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2011 BMW X3 next to Audi Q5, Mercedes-Benz GLK and Lexus RX

BMW X3 | March 27th, 2011 by 7
Small Luxury SUV Sales Chart USA February 2011

Second generation BMW X3 made its official debut last fall at the Paris Motor Show. The redesigned mid-size premium SAV went on sale earlier this …

Second generation BMW X3 made its official debut last fall at the Paris Motor Show. The redesigned mid-size premium SAV went on sale earlier this year and customers’ response to the new product has been more than favorable. Dealerships around the country are reporting strong sales for the premium SAV and demand remains high.

Prior to its launch, in early 2010, BMW of North America hosted several events at the Spartanburg Delivery Center in South Carolina where BMW client advisors from around the country gathered to not only test the new X3, but also to compare it against its competitors.

The 2011 BMW X3 competes in a segment with the Audi Q5, Mercedes-Benz GLK and even the Lexus RX. With the first generation running its lifecycle in 2010, the mid-size premium SUV segment was dominated by the Audi Q5 and Mercedes GLK.

2011 BMW X3 next to Audi Q5, Mercedes Benz GLK and Lexus RX

In a recent conversation with a BMW official, we learned that BMW sees the GLK as stronger opponent than Audi’s Q5. The GLK with its boxy look, but attractive dimensions, has been a major seller for Mercedes-Benz USA with number of units sold nearing 2,000 every month.

But now that the second-generation $36,750 2011 BMW X3 has arrived, GLK350 4Matics and Audi Q5s have lost some of their sheen. X3 sales jumped from the first-generation’s 351 in February 2010 to 1987 a year later. That’s 12.1% of all BMW USA sales in February, another sign that the new X3 will play a major role for BMWUSA in the upcoming years.

In February 2011, BMW sold 1,987 units of the new X3, Mercedes reported 1,853 GLK vehicles sold and Audi’s Q5 comes third with 1,539 units. Lexus RX, considered by many a competitor to the larger X5 and Q7, had a volume of 6567 units sold in the same month.

2011 BMW X3 next to Audi Q5, Mercedes Benz GLK and Lexus RX

Graph by GoodCarBadCar

While first comprehensive comparison reviews are yet to come out (BMWBLOG will have one as well), we would like to share some ad-hoc photos of all these vehicles sitting side-by-side at the Performance Center in Spartanburg. Photos are courtesy of our friend and spy photographer Palbay.

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  • BMWFan1

    I drove the Audi, BMW and Mercedes. Looks-wise, I’ll take the Q5. Dynamics and driving, hands-down the X3. GLK….a little more luxurious and nice boxy lines.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gerald.oh Gerald Oh

    I just did the X3 Difference event. I’d have to agree on the Audi vs X3. The X3 looks have grown on me a bit since I had a chance to look at the car in person — also a bit surprised to find that it’s not that difference in size to an X6 — they were side-by-side. The X3 35i is a bit of a rocket — I have a 2007 335xi — I was very surprised by the handling.

    I’m not so sure about the GLK. I’ve always liked the looks, but not so sure about the handling and performance now that I’ve driven one. There’s nothing ‘wrong’ with the car IMO, but it feels a bit too sedate, and that I’d like something a little more interesting to drive — though my guess is that the target market for the GLK is perfectly happy with it :)

  • FD North

    Currently, I am driving a 2009 Murano and wanted to move up a level. I
    love the size of the Murano and it has lots of “get up n’ go”. The
    Nissan 3.5L is a well proven engine that has appeared in several of Nissan/Infinity configurations (or variations of the 3.5L).

    Last
    month, I test drove Canadian version of the Mercedes GLK, ML350 and the
    BMW X3. Based on my test drives, the following are my personal opinions:

    The GLK “felt” smaller than the X3; although statistically,
    they are very close. It appears on paper that the BMW has taken a bit
    from the cargo area and put it towards the cabin which for myself is a plus. I have access to a Dodge Crap’a’van if I need more space for the occasional home depot run. The ride for me felt a little too sporty. Although I want the sport feel, I still desire some of the luxury ride mixed in; one of the reasons I want to step up a level. The other thing that I can not stand (personal feeling) after having an 05 Maxima and an 09 Murano, is the BOSE sound systems in cars; even if it is the premium upgrade. It absolutely lacks bottom end and I have never been dazzled by the BOSE name. I am a bit of an audiophile in the home theatre end of things. This means an upgrade to the Harmon/Kardon premium audio in the Mercedes line.

    The ML350 in all fairness is not in the same category as the X3 or the GLK but still was initially a contender for me initially. When I test drove the Mercedes, our local BMW dealer was 3 weeks from opening and I can say that at that point it time, I was VERY confident in the Mercedes line and was almost certain that would be my new brand of choice. Having test drove the ML350, I much preferred the ride over the GLK. It was a struggle for me between the 2 Mercedes. I liked the little roomer feel of the 350 and found that the 350 BlueTec diesel was more responsive than the GLK. On the other hand, there was something about the GLK that I liked. The ML350 styling was much less trendy but comparing the newly released photos of the anticipated 2012 and the restyled back end, I decided that the 2012 ML 350 would be worth the wait. More of a surprise to me was my acceptance of the Diesel which was not even a consideration prior to my visit.

    But then Georgian BMW opened. After some online research, I read that the new restyled BMW X3 for 2011 was back in the race. I took out a 35i and was absolutely impressed with the responsiveness of the twin turbo; this vehicle moves! As the salesman said to me, the best part of a BMW is the thrill of the drive. And when I took his advice and “drove it like I stole it” I was almost instantly sold. The handling is superb and yet still has for me, a more luxury feel than the GLK. The interior compared to my Murano is very simple, clean lines and the iDrive control removes some of the dash clutter.

    Since that visit, I have officially ordered the 2011 X3 xDrive35i, Vermillion Red, Oyster interior with the M Sport Package and all of the available option packages except for the Dynamic Comfort option and Heads Up. The Dynamic Comfort package adds only 2 features; the Dynamic Damper which adjusts the suspension to add or remove a more sporty drive and it adds Performance Control which uses wheel sensors to improve cornering depending on vehicle speed. It didn’t make sense to me to spend $1500 to get the dynamic damper control when I already get the Performance Control in the M Sport upgrade. If you are paying for the upgrade in one package, should you not get a discount in the other? This is a flaw in their pricing in my opinion.

    The other item that ticks me off is the Canadian pricing. Even with the dollar as strong as it is, the vehicle is almost $10k more in Canada. In addition, they strip features from the car as compared to the US. For example, the US models comes standard with Adaptive Headlights which auto levels the headlamps and changes angles according to the direction the vehicle is cornering. This is not available on the Canadian model. US customers can also follow their vehicle build on-line and get a nice video of the process when it is done. Canadians get left out of the loop; No video north of the US!

    Just for the sake of noting, I had already ruled out the Volvo XC 60 (still too station wagon looking and lower resale) and the Audi was out as I have heard and read too many electrical/computer related problems that seem to have followed from the Volkswagon line. To be frank, I have absolutely no confidence in the brand.

    Obviously this is based strongly on a personal view and not all will agree. Just my 2 cents worth!

    Last
    month, I test drove Canadian version of the Mercedes GLK & ML350 and the
    BMW X3. The GLK “felt” smaller than the X3; although statistically,
    they are very close. It appears on paper that the BMW has taken a bit
    from the cargo area and put it towards the cabin.

     

    • Ed

      Fuck me, and I though my wife could rabbit! You twat.

  • Brian

    Just buy anything other than the BMW, unless you like to be seen as an arrogant twat.

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