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Like the X3?

  • Love It!

    Votes: 7 10.1%
  • Hate It!

    Votes: 11 15.9%
  • Its just alright... But I wouldn't buy one.

    Votes: 51 73.9%

  • Total voters
    69
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Discussion Starter #1



Specs Yanked Off Edmunds.com:

Exterior
Length: 179.7 in. Width: 73 in.
Height: 66 in. Wheel Base: 110.1 in.
Ground Clearance: 8 in. Curb Weight: 4023 lbs.
Gross Weight: 5049 lbs.
Interior
Front Head Room: 39.3 in. Front Shoulder Room: 55.8 in.
Rear Head Room: 39.4 in. Rear Shoulder Room: 55.4 in.
Front Leg Room: 40.2 in. Rear Leg Room: 35.8 in.
Maximum Cargo Capacity: 71 cu. ft. Maximum Seating: 5

Performance Data




Performance
Base Number of Cylinders: 6 Base Engine Size: 3 liters
Base Engine Type: Inline 6 Horsepower: 225 hp
Max Horsepower: 5900 rpm Torque: 214 ft-lbs.
Max Torque: 3500 rpm Maximum Payload: 1025 lbs.
Maximum Towing Capacity: 3500 lbs. Drive Type: AWD
Turning Circle: 38.4 ft.

A bit curious to see how others feel it compares to the Murano.. They are in a similar price range.. It could get even more interesting once the Hummer H3 comes out.

Fuel Data


Fuel
Fuel Tank Capacity: 17.7 gal.
EPA Mileage Estimates: (City/Highway)
Manual: 17 mpg / 25 mpg Automatic: : 16 mpg / 23 mpg
Range in Miles: (City/Highway)
Automatic: 283.2 mi. / 407.1 mi. Manual: 300.9 mi. / 442.5 mi.
 

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First Drive:
2004 BMW X3
Story and photos by Richard Russell

Mijas, Spain - BMW’s goal of sharply increasing sales is highly dependent on the introduction and sale of new lower-price vehicles. In that light, the significance of the 2004 X3 becomes even more important.

SUV’s have become popular for a variety of reasons - all-wheel-drive, a high seating position, practicality and image. The X3 has all - with special emphasis on the latter. BMW sees considerable growth potential in the premium SUV segment, particularly the medium-size component, figuring the majority of that growth will come from vehicles oriented toward on-road dynamics and comfort. It sees the X3 as a substantial pillar in the group’s strategy, one of the cornerstones upon which further growth will be built.

As you approach the X3 you are immediately aware it is a BMW. The grill, interplay of convex and concave surfaces and unique rear end combine to leave that visual impression. It is not as controversial as Chief BMW designer Chris Bangle’s recent BMW sedan efforts, but neither will it be mistaken for anything other than a Bimmer. Not all of us gathered here at the world introduction of this newcomer were enamored with the dull black plastic bumper covers front and rear, but they undoubtedly add to the tough look sought after in SUVs. While tall and relatively boxy, the X3 still earns an impressive 0.35 co-efficient of drag measurement - lowest in the class.

The interior is typically BMW with high quality materials assembled to fine limits. The instrument panel will be readily recognized by BMW owners with two large round dials framed by the steering wheel. The upper portion of the center stack contains provision for the optional pop-up navigation system. The seats are comfortable, supportive and adjust over a wide range. There is plenty of room for two large adults in the rear with practically unlimited headroom. The only fault we found was poor placement of the grab handles on the front armrests - out of reach with the seat in all but the most forward setting. This was pointed out by a driving partner seeking support during the very aggressive driving the X3 invites.

The large one-piece rear hatch opens to reveal a low lift-over and a perfectly flat floor equipped with built-in luggage or cargo tie-down rails. The X3 provides more storage space aft of the second row of seats than most larger SUVs.

Built on the 3-Series platform, the X3 is the only vehicle in the lineup not built in a BMW plant. It will come from a dedicated body shop and assembly line at Magna Steyr Fahrzeugtechnik AG in Graz, Austria. The X3 falls nicely into the line, size-wise between the 3 and 5-series sedans and the X5. It is 87 mm longer than the 3-Series Touring, 102 mm shorter than the X5 and 30 mm shorter than the new 5-Series.

The first shipment of X3s will come to North America with the same sweet 3.0 litre inline six found elsewhere in BMW land. Producing 231 horsepower and 221-lb. ft. of torque in this application, it rewards both the ear and right foot. The X3 will also be available with a 2.5 litre six, whose 192 horses and 181 lb. ft. of torque won’t be quite as impressive. A 3.0 litre diesel with 204 horsepower and more importantly 302-lb. ft. of torque will be offered in other markets. This unit comes within one-tenth of a second of matching the 3.0 litre gas engine’s 7.8 second 0-100 km/hr time and handily beats it in mid-range acceleration or passing performance. Our test vehicles were equipped with the five-speed automatic with Steptronic, but a six-speed manual will also be available. The auto does such a good job in this situation we wondered why anyone would bother with the manual.

