . .

    Party on Garth. . . .
  • davidc1davidc1 Posts: 168
    Mark, That was an excellent overview. I am sold. I can wait for the upgraded engine since my current lease isn't up yet but I know now what configuration to get. Party time... Excellent.
  • beemcitybeemcity Posts: 50
    Mark, few things..

    1. Loved your review, made me wanna go back and trade my 04 x3 3.0 in for a new one with all the bells and whistles.

    2. What do you do for a living, must be a writer cause your writing skills are top notch.. Your review had me on the edge of my seat..

    My experience after 8k miles on an 04 x3, 3.0 (premium package with automatic, xenon) is that yes the sound system is greatly lacking, yes the interior is minimalist - but efficient, gas mileage for me (mixed) is around 19.5, but I LOVE THE FEEL OF DRIVING THIS CAR, and the brakes, are amazing.

    I have friends who all have the RX330, yes it's got shinier interior and more "wood" paneling, but it drives like a sedan, not even a sporty car.

    Keep us posted with your thoughts.

    AAP
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,108
    I configured a new X3 3.0 to exceed $50,000 on the BMWUSA website. Then I went to finance it for 36 months, 15,000 miles per year and assumed a $2,500 cap cost reduction (discount by any other name).

    Lease price came to $572 or $576, I can't remember. I had put in my state (Ohio) so I assume the lease config included tax (that's the way it is done in Ohio these days, tax up front).

    My wife's $46,000MSRP car (similar deal) was $581. We are not unhappy. We are not complaining. Thus is life.

    The point is, there must be some mighty fine deals on X3's right now -- and with a 7 week lead time required to order one custom built, well I would not even hesitate to order one if I wanted an X3.

    ======

    The X3 in our garage approaches 500 miles and is exactly 7 days old. The handling has improved -- it has gone from very good to excellent. Perhaps this is due to the tires finally getting enough wear on them to lose that new tire slickness that almost all tires have. Moreover, perhaps some "settling" of the springs, struts, whatever else that flexes has taken place and now the car both rides and handles better.

    For the first few days of ownership, if we took some curves that are marked 15MHP at 45MPH, the X3 would take them with ease, but -- on dry pavement -- the DCS (ESP by another name) would come on for just a brief instant right before the apex of the curve (cutting the power and chattering the brakes in an effort to prevent our attempts to break the laws of physics). Now the DSC does not come on, I assume this is due to the "roughing" of the tires' footprint.

    The X3 handles like a sports sedan -- probably like a BMW 3 series. With nothing other than Audis to compare it to, I once again say without meaning to damn with faint praise, that the X3 handles like an Audi A4 -- which is to say "excellent" -- hence the phrase "Party on Wayne."

    Please remember, we have the 18" wheel tire package that comes with the Sport package -- we do not have the wheel & tire upgrade alone. The sport package comes with all season tires -- probably another reason for the need for the tires to "season" somewhat for a few hundred miles, as all season rubber tends to be somewhat less soft than summer tire rubber.

    With the sport set up AND a substitution of summer UHP tires on 18" wheels, I can only imagine this thing would "corner like it was on rails" (Pretty Woman).
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 31,133
    I'd bet it did not include tax... The lease numbers are the same this month.. as they have been since 2/16/05...

    The DSC not coming on now may be due to the tires, but more likely, due to your increasing familiarity with the car... (hitting the apexes better).

    Sounds great... I'm jealous..

    regards,
    kyfdx

    MODERATOR
    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,108
    Well if your assumption about tax is correct, I don't feel so bad (7% of $570+ is a big number (~$40) and our $581 payment INCLUDES tax.)

    I can't say with certainty because I don't remember ever configuring one to over $50K -- and since I can't remember and I can't prove the conclusions I came to are correct, I can add that the deals that are in the newspapers on the X3 seem (fading memory) to be more attractive now than in March (when we ordered ours).

    If you know the deals are unchanged since 2/2005, well, then I feel a little bit less enthusiastic about our deal (if the website sum includes tax, that is.)

    You see, I thought I had gone through this process of pricing, configuring, etc, IN ADVANCE of my wife's selection of her X3 (basically I configured the options, she picked the "look").

    I have no reason to disbelieve that the deals haven't changed -- yet my memory tells me that this deal is better than the deals that were avail in the third week of March.

    I stand corrected, darn.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    I test drove an X3 twice. Both times auto with the 3L engine. I would not drive a manual in my neck of the woods.

