PDA

View Full Version : My 2008 X3Si report card after 500 miles


bobkap
01-22-2008, 11:10 AM
Stuff: Silver gray metallic, 6M, PDC, Servotronic, Heated seats.
Handling: Crisp, tight, sure-footed. Fit & finish: Excellent. Trans: Smooth as a baby's ass, use 1-3-5 around town, gets 19mpg. Highway MPG: 29 @ 65-75. Cockpit: Clean, uncluttered and functional. Interior: Spartan and Germanic, just as I prefer, but I did splurge on a pair of nice front sheepskins.
Dings: Brakes a bit too sensitive. Clutch too light for my foot.
In retrospect, would I do it again?.............ABSOLUTELY!!
Others of mine: "80 635CSi Euro, "72 Tii Euro, "65 GTO Tri-Power, "95 Wrangler.

How do others rate theirs?

dug01
01-22-2008, 01:01 PM
. Trans: Smooth as a baby's ass, ?

Wish I could say that...:(

Enjoy the ride--its a great driving vehicle.--Goes good in the snow also--

Evlengr
01-22-2008, 01:14 PM
It's a manual Dug--what we all should have opted for [and what I am :-)]

Great to hear it's what you wanted. Good show!

dspeed
01-22-2008, 04:17 PM
I just passed 2000 miles today; 1300 on the ED and 650 bringing it home from Boulder. No problems. And yes, its a manual trans, and the clutch feels odd. Xdrive was very nice on limited snow/ice. Very sure footed. You'll get used to the brakes, but they may spoil you for life.

Your overall assessment is pretty good. The comfort seats are very nice. The xenon lights should be standard - they are *wonderful*. The bluetooth doesn;t play well w my phone (so far), but that's life.

Now if I can fit the turbo form the 535 wagon ...

d

dug01
01-22-2008, 07:29 PM
It's a manual Dug--what we all should have opted for [and what I am :-)]

Great to hear it's what you wanted. Good show!
Ya I seen it was a manual--still wish I could say that..I have an '03 Z4 6sp manual and it does shift smooth, I installed a Whalen shift machine to add to the fun--but I would not want manual in the X3 because my wife sometimes drives.

dspeed
01-22-2008, 07:48 PM
On the clutch - I think I had the seating set wrong for the pedal geometry. Sitting lower and further back makes the pedal geometry feel much better. Still having an issue w the delay built into the clutch, but that's fixed easily enough, I understand.

The CA had me sitting way up high and close to the wheel (adjusted in its far forward position). Go figure.

Doesn;t anybody teach their wives/daughters to shift a standard trans anymore? I never figured it was an option.

The 6 speed must be nice in the Z. I considered adding a 5 speed box to my '55 TR-3 in the last rebuild, but kept it original. And it doesn;t shift very smooth either (no synchro on first). <g>

Dave

bobkap
01-23-2008, 07:40 AM
Dave,
Your seating position info regarding the clutch sounds like it may reduce that "light foot" feel; I'll do some experimentation. Driving the Euro6 & GTO has made my left leg twice the size of the right so that exacerbates the problem somewhat. I wonder if I could install a heavier spring on the brake pedal.

dspeed
01-23-2008, 05:44 PM
Bob -

I think its going to be easier to recalibrate your leg than change the clutch feel on that car. IFAICT the spring on the pedal is really just to return the arm. Most of the resistance is from the pressure plate springs / hydraulic cylinder ratio. $$$$

Dave

iamthewalrus
01-23-2008, 07:57 PM
...but I would not want manual in the X3 because my wife sometimes drives.

All of my straight friends say that. I feel sorry for them. Fortunately, all of my ex boyfriends drive manual. It's one of the bright sides of being gay I guess. :)

-James

bretov
01-23-2008, 09:15 PM
thanks for the feed back - keep us posted i am considering this car 2

bobkap
01-24-2008, 03:56 AM
bretov,
While you're looking, check out the RDX, you get more bang for the buck. I came close and might have bought if it had a nice V6 instead of that stupid turbo 4. In any case, once a knowledgable car nut sits behind the wheel of a Bimmer the gravitational pull is almost impossible to escape in spite of the car's inherent quirks and arrogance of the company. Need to remember these guys are Krauts so arrogance is a core value. Upside is they're superlative automotive engineers. Good luck on your hunt!

hot_croc
01-24-2008, 07:02 PM
...Trans: Smooth as a baby's ass, use 1-3-5 around town...
Thanks for the report, bobkap!
We test drove an automatic but plan on ordering a manual, so I was wondering what the feel was like.

