Test Drive: BMW X3 3.0sd

BMW X3 | January 7th, 2009 by 12
bmw x3 30sd e83 2008 24 2

BMW X3 3.0 Diesel, a vehicle that  the US based BMW fans don’t have the chance to buy it or….even to drive it. Despite being …

BMW X3 3.0 Diesel, a vehicle that  the US based BMW fans don’t have the chance to buy it or….even to drive it. Despite being a popular model overseas and exceeding BMW’s expectations when it comes to sales, the X3 Diesel is not available for the U.S market. The first SAV equipped with a diesel engine that made it to the States is the 2009 BMW X5d, which was launched in December 2008. Stronger than expected sales of the diesel equipped bimmers, and BMW might shift their strategy and import more diesels in the U.S *cough* 123d please.

The BMW X3 3.0sd is powered by a sequentially turbocharged three-liter diesel which develops 286 hp and 427.8 lb-ft of torque available from just 1750 rpm and goes from 0-62mph in approximately 7.0 seconds. Not bad for a diesel Sports Activity Vehicle.

bmw x3 30sd e83 2008 24 2 498x373

Being an owner of a 3.0 liter petrol engine X3, I look forward to driving an X3 diesel in the near future, a comparison between the two engines would be my main focus. I have already talked quite a bit last week about the US version of the BMW X3, but today I have a special, complete and very detailed review from AutoEvolution. A great review overall since it’s broken down into several categories, feeding our curiosity all the way to the end. 


Let’s face it, the evil-hobbit look of the X3 isn’t quite the most appealing thing on four wheels out there. BMW designers somehow acknowledged customer feedback and completely redesigned the front bumper to look more elegant but at the same time more menacing. The model we tested was also equipped with the Motorsport Technik package, so the X3 lost all its exterior black bits and confronted us with an angrier look.


The plastic-is-fantastic interior of the phase-one BMW X3 was sadly carried on the facelift model as well, albeit the build-quality seems to have improved. First thing you notice when you enter a BMW X3 cabin is the button clutter on the center console, reminiscent of the fact this 2008 car is still based on the E46 3 Series platform, which is older than some of our readers. 

Driving in the city

Any sane person who buys an SUV (as SAV/crossoverish the X3 is) clearly doesn’t expect a vehicle designed for the city. Unlike some other larger-than-life SUVs, the X3 isn’t THAT out of place on busy streets. Sure, we could have used a few inches trimmed from the length as well as width, but the truth is the X3 is not bigger than a medium-sized European station wagon. Plus, the front and rear parking sensors are a perfect addition on the options list.

Out in the open

Contrary to what you would expect, the X3 3.0sd is a pretty good long journey partner. Highspeed highway bursts of sheer torque can open the mouths of the casual passenger… and keep them that way from 2000 to close to 5000 rpm (if you keep the six-speed automatic in Sport mode), which you have to admit is a rather high number for an oil burner. The noise insulation is adequate although you might want to watch the weight of your right foot, so as to keep the wind-induced decibels out. The X3 has a drag coefficient of 0.35, which is more than good, but it still has a non-aerodynamic hatchback profile, which is bound to directly act on your ear’s comfort at high speeds.

These are just some excerpts from the article, but head over to Autoevolution.com for a full report and to find out how the BMW X3 3.0sd has been ranked.

Thanks for the tip Bogdan!

12 responses to “Test Drive: BMW X3 3.0sd”

  1. No problem. If you are in Bucharest somethime, contact me in order to testdrive this X3 3.0SD ;)

  2. Mike D. says:

    Hi all, there is a nice video clip showing a X3 3.0sd having a lot of fun in the snow near munich :)


    The diesel version of the X3 is very popular in Germany because it is really powerfull and efficient as well. If you get a chance to drive this diesel you will really enjoy it :)



  3. Gil says:

    Hrmm… as it is I’m contemplating buying the X5d. But maybe I should wait a bit more….

  4. get an X5 3.0 SD ;)
    3.0d has a lot of turbo lag

  5. BMW says:

    I saw on the Chinese autoshow a lot of copies of the BMW x3 and x5, they never learn over there.

  6. Josh B says:

    Not an X3 fan full stop. The car just doesnt look good. But the performance fugures of the 3d are very impressive.

  7. Horatiu B. says:

    @Bogdan Gheorghe: The xDrive35d might be a good option, but I would rather wait for the X6 Hybrid.

    I look forward to our test drive on the new diesels though.

  8. The only Hybrid that I’ve tested is Lexus R400h and I was disapointed.

    I don’t know how it will be the new X6 hybrid (2009), but a real “revolution” for fuel economy it will be hybrids diesel-electric.

    The ideea is clear and sometime ago Mercedes and BMW claimed this.


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