    The second time I drove it, was right after a heavy snow. There was an empty unplowed parking lot that I asked the sales person, if he wouldn't mind if I took the X3 in to have some fun. Short story, he said have fun. Well I flogged the thing in the snow and both my wife and I were impressed with the handling. My RWD 3er wouldn't have done half as well. I liked the ride, it had the same exacting ride as my 3er on asphalt. So my impressions about the drive are the same as yours.

    Bottom line, BMW did okay with this vehicle. Have fun with yours.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,108
    I have just come from a drive from the country to downtown, around town, on the Interstate and back to the country. I personally drove the car about 50 miles, this evening.

    I need to update, slightly, some of the impressions I have and have written about here on edmunds.

    After driving my wife's 2003 TT (which has 18" 225 x 40 UHP summer rubber) for three days -- I have a new appreciation for the words "bone jarring."

    Now the TT is stiff AND can be harsh, firm on smooth roads even.

    I literally got out of the TT and behind the wheel of the X3, I had not been in the X3 for a full 24 hours. The X3 was downright "cushy" by comparison.

    I drove on some curvy secondary roads and entered the Interstate surrounding Cincinnati (I-275) heading toward downtown.

    Smooth, comfy, I thought.

    I came to downtown, some heavy road construction was underway, steel plates covered large trenches in the ground -- whack, thump, bump. The ride for a few dozen feet was very bumpy -- nothing sounded like it was breaking or bending, but the X3 IS not a car built to disguise or absorb the road. Rather it telegraphs the surface, bumps, holes and steel plates with fidelity.

    I understand the criticism that the X3 is harsh -- I do not agree with that word, but I must tell you that the X3 is firm, stiff and absolutely tight. Yet, it is smoother, by far, more compliant even, than the TT (which must pretty much qualify as a sporty car if not an outright sports car). I was loaned a Boxster for a long weekend while my car was in for service and it too was a rough rider.

    I do not have the sophisticated bum of a car journalist, so perhaps they know something I don't -- but firm and stiff while related to harsh and rough are NOT the same thing.

    I have decided to advise you that the X3 is an SAV or SUV, whatever. But, I believe the X3 although it may be the stiffest BMW out there should not be labled as harsh or rough, but I should caution you that the X3 seeks to be the best handling "SAV" it can be and its designers and engineers have elected to err on the side of apparent chassis rigidity and suspension firmness to accomplish this goal.

    Again, after the TT, this thing is like ridin' on a cloud -- perhaps, however, if you are looking for a luxury car ride, be duly advised the X3 is meant for "sport" more than lux. If some $40K plus into a car sets your expectations for smooooooth and soft, this little dude will NOT oblige.

    We still love it, however.

    You may too.
  • haakonhaakon Posts: 24
    thanks for the impressions - really enjoy reading your updates.

    what kind of city & highway mileage are you getting w. the X3? are you using premium gas?
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,108
    At this point, I don't know and yes we are using Premium Juice! 93 octane Marathon gas, thus far (we filled up last night, but the tank was only about half empty.)

    The average milage readout said 18.4 I think.

    I do not know, I repeat, however, since I don't know if the on board unit is to be trusted and I seriously doubt if my wife reset the trip computer, so this would be a specious reading IMHO.
  • rob34rob34 Posts: 46
    you said it yourself. If it has the sports package it will be black, otherwise it's grey. If you want grey, don't order the sports package.
  • rob34rob34 Posts: 46
    I just ordered a new X3 3.0 Black Sapphire on black leather, sports pckg, all options except navi and park distance. I am very excited. And I currently have a 2002 X5 and I am still excited. I am quite used to the 24.5 gallon tank in the X5 so it will be a bummer going to get gas more often.

    My questions is when will this new engine be available to purchase in the X3? I could have extended my X5 lease 6 months. Would it be on the 2006's that come out in late 2005?
    I know the engine well from the X5 and I know the X3 is 600 + pounds lighter. I think it is powerful enough but I would take 30 more horses in a heartbeat if I could.

    Any info would help as I would seriously consider canceling. My car isn't in production yet.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 31,133
    The '06s will most likely have the new engine... An '05 will not...

    MODERATOR
    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    When you plunked down $35K didn't you already know:

    1. no homelink transmitter
    2. security keys in general don't work with a lot of RF interference (not specific to BMW)
    3. about the wind noise
    4. no rear vents
    5. etc.

    While you feel the way you feel about the car, some of this stuff should be been surfaced during test drives and the shopping experience. Seems like the horse was already out of the barn when you bought the car.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,108
    . . .most BMW's are strippies. I have been on the configurator many times and indeed one of the things I actually like about the BMW line is the availability of options, individual options.