All X3’s are equipped with BMW’s new XDrive "intelligent" All Wheel Drive system. Making its first appearance here, it will also be standard on the 2004 X5. XDrive is linked with BMW’s Dynamic Stability Control to help prevent spins and to divert power to the rear wheels if understeer is detected in corners, and to the front tires if it senses oversteer. XDrive is unique in that it, working on information supplied by a variety of sensors, constantly apportions torque according to perceived situations. Floor the gas from rest and it will automatically distribute half the power to the front wheels to help limit wheelspin. It then sends more to the rear as speed increases - to 100% after 180 km/hr to insure maximum stability. XDrive can send 100% of the power to either front or rear axle if the other encounters poor traction. It works in conjunction with the ABS system to send power to one wheel on either side of the front or rear if the other has no grip.

The X3 is rated to tow a 2,000 lb. trailer and the DSC system has been equipped with a yaw sensor programmed to detect and control any dangerous pendulum motions. The X3 also comes with electronic Hill Descent Control - which automatically holds a preset speed while going down steep grades. While this important offroad feature has popped up on a couple of other SUVs, in the X3 that speed can be adjusted through a button on the steering wheel anywhere from 6 - 25 km/hr. Seventeen inch wheels and tires will be standard and 18 inchers optional.

In addition to these worthy safety aids the X3 comes with front, side and side curtain airbags and a tire pressure warning system. The X3 has been equipped to fit the premium category. Neither equipment levels nor prices had been set at the time of the international launch here, but look for an entry at just under the $50,000 mark including a very high level of standard equipment. The X3 will be available with Park Distance Sensors front and rear, rain sensing wipers, adaptive headlights and a giant panoramic glass sunroof . Also available are BMW’s elaborate adaptive bi-xenon headlights that illuminate the road in the direction you are turning at night, almost doubling the distance you can see down the road.

Most customers are expected to come from conventional cars, with lesser numbers from station wagons, minivans and existing SUV’s looking to move into a premium brand.

After more than 400 kilometres of throwing early production X3 around the marvelous roads north of Malaga, we can attest BMW met its goals. This is one very agile and nimble SUV! We even tackled a pretty tame off-road course, but all we learned was that the same dynamic attributes apply in tight, slippery situations, and that the new Xdrive all-wheel-drive system is very quick to react to changing conditions.

It was on the public roads twisting and turning through the hills and mountains we really got a sense of how capable this newcomer is - and how easily it will earn a place at the top of many SUV wish lists.
 

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Anybody else notice the little discrepancy between the reviews stated 2,000 lb towing and the specs from Edmunds saying 3,500 lb towing.

Edmunds seems to always love BMW's.
 

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I like it.
Although I have never owned a BMW, I have always liked them and feel they offer the finest ride in the world.

But.

Gecko says "A bit curious to see how others feel it compares to the Murano.. They are in a similar price range.. "

But the road test from Spian says "but look for an entry at just under the $50,000 mark "

Homer
 

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I work for BMW. I drive a Murano. The X3? I would rather drive the X3, but am more comfortable in the Murano. I LOVE the suspension in the X3. It makes my Murano's suspension feel short and inadequite.

I jsut wish the X3 had the Murano interrior, or the Murano had the X3 suspension.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Its so strange. You love the suspension, CarandDriver hates it. Why do you think they reviewed it like they did?
 

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I don't know what all the reasons are that Car and Driver writers use to "like" or "not like" a vehicle, or a particular aspect of a vehicle. Were they comparing an X3 to another BMW, or were they comparing an X3 to a Murano? I am a "driver". I love to drive and I worked in vehicle engineering and development for 9 years. I have spent allot of time in allot of different vehicles. I have been trained, trained and driven many "high performance" miles. I don't read Car and Driver regularly but from what I have read; I am not totally convinced that their opinion is completely non-bias. As I have not agreed with allot they have to say over the years. It is about the writers opinion and what is important to whom, and sometimes goes beyond "hardware" and crosses into politics or money side. But that is life today. I trust what I "experience" the most. Not that I won't read and take inventory of what others say, but I don't take it all in as "fact". I have driven my Murano 12k miles now. I am very happy with the car. The suspension meets my expectations, but it can be “thumpy” at times (compared to other cars I have spent time in). It just doesn’t excel in its range of movement and performance, but it certainly is adequate for most drivers!

I love my MO, but I hate Nissan. As for BMW, I love the cars, but I don’t like the X3 as much at my Murano. I like BMW the company, better than Nissan to deal with, but it is not a “love” thing. Customer service is a very difficult nut to crack. I have to admit. Mercedes and Toyota are the two vehicles where I had good experiences with the company, and I am not talking dealership level here either (the company). Mercedes will fix anything under warranty it seems.
 

