BMW X3 gets thumbs up from Detroit News

BMW X3 | December 30th, 2008 by 8
bmw x3 2008

I have to admit that not very often I come across articles that are praising the BMW X3. Always living in the shadow of its …

I have to admit that not very often I come across articles that are praising the BMW X3. Always living in the shadow of its bigger, older brother, the X5, the BMW X3 has been one of the most controversial vehicles built by BMW in the last ten years.

From the beginning, the pessimistic did not give the X3 many chances of survival, many believed that a smaller SAV was simply a pointless option and some of the 3 or 5 series wagons could have filled that gap between a sedan and a Sports Activity Vehicle. Within my family members we own an X3 as well, so I can certainly say that I have tons of experience driving and manhandling the car. 

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While the X5 seems the perfect and safe choice when it comes to an SAV in the BMW series, the X3 fits the role of an inexpensive – when compared to the X5 – but safe xDrive ride, with decent room space and a tall ride. The ride and driving experience is fair for this smaller SAV, of course, not close to the performance and handling of a 3 Series Sedan and even Wagon version, but the all-wheel drive system makes a difference and handles well on wet or snowy road,  keeping the rear in a tight line through turns. 

The 3.0 liter engine delivers enough power even for the most picky family member and it seems to be the safe choice when it comes to choosing the engine for the X3.  The 2008 version delivers 260 horsepower and 225-pound-feet torque. 

While all of the above satisfy my “bimmer taste”, not so easy usually, the interior design of the X3 simply lacks character. Everything is very blend and luxury was definitely not the thing BMW had in mind. An area that I hope BMW will improve in their second generation BMW X3.

So, before I let you go, I will let you read the extremely positive and favorable review the X3 received from Scott Burgess with Detroit News.

In the car world, I break down many of mine — yes, there is more than one — by segment. Among trucks, midsize sedans, sporty coupes, there are vehicles that I just like more than others. Some are not always the best value and some might surprise you.

In the compact SUV group, I like the BMW X3 3.0si with xDrive most of all.

At least I thought I did, based on past experiences with this snazzy SUV. With its plush interior and its prim-and-proper road manners, what’s not to like? But a lot of compact SUVs have hit the market since I last drove the X3 and I wasn’t sure it would still top my list.

o, naturally, when BMW asked me to test drive the 2008 X3, I grabbed the keys and headed out to “run some errands.”

Yep, it hasn’t changed: I love this little all-wheel drive piece of German engineering.

It’s a 3 Series sedan with more cargo space and a higher riding position.

The long nose, the distinctive grille and the lit ring around the headlights give away its pedigree. The dual kidney grille and a big ‘ol air intake under the bumper add to its powerful look. Yes, this compact SUV was made for me.


Continued here

8 responses to “BMW X3 gets thumbs up from Detroit News”

  1. Gil says:

    I personally love mine. It’s tiny and easy to park in a crowded city street. Sure the interior can be better, but eh… whatever. It’s fun to drive! The new generation does look more inviting inside. The piece of wood running across the dash makes it feel warmer.

  2. wmb says:

    My second month of production 04′ really wasn’t all that. Creaky & was always in the dealer for random issues (door guides, leaking sunroof, etc.).

    But you’ve never driven an SUV like this. You could thrash the X3 and it would always deliver. I drove that car just like I drive my ///M roadster today and it always delivered. I do miss it.

    From 06′ on the interiors received a major overhaul and fixed the only other major complaint I had with the car.

  3. Horatiu B. says:

    @Gil: You’re right, the new generation does look a bit better inside, but really…is it worth its price tag? Don’t get me wrong, a nice little SAV, but …

  4. Horatiu B. says:

    @wmb: So are you happy now? Any issues with the newer versions?

  5. Gil says:

    Horatiu: It is rather steep at $43K with options (2006 X3, mystic blue, and some packages). One can get a number of compact SUV out there for that price (excuse me, SAV, hee hee). But it’s fun to drive! So it’s worth it in my book.
    ‘sides, it’s BMW. One has to pay for all that fun driving. :)

  6. Louis says:

    I love the X3. I got an 07 for my wife and i find my self taking it out all the time and i drive an M3. For an suv it doesn’t get much more fun. it is good in all weather conditions. I think it looks great inside and out too. it has 21k on it and has no problems at all. My brother has 07 x5 4.8 and i really like that too but i think the x3 is a lot more fun to drive.

  7. Mike D says:

    We’re thrilled with our 07. I agree with Gil … have to be prepared to pay if you want to play. :) That said … getting a certified pre-owned can save a bundle. Ours was only $34900 with miles in the teens. Original sticker was $46k-ish a year earlier.

    With the Sport Package and 19-inch wheels, the ride is firm (maybe a little jittery on some roads), but not at all uncomfortable like some reviews I’ve read have indicated. Sport seats are awesome (as good as those in our 330xi, though wider), space inside is perfect for two people, and our dog loves it.

    Only negatives are the overly-excitable parking sensors, the clock that’s a little hard to set, and the performance tires that come with (and are the only tires that fit) the 19-inch wheels.

    Wish list for the next generation? Comfort Access (silly, but I love it on the 330), the new iDrive with nav, and a power liftgate. That’s it. Great SAV. We’ll buy another in a few years after the next generation appears.

  8. You can also read a good review of BMW X3 3.0 SD (diesel ~ 285 HP) on

    I have this card and is really awesome.

    Shame it’s not possible to order it in US.

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