    We had looked at a Cadillac SRX and you simply can't get certain options unless you buy a big package.

    The Garage Door opener is over $400 if you want it "after the purchase" -- it, and some other things can be buried into the deal (we lease) and based on the comparisons with Audi and Cadillac, the BMW was the least cost option.

    Our BMW X3 with all the stuff was MSRP'd at just a hair under $47K (no automatic transmission).

    As we pass through 700 miles and one after market option/accessory (the BMW Sony Ericson in-car cradle), this car seems to be more of a bargain every day.

    Of course, as we were comparing Audi, BMW and Cadillac (seriously probably only the two Germans) the BMW, despite the MSRP was the biggest bang for the buck.

    The only cup holder we use is the center console one, it seems fine -- and this car, again at only 700 miles, seems very well made.

    Another corner heard from.

    P.S. This car, thus far, is VERY quiet. So quiet we just enjoy the Sirius radio and hear little else.
  • beemcitybeemcity Posts: 50
    Few quick hit questions:

    1. Since I'm not due for my first service yet, still another 7K miles to go, wanted to fill up the front windshield cleaner fluid, can I use anything I can find in a car store, or should it be something special?

    2. Also, for the leather seats, can I use safely the armor-all leather wipes?
    3. Can I use the armor-all all purpose cleaning wipes for the dash, etc, - other non leather surfaces?

    -Thanks
    AAP
  • rallygirlrallygirl Posts: 7
    HI,

    We are getting 19.7mpg with premium currently. However we are still breaking her in. The mpg has been increasing over the last 3 weeks.
    :)
  • haakonhaakon Posts: 24
    City? Highway? Or combination?
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,108
    As far as the windshield wiper fluid, I would use a name brand windshield wiper fluid -- I don't know if the stuff at the BMW store is better, it sure smells POTENT, as if it has a lot more alcohol in it, FWIW.

    Are there Armor All LEATHER wipes? If they claim to be specifically for leather, they are probably OK, I use stuff I bought at the dealer Lexol or something like that in an orange spray bottle, it is thick almost syrup like.

    The LOW sheen stuff seems to work on the most of the surfaces -- I also use some cleaning spray I got at Williams-Sonoma (counter top spray it has a kind of pine oil scent, if you care).

    I would not use any high sheen stuff on the dash or plastics. The tires, however, look good with the Armor all or similar treatment.
  • rallygirlrallygirl Posts: 7
    That is on average combined. Mostly highway. The Computer is pretty darn accurate based on my math anyways. I try and log each fill with average mpg. :)
  • vjohnsonvjohnson Posts: 4
    We just got a 3.0 and we are only getting 11.5 city and 14 hwy mileage using premium gasoline. We took it to the dealership to see what was wrong and they said nothing! What are we doing wrong?? We've tried driving using very little accelleration, etc. Anyone elso having this problem?? Any advice? If i would have known this car was such a gaz guzzler, i would have NEVER bought it.
  • robertvrobertv Posts: 33
    That's obsurd. I've heard of people having poor mileage in the X3 but never 11.5mpg. Not even during break-in. It's not like it's monster V8 in there (although that would be cool). The worst I've heard is 14mpg with very aggressive driving and as high as 26mpg on the highway. Something is definitely wrong but I don't think it's the mileage. It's probably the on-board computer not recording or displaying the right average.

    Do you fill up at the pump often enough to belive that you are getting just 11.5mpg?
  • vjohnsonvjohnson Posts: 4
    well it certainly does seem as though it runs out of gas very very quickly. we are hugely disappointed. we're tracking the mileage from this last fill-up to see if the computer is correct. if it is then we will take it back to the dealership again. i am just not sure what kind of recourse we have.
  • robertvrobertv Posts: 33
    Well, 11mpg is well below even the estimates on the window sticker (even if those are just estimates). That may be enough recourse. I mean what if someone buys a Hybrid car and still only gets 25mpg. Wouldn't that be enough recourse? Where do they draw the line and agree that there is a problem?
  • haakonhaakon Posts: 24
    Please keep your mileage experience updated on the community board ... I am thinking about getting an X3 and hope that it's the computer and not the actual mileage you're getting. This would have an impact on my decision. Thanks!
  • jeffkieljeffkiel Posts: 48
    I have ~2500 miles and average 19-20 MPG in 70/30 HWY/City and have gotten 24+ in pure HWY. I would say you have an issue if you are seeing 14/11.
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