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What Car nnd Driver had to say....

Go and drive one, see waht you think for yourself (COMPARED TO THE MURANO).

Here is What Car and Driver had to say:

BMW X3 3.0i

A German joins the Roughriders.
BY AARON ROBINSON
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JEFFREY G. RUSSELL
January 2004

Boy, have we got a darling little German family car to show you! It's handsome, it's poised, and it's six-cylinder powerful. It attacks roads like a sports car, just chews them right to pieces. You also get four-wheel drive for better asphalt adhesion. It's really something!

This blue thing? No, no, no, that's just the new BMW X3. We're talking about the BMW 325xi sport wagon, base price of $32,845, and a humdinger of a quality automobile. Put down the magazine right now and go call a dealer. He has plenty.

Whadja say? You want us to shut up about the 325xi because you bought this magazine to read about the X3? Okay. Fine.

But maybe you don't really want to hear about the X3. Conventional wisdom says if you really wanted a true sport-utility, you wouldn't be talking to BMW. And if you really wanted a BMW, you wouldn't even think of buying an SUV.

Except for those 43,000 or so people who annually motor off in a new BMW X5 sport-ute. Worldwide, the X5's success is encouraging BMW to sink its tires deeper into the SUV swamp, especially since Americans treat all station wagons as if they come standard with tuberculosis. We're less at ease with this latest BMW, however. The X3's flaws are glaring, especially from a company known for clipping the perfection apex tighter than most.

More specifically, we like the idea of the X3 better than the vehicle itself. Our ears pricked up when BMW invited us to sample what is essentially a smaller, lighter, less expensive X5. Gosh, just saying that feels good. Plus, the X3 is assembled in Arnold Schwarzenegger's hometown of Graz, Austria, not by BMW, but by a subcontractor, Magna Steyr Fahrzeugtechnik AG & Co. KG. Armed with that fact you can suck the air right out of the room at your next dinner party.

The X3 is certainly lighter. Towed by the same 225-hp, 3.0-liter inline six as that in its bigger brother, the X5 3.0i, the 4095-pound X3 weighs between 600 and 700 pounds less than the X5. It is certainly cheaper, too. Although prices weren't finalized at press time, the X3 should start at about $32,000 for a base 2.5i with the 189-hp, 2.5-liter inline six and top out just north of $40,000 for a fully loaded 3.0i with the 225-horse six like the one pictured here. The 2004 X5 starts at $40,995 and is hurdling safely over $60,000 equipped with the bigger engine, the 4.4-liter V-8, and all the boxes checked.

Smaller? Just by gerbil whiskers. The X3's wheelbase is less than an inch shy of the X5's, and the X3's black-plastic bumpers are only four inches closer together. The width and height differences are minimal as well. The X3's seating space offers more rear-seat headroom and legroom. Compared with the X5, the X3's cargo hold is actually bigger by 30 percent with the rear seats folded (almost) flat, 26 percent with the seats up. The unloved 325xi wagon is significantly tighter in every respect, especially in the back.

We also like that BMW spliced the 3-series' curve-straightening DNA into the X3, including the same basic front-strut, multilink-rear suspension with some extra structural beefiness for off-road duty. The X3 also debuts BMW's new xDrive, a nifty single-speed torque-transfer coupling with a microchip-administered multiplate clutch pack that constantly varies engine thrust between the front and rear axles from 100 percent rear to 50/50. Combined with brake-based traction control and a hill-descent function that works the brakes to control downward velocity, the xDrive is a more flexible doohickey than the planetary gear differential and its fixed 38-percent-front, 62-percent-rear torque split found in the 325xi and the '03 X5 (the '04 X5 also features xDrive).

If the X3 never rose up from the paper, we'd be quaffing schnapps in its honor. The doubt creeps in out on the road. The otherwise supple 3-series suspension has been radically hardened in the X3, kind of the way they harden ICBM silos. Shod in the rear with the 45-series, W-rated rubber of the optional Sport package, the X3's ride is hard-edged, concussive, and insufferable. Hit a craggy, undulating section of road, and the X3 bucks like a mare with Little Richard's pinky ring stuck under the saddle. Do it at speed, and the X3 is almost as good as a guillotine for testing your neck joints.

The ceaseless shuddering of our test vehicle did its best to separate interior panels from the walls and the seats from their mounts. A few squeaks and rattles took carcinogenic root and were spreading. Base versions of the X3 are slightly better with 55-series, H-rated tires all around and spongier shocks, but only slightly. The X3 clomps down the road, and BMWs shouldn't clomp. Those who commute on glassy-smooth freeways may never be bothered by the X3's ride, but everyone else will be.

