: Some questions about the X3 from a potential buyer

04-03-2007, 06:54 AM
I have a '04 330i right now, which I love, but the lease is up in a couple months and I need to decide whether to keep my car or get a new car. My wife and I have had a child since I leased my 330i and another is on the way, so I'm considering getting something a bit larger, thus an X3. I've driven a couple X3s this weekend, and I've pretty much decided that I'll either get an X3, go with a '07 335xi, or keep my car for another year or two. I'll be getting navigation, so my questions mostly pertain to that.

Since there is no iDrive in the X3,

Does this also mean no car configuration options are available on the X3 with Nav, and instead all have to be programmed at the dealer? I am mostly okay with this, but I've had a few issues with my car and programmed options and was excited by the ability to change things under the iDrive menus.
What about other convenience options in the 330i with iDrive (e.g., does the X3 have the automatic venting options available with the 330i)?
I think I noticed that only 6 radio stations are selectable per FM channel without hitting the FM button to get FM2. Is this the same with Sirius navigation? iDrive seems to allow for more stations on screen.

I wasn't able to test out the navigation (the dealer keeps all the DVDs locked up) or satellite radio. I'm curious to know how song information shows up on the navigation in the X3. I saw that RDS info is displayed along the top in small chunks of text (I think this is a RDS issue). Does the X3 nav display the full title and artist information from satellite? How about CDText? Is that displayed? What happens if the Nav map is on? Where does the song info get displayed? Anyone have any pictures of satellite song infor on navigation?

Does the nav have voice command? Is this an option?

How does the X3 nav compare with the iDrive Nav in terms of features, ease of use, etc.?

I'm also curious about the servotronic steering. How different is this from the standard BMW speed-sensitive steering?

Is the center cupholder actually big enough to hold a large drink or venti coffee? It look like it would just fit a soda can.

Anyone know when changes, even minor ones, will be announced for the 08 models? Not sure if I should try to wait until the fall.

Thanks in advance! :)

04-03-2007, 07:59 AM
Viturally all of the configuration options, except the settings which are programed into the key (seats, mirrors, radio stations) are programable by the dealer. I have seen on one of the BMW sites a way to do this yourself thru the dashboard. Compared to the Idrive the X3 convienience factor is several years behind in terms of what you can do and what the dealer can do. Be aware that the dealers are wanting to get paid to change the confiquration after the initial setup on delivery. The Nav can uses a split screen so radio infomation is on the left whereas directions are ont he right. The Sat radio displays the artist and song on the screen. Presets are limited to 6 for all the radios (there are 2 FM sets of 6 avialable). The 2008 information will most likely be available in June as production normally begins in Sept after the Aug plant shut down.
I am also considering what vehicle to get in 2008, and the 535ix is the leading contender to replace one of my X3's as it is a much more sophisticated vehicle and the engine alone is worth the extra 10G.

04-03-2007, 08:31 AM
I get the impression that you like the "I" drive. If that is the case you might want to take a long look at the new X5 which has that system standard since it is not available on the X3. With children, especially a new one, the X3 may be hard riding for them in the back seat. The larger X5 or 535xi may be a better choice. In any case be sure to take an X3 on a long test drive over some rough pavement with your wife in the back seat. Then do the same in the X5 and 535xi before you make your decision. As noted the X3 is not as sophisticated as others in the line up and that is exactly why I bought one.

04-03-2007, 09:25 AM
If you like the way the E46 controls are done, then you'll like the X3 because well, they're pretty much the same. If you like the way the new E90 and other "new" BMWs are laid out, then you're better off with a 335xi or the X5. The radio and HVAC controls are identical to those on your '04 330i.

The center cupholder is good by BMW standards. It'll hold your "standard" medium sized drink, but not those big gulps. In Europe, their "large" is our "medium" for anything related to fast-food. (I'm dead serious.......try ordering a large fry in Europe and you'll swear you got a small). I've never had a problem with the cupholders, and for water bottles, you can put them in the door storage net area.

Servotronic steering isn't hugely different like Active Steering (don't confuse the two). Most BMWs including your current 3 have a engine-speed based power steering assist steering, and this is what comes standard on the X3. The Servotronic makes the assist based on vehicle speed. No change in ratio like on Active Steering. It's an inexpensive option that makes parking easier. If you feel its necessary, then go ahead.

04-03-2007, 09:53 AM
With the X3 getting a pretty good update for 2007, don't expect much for the '08 model. Diesels are coming, but probably not until the next gen X3 sometime in 2010 or 2011. In the next generation, just like the new X5, you'll probably see the new BMW technologies (iDrive, Comfort Access, Electronic shifter, etc.).

I've loved the X3 since it first came out. I like that it's based on the e46 and doesn't have iDrive. The 2007 updates definitely made the X3 more BMW-like. The exterior is finally sorted out, no more all black or all painted bumpers. The interior has gained a lot in the terms of luxury. Granted your key options must be programmed by the dealer, but how often are you going to want to change them?

04-03-2007, 11:10 AM
Thanks for all the replies. I have to say, I do not like iDrive that much -- I think it's about 90% of the way there but that last 10% is so poorly done it looses most of its value -- so I'm fine with not having it. I was just hoping for more of the technology conveniences of the iDrive system (without all it's shortcomings...too much to ask for, I know). I've had to take my 330i back to the dealer more than once to get them to reprogram the car as it was originally supposed to be, and the dealership is not exactly convenient from my house. But, this is a minor thing in the long run.

