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.
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.