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View Full Version : Test Drive: 2007 BMW X3 3.0si BY canadiandriver.com


chl913
03-12-2007, 01:16 AM
Great Review!!!



Having been married to a German for some twenty years now, I can tell you a little something about how the Teutonic mind works: when something's deemed to be good, it's good, and if you don't think so, it's probably because you don't get it.
That's harsh I know, but it does explain my pleased surprise when I got into the 2007 BMW X3, which has been overhauled for 2007. Criticism levelled at the previous model included a cheap-looking interior, odd styling, and a harsh ride. BMW was able to put its pride aside and meet the critics head-on, and listened to what they had to say. The company has addressed the issues, and has turned out a nimble performer with much-improved performance and
The outgoing model offered two six-cylinder engines, a 184-hp 2.5-litre, and 225-hp 3.0-litre. This time around, the two X3 models both carry 3.0-litre inline sixes, but with two power ratings: the 3.0i makes 215 hp and 185 lb-ft of torque, while my 3.0si tester produced 260 hp and 225 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is available, but my tester used the six-speed standard, which replaces the five-speed of 2006; in keeping with its tradition of sporty performance, BMW pretty much stands alone in its use of a manual gearbox in this segment. The system includes a hill hold feature, which keeps the vehicle from rolling backwards while you're moving from brake to accelerator, and coming off the clutch.

That gearbox is exceptionally well done: the clutch is smooth, and the shifter moves precisely into each gate. Acceleration is rapid and the engine is quiet even when pressed hard, which you're tempted to do. Given its nimble steering and fine performance, you very quickly forget that you're driving an SUV: this is a 3 Series sedan with a liftgate
All models come with xDrive, the company's pro-active all-wheel drive system which uses sensors to determine if the vehicle is about to over- or understeer, and takes action to keep the vehicle on course, or bring it back if necessary. I was hoping I wouldn't have to use it, but just a couple of hours after I picked up the vehicle, Old Man Winter dropped a thick blanket of white stuff. I took a few corners much harder than I normally would have, but the system neatly tucked the rear end back into place when I felt the winter tires start to lose their grip. Ploughing through heavy slush onto bare pavement and back again also proved effortless. You can only tempt fate so far in any vehicle, of course, but the X3 does a good job of keeping you out of trouble.

As is usual with short-wheelbase SUVs, the ride is choppy on frost-heaved roads, but the suspension soaks up road imperfections en route to the cabin, and there's no banging over bumps. It's a vast improvement over the previous model, which was fairly harsh and truck-like. No doubt the X3 has sacrificed any off-road capability with its softening-up, if it ever really had any, but that's no loss: I don't think too many owners push them across the Rubicon Trail, and this new version is now well-suited to the urban jungle.
There are several enhancements to the exterior, including a fully-painted tailgate, Xenon lights with the company's signature "corona rings" (standard on the 3.0si and optional on the 3.0i), integrated fog lights, and redesigned bumpers. It's still not a pretty truck, but the new bumpers are much better - the old front one, with its heavy, drooping ends, always reminded me of a jowly bulldog - and it looks more like the X5's little brother.

Inside, there's considerable improvement, with soft-touch and textured plastics, intelligently-placed controls, and upholstered door pads: finally, the X3's interior looks like its price. The seats are very comfortable, and I was able to find the perfect driving position, with full clutch travel while still staying safely back from the airbag - possibly a conscious engineering decision, given that in my unscientific studies, I see more women driving them than I do men. My extra-supportive chairs were courtesy of a $3,200 M Sport Package, which includes sport seats and a leather sport steering wheel, among other things. (I still maintain that BMW should rename its add-on sports packages, though; as far as I'm concerned, it shouldn't have an M on it unless it really is an M.)

The HVAC and stereo are controlled via rows of buttons, which are a little smaller than I'd like; they look nice, but they require too much attention away from the road. As with all 3 Series vehicles, there's no iDrive, which is a plus in my books. (The company says many owners love it, and so I'll give it the benefit of the doubt: perhaps living with it daily is different than trying to learn all of its deeply-buried functions in the space of a week.) The new X3 also has plenty of storage, including large door pockets, a console box, and a covered cubby in the centre of the dash. There's an iPod (should that be "ich-Pod"?) auxiliary jack, but it's awkwardly located on the back of the centre console.