Does the X3 nav offer a 3D perspective view? Is there a PDF manual for the nav around anywhere?

I wish I could afford the X5 but that's probably out of the question at this point. The comments about the ride are well-taken, but I may be out of luck here. How bad is the ride of the X3 over rough ground really? The area by our dealer is almost all newly built-up, so there are very few rough patches, so it was difficult to really test. I drove it through some construction areas as best I could, and the bumps didn't seem to bad. Certainly not has hard as my 330i, even without the sport package.

I also like the smaller size of the X3. I've consider one of the BMW wagons, but we already have a Volvo XC70, so I'm looking for something that will give me a bit of size and cargo height when needed but it's not our only family car.

And thanks for the info on the cup holder. I like the one in my 330i, which is plenty big enough for venti coffee cup, though I wish the second one was more accessible. The X3's just looked smaller. I'm glad the X3 has the passenger pop out.

As for the 08 model, I wouldn't want need many changes, but if it came out with rear vents, for example, I'd be bummed out that I didn't wait. Maybe even something as small as that is too much to hope for.

04-03-2007, 11:31 AM
TIon, just as an FYI, my parents 2000 XC70 rides rougher than my X3. it really isn't that bad.

04-03-2007, 12:22 PM
The ride is rough over rough pavement and you feel every expansion joint on worn freeways, especially in the right lane where the big rigs have chewed it up. You really need to have your wife sit in back on that test drive too. My '06 non sport X3 rides much worse than my daughter's XC70. That said, I would much rather drive my X3 than my daughter's Volvo, but my wife would rather ride in the XC70. I guess it is all in your personal perspective.

04-03-2007, 01:00 PM
Found this post which contains the setting possible for the X3.http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/att...2&d=1162437388 (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=90372&d=1162437388)

04-03-2007, 01:23 PM
let's further clarify: i have the Michellin Tires. what does everyone else have that thinks the ride is rough?

04-03-2007, 05:30 PM
Let's just admit it, the X3 doesn't ride well in any setup. A 325i, even with sport package, probably absorbs the bumps better.

Unfortunately, its the price you pay for trying to make a tall vehicle handle. I've really just gotten used to the firm setup on our '04, and do enjoy it when I hit the twisties.

04-03-2007, 06:58 PM
Let's just admit it, the X3 doesn't ride well in any setup. A 325i, even with sport package, probably absorbs the bumps better.

Unfortunately, its the price you pay for trying to make a tall vehicle handle. I've really just gotten used to the firm setup on our '04, and do enjoy it when I hit the twisties.

Wow, is it really that bad? When I drove one without the sport package this weekend, I thought it was much easier on the bumps than my 330i (also without a sport package). I didn't get to test it out very well, though, since it really was a pretty well-paved (and recently at that) area of roads.

I really was hoping for something that could handle the potholes of DC a bit better than my car.

04-03-2007, 07:22 PM
I really was hoping for something that could handle the potholes of DC a bit better than my car.
Well, I meant the E90 325i, not the E46. IMO the E90 is far too isolated, too soft. Starting from 2005, the X3's ride was softened up with changes to the suspension that made the ride more acceptable to more folks. Personally, I haven't tried the newer X3s myself; my dad only noticed this when he drove a 2007 non-sport around an auto-x track at one of the BMW Ultimate Drive events and he said he didnt like how they'd softened up the suspension cuz it didn't corner as well.

I'll say this though, I highly doubt the X3 will provide a softer ride than what you have right now. It might grip better and you'll appreciate it when you push the X3 really hard. However, if you do DC streets daily and don't have the chance to take it on the backroads, I might suggest shopping elsewhere. Maybe a 325i touring or maybe a used X5 without the sport suspension. (If you're thinking Acura RDX......I read the ride's just as firm as the X3 if not worse)

04-03-2007, 07:27 PM
i've had a 325i and a 328i as loaners and both vehicles road much harsher than my X3.

04-04-2007, 07:19 AM
When I suggested the ride may be too harsh (and I believe it is) I was really thinking of the two little ones in the back seat. That is why I suggested the wife ride back there for a long test drive over rough pavement to see if it is acceptable for the babies. It has been some time since I last drove in DC but I recall pot holes that in other locales might be home to fish. I hope things have improved since then. I offer two suggestons then I will shut up. First, since you have a plethora of dealers back there get one to give you an X3 for a couple of days and really check it out. Finally, think about looking elsewhere like a new MDX which has lots of room, rides well, and is reliable to a fault. It just isn't very exciting. Oh, yes. I do like my X3 even with the harsh ride. I love the handling and utility/size/mileage/ performance. I think it is a great SAV.

04-04-2007, 07:22 AM
i've had a 325i and a 328i as loaners and both vehicles road much harsher than my X3.

I agree. the ride in my X3 is completely fine. I have driven several E90's and found the ride to be harsher than my X3...
Just drive it and make up your own mind :)

04-04-2007, 07:35 PM
I find that the 2007 X3 without the sport package or larger tire option has a quiet and comfortable ride in both the front and back seats that is at least as good as the X5's.

04-05-2007, 08:15 AM
I got 06 X3 with all the trimmings except the nav. Sport package rides great on 18's. I never expect to speed over a bumpy road or cross over railroad at 60 - 70 mph. Just common sense.

We got a 2 year old and soon a new born in August. I think the X3 will work out fine for us.

Good luck.

PS. I'm starting to figure out the X3 drivibility...I can definitely drive it like a 3 series. But I won't be making a 60 degree turn at 80 mph.