BMW's Ultimate Driving Machine mantra and the ceaseless quest for the intergalactic lap-time record at the Nürburgring are surely behind the X3's crusty suspension. No question, the X3 handles twisties with Bavarian aplomb. The xDrive takes its directions in part from a lateral-g sensor. As the X3 bends into a corner, the clutches sling more engine output to the rear axle. The strategy frees up the front tires to concentrate on the vital job of turning the car. The X3's rack is a bit numb and isolated, but the nose darts crisply and without the pushy understeer that plagues most four-wheel-drivers. It even rewards bold drivers with a little tail wagging and pulled a no-arguments 0.88 g on the skidpad, the highest grip we've ever measured for an SUV.

The quickest X3, the one with the 225-horse engine and six-speed manual, isn't poky, either, although the inline six from the 330i has to work harder to keep the X3's 4095 pounds moving. We saw 60 mph zing by in 7.4 seconds, a few ticks quicker than a 325xi wagon (0.3 second), and a lot of ticks (0.7 second) quicker than an X5 3.0i. The X3 constructs a quarter-mile in 15.5 seconds at 87 mph, a half-second faster than the wagon, and then stops from 70 mph in 157 feet, the same as a Mitsu Evolution.

That's great, except that on back-to-reality roads the rigid suspension never rests, never submits to a firm set. It keeps the body bouncing around and the driver making continual course corrections to stay on path. Sitting several extra inches above the roll center doesn't help the steady drain of confidence, or the steady drain of color from your face. Several drivers felt a rising ball of motion-related nausea after thrashing the car down curvy roads.

As long as the X3 remains parked, we have fewer problems with it. The dashboard's mix of geometric and organic shapes, accented by broad swaths of battleship-gray plastic, looks like a Z4 cockpit that's been through the penny squeezer. Hard surfaces with deep graining abound, and the door handles are just rough black plastic. BMW charges a bit less for an X3, and it's intended to have some sport-ute toughness, so we accept the thrifting.

There are touches of epicurean taste: French-seamed double pleats grace the optional leather sport seats, and the silver accents of electrocoated plastic sport a weird fingerprint pattern that somehow works. The navigation screen motors into the dash when not wanted, a feature we'd gladly pay extra for in the 5- and 7-series.

Those with seat time in an X5 will feel right at home behind the X3's yoke. The buckets sit high off the floor, the knees bent more sharply than in a car, and the pedals stepped on more than into. The rim of the three-spoke sport steering wheel is python meaty, the six-speed shifter knob light to the touch. Back-benchers will enjoy good knee- and headroom, although the flat and firm seatback can't be adjusted for rake and tends toward the vertical. The bottoms are shallow and formless, so expect rear-seat passengers to act like unsecured rolled-steel coils during suspension workouts.

During our time with this truck, we never explored anything more rigorous than a dirt road, even though BMW engineers claim that it will endure much rougher treatment. The lack of underbody shielding bodes ill for serious slick-rock crawling, although a tow-truck driver would surely be grateful for your call. A BMW spurting its fluids could be the inspiration for endless bar jokes.

So, should you just forget about off-roading and go for the 325xi wagon instead? The X3 does have more space along with cargo-floor rails for an add-on bike rack if you require such things. The xDrive is neat and not available on the wagon. To BMW, we say, get thee to it. When a company like BMW starts reserving its best technology for its trucks, it's time to start building bomb shelters.

Here's the solution, BMW: Ease up the damping on the X3 so passengers don't feel like kernels in a Jiffy Pop, or slip the 3.0-liter engine and xDrive into the 325xi wagon.

Until then, if you still want an X3, perhaps it wasn't really a BMW you wanted after all.
 

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Apart from the power lift gate and the badge, I don't see anything attractive abut the BMW.

The C&D tester even went as far as saying the ride made some people feel nauseous! What a contrast to how the Murano makes most of us feel when we drive it!
 

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I like the fact that it says BMW on it and has the spinning propeller logo. Hmmm... Ran out of likes...
 

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took this for a test drive a few months ago and I must say that the supspension and acceleration were really top notch for an SUV... but the interior really felt cheap to me... th epassenger side cupholder flipped out of the front dash: BAD placement. Also, the rear seat was a bit more difficult to get into because of how the wheel well cuts into the seating area.

Overall it is definately a nice BMW, but the MO is the right balance of "soft" and "sport" for my tastes.
 

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X3 I dont think so.

I test drive one when the car just arrived to the dealer near me, it felt more like the BMW 3 series than a SUV. If I were to buy BMW I pay more and get X5 instead (more meat). Hehe.

But, why bother with it when I got the best looking looking SUV like MO, especailly its rear-end...

Know what I mean :2:


Nizmo
 

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Seen several on the road now. But, why they are looking at my MO. :2:
 
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