As with all BMW vehicles, there are delightful little niceties: a separate control on the centre vent allows you to adjust the airflow to cooler or warmer, so you needn't breathe a blast furnace while warming your toes; the heated seats have three settings; and there's a little net bag on the console for small-item storage. The few missteps include a passenger-side coffee cup that swings out of the dash - it holds a cup just fine, but who wants a double-double hanging in mid-air above one's freshly laundered pant leg? And as I've found with every manufacturer, no matter what the vehicle's price, the rain-sensing wipers are easily confused by drizzle or light snow. When I'm queen of the world, every car will get only variable intermittent wipers, and that'll be the end of this foolishness

In its favour, it also lacks a proximity key and engine start button. You simply get in, insert the key and turn it - quick, easy, and you always know where it is. (As the owner of a couple of 1940s vehicles with starter buttons, I always get a chuckle out of seeing them on new ones - all cars used to have them, and automakers fell over themselves touting the impressive, "modern" system of key start when it was introduced.)

The rear hatch is perfectly balanced: it's easy to open, and when you give it a tug, it closes on its own. It reveals a cargo area that's 94 cm long; the rear seats don't fold perfectly flat, but they do open the space to a length of 158 cm. The cargo floor contains bed rails with optional cleats, which can be inserted and moved anywhere along the rail for tying items down. The rear seat is surprisingly roomy and comfortable, and my tester had optional heated rear seats.

The X3's overhaul has produced a vehicle that really surprised me: it has the storage capacity of an SUV, but the driving dynamics of a sports sedan. It's expensive, but now it looks more like you're getting your money's worth. And while I'm normally not an SUV fan - yes, I know BMW calls it an SAV, for "sport activity vehicle", but please - this one is great fun to drive, and I was sorry to give it back. Viel besser, BMW - "much better."

Pricing: 2007 BMW X3 3.0si


Base price: $50,900
Options: $11,200 (Premium Package of panorama sunroof, auto-dimming mirrors, Harmon Kardon LOGIC7 sound system and Nevada leather, $4,800; M Sport Package of sport suspension, sport seats, M leather sport steering wheel, M aerodynamics package, high-gloss shadowline, 18-inch double-spoke wheels and anthracite roof liner, $3,200; Comfort Package of garage door opener, front comfort seats, heated rear seats and park distance control, $2,400; metallic paint $800)
Freight: $1,895
A/C tax: $100
Price as tested: $64,095 Click here for options, dealer invoice prices and factory incentives


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calgaryx3
03-12-2007, 05:55 AM
Not a bad review at all!

Asif

cbj
03-12-2007, 07:45 AM
Logic 7 stereo is that correct?

stangmatt66
03-12-2007, 11:06 AM
I've always liked CanadianDriver's reviews and this one is no different. Good review!

AzNMpower32
03-12-2007, 03:10 PM
Logic 7 stereo is that correct?
No, but all magazines/reviewers make mistakes time to time. In the review,the X3 has always had a 6MT......the 6AT is the one that replaces the old 5AT. I've liked their reviews overall, and it's a good read.

And yes, her comment about Teutonic thinking is so true. "When something is deemed good, it's good. And if you don't think so, its probably because you don't get it." :rofl:

davelv
03-12-2007, 11:11 PM
The side rails below the doors seem to stick out less than the American version. Is this true, and if so, are they fittable to the American X3? Sure would be nice not to drag my pants every time I get out.

kjboyd
03-12-2007, 11:57 PM
that's the sport package rails davelv.

MJS
03-13-2007, 05:02 AM
The side rails below the doors seem to stick out less than the American version. Is this true, and if so, are they fittable to the American X3? Sure would be nice not to drag my pants every time I get out.

Exactly. So far, this is my only beef with my 2007 X3(non-sport). The rails get filthy in the winter and you have to remember to stretch out over them when exiting the car. And tell passengers to do the same. Or else they get crap all over their pants.