One of our favorite BMW SAVs is the entry-level in the U.S. family of X3 vehicles, the xDrive28i.
In 2011, BMW announced that will replace the inline-six in the 28i model with the new N20 2.0 liter turbocharged unit that delivers similar power with less fuel consumption. The 2013 xDrive28i returns 28 mpg highway/21 city and an EPA combined rating of 24 mpg compared with 19/26/21 from the xDrive35i.
In its class of midsize premium Sports Activity Vehicles, BMW X3 28i competes against similar offerings from Audi, Q5 2.0T and even with the new Range Rover Evoque.
U.S. magazine Car and Driver took the time to compare these three vehicle. The X3, loaded with five option packages costing more than $1000 each, came in at $52,345; the Evoque was at the high end of the scale with a $56,795, while the Audi Q5 had the lowest list price in the test at $45,120.
But which one takes the win?
Let’s have a look at an excerpt from their review:
The thing is, that’s really the only thing that drives us nuts about the X3 with the 2.0T. Like the comparo-winning 328i with which it shares its “TwinPower Turbo” engine, the X3 wins here because of its broad portfolio of talents. It is neither as staid as the Audi nor as juvenile as the Range Rover. Do not take this to mean that the second-generation X3 is a middle-ground Milquetoast. It doesn’t slalom as quickly as the Evoque, but it is ultimately the most rewarding to drive. We witnessed this on our evaluation loop, where the BMW’s suspension, steering, and throttle responded in the most predictable and progressive fashion.
The X3 delivers a controlled and comfortable ride that gives it the feel of a well-tuned premium sedan. It feels, in short, like a 328i. It’s just as quiet inside as the Q5, and the noises that do penetrate the cabin are more pleasant, including a nicely judged engine/exhaust trill.
The BMW’s engine is the best of the bunch, too. It produces as much horsepower as the Evoque and more peak torque (delivered at a lower engine speed) than the others. The X3 is the quickest to 60 mph at 6.2 seconds and is the only one of these three that can break 15.0 seconds through the quarter-mile. This is true even though, at 4194 pounds, it’s a bit heavier than the Audi and the Rover. Over 300 miles, the BMW also managed 23 mpg, 1 mpg better than the Evoque and 1 less than the Audi.