Doesn;t anybody teach their wives/daughters to shift a standard trans anymore?
As sexist as that sounds, I have to agree!
Too few people (females in particular) know how to drive stick anymore. :tsk:
And too few automakers even offer manual trannies anymore. :thumbdwn:

bobkap
01-25-2008, 05:20 AM
hot croc,
I suggest you take extended demos in each type. Every car I ever owned or now own is a stick so I'm not totally objective. When I drive a Bimmer stick, I feel a pronounced unanimity with the vehicle, that is to say, the Bimmer and I become one, or better yet, the driving machine becomes an extension of myself. Never had that feeling with any AT's I've driven including Bimmers. The X3 6M trans is truely a jewel, precise, smooth and a joy to shift. The shifter is nicely sprung to index adjacent at 3rd / 4th gate when in neutral so you always have a positive "feel" for all gears in the pattern. Reverse is heavily sprung so you need to slam it to the left an up, otherwise you'll be indexed for 1st and 2nd which is certainly preferred over accidently crunching reverse.
I wish 6th ratio was a bit lower so that crusing at 65 would tach under 2000rpm instead of 2500 or so, but then again, this is an SAV and is designed to do things that sedans can't. The clutch is a bit light for my foot but I'm experiminting with seating position
as a possible fix. In any case, given the chatter on this website, I conclude that the M6 trans is surely the choice of least regret. I hope this helps you.
Any "real" driver who does not smile after an X3 6M test drive has no soul.
bobkap

hot_croc
01-25-2008, 11:11 AM
I suggest you take extended demos in each type.
Thanks again, bobkap!
Very nice detail - I felt like I was driving the car myself!

We'd love to test drive a manual but finding one is proving to be quite difficult. :rolleyes:

bobkap
01-25-2008, 11:50 AM
I couldn't find a stick demo either so I took a gigantic leap of faith and jeopardized my marriage by ordering a stick. Since we had Bimmer and Saab sticks in the past, my wife has recovered nicely from the X3 stick shock In fact, now we argue about who gets to drive the X3.

dug01
01-25-2008, 11:50 AM
Doesn;t anybody teach their wives/daughters to shift a standard trans anymore? I never figured it was an option.


Dave

Yea, lets not go there--steering, grooming, talking on the phone, eating, speeding, tailgating---and also operate a clutch and gearshift--???? :rolleyes:

Andrew*Debbie
01-25-2008, 02:18 PM
Great thread. I've got lots of comments.

First our X3 just passed 2,500 miles. I like bobkap's format.

Stuff: Crimson Red, 6M, PDC,
Handling: Predicable, balanced and safe. Car slides very nicely at the limit. Darn near idiot proof when the DSC is on.
Fit & finish: Excellent.
Trans: Typical BMW. Long throws and a tad notchy. Bombproof. Idiot proof. Shift at any speed into any gear and the triple synchros put you in in that gear.
Clutch: Very long travel. Last inch of travel is useless. If you haven't driven a BMW before the Clutch Delay Valve takes some getting used to. After a while you learn that you don't need to put the pedal all the way to the floor. With the CDV, the clutch is bombproof and idiot proof.

The Acceleration Assistant is a nice plus. If you have the clutch and the brake down, the computer will hold the brakes on for 2 seconds or until you start to apply power. Makes hill starts stupid easy.

Engine: The N52B30 engine makes this car. The torque curve is so flat it doesn't matter what gear you are in. Wish it had a dipstick. I don't like or trust the oil level sensor.

Sound System Eh. It is ok, but nothing special.


Cockpit: Clean. Typical BMW. Form follows function in the best BMW tradition. Logical control placement and everything is easy to reach. We wish the car had a few more gauges.

Interior: We like. So do our dogs. The 'ette is much improved since the '04 models. Seats are very comfy

In retrospect, would we do it again?.............ABSOLUTELY!!

Andrew*Debbie
01-25-2008, 02:22 PM
The X3 6M trans is truely a jewel, precise, smooth and a joy to shift.


While I agree with you on almost everything, here I disagree.

I find the shifter ok, but not great.


When you have a chance go test drive a Mazda MX-5 or RX-8. Those cars are amazing.

I can shift my MX-5 with 1 finger. It is like throwing a toggle switch. Unlike the BMW, cold weather makes a real difference in how the Mazda shifts. BMW must use synthetic gear oil. Mazda doesn't.

Andrew*Debbie
01-25-2008, 02:26 PM
I couldn't find a stick demo either so I took a gigantic leap of faith and jeopardized my marriage by ordering a stick.


LOL. In our case the leap of faith was Crimson Red. Try and find a CR X3 on a dealer lot.

We both wanted a stick. Debbie drives the X3 as much as I do.

AzNMpower32
01-25-2008, 02:58 PM
I can shift my MX-5 with 1 finger. It is like throwing a toggle switch. Unlike the BMW, cold weather makes a real difference in how the Mazda shifts. BMW must use synthetic gear oil. Mazda doesn't.
I agree, the mx-5 has a great shifter. But the throttle is too touchy. Admittedly I am a novice at manual transmission, but I always feel like I can only barely touch the throttle or else the revs zing up to 5000rpm before I engage the clutch.

Andrew*Debbie
01-25-2008, 05:44 PM
I agree, the mx-5 has a great shifter. But the throttle is too touchy. Admittedly I am a novice at manual transmission, but I always feel like I can only barely touch the throttle or else the revs zing up to 5000rpm before I engage the clutch.


mmmm. The hard part is switching between the two cars. They are so different.

The MX-5 is geared so low you can come off the clutch and then apply power. I usually get to the friction point before I hit the gas. If the car is rolling at all, I put the car in second and then apply power. Even so 5,000 seems to happen all the time :)

AzNMpower32
01-25-2008, 06:57 PM
mmmm. The hard part is switching between the two cars. They are so different.

The MX-5 is geared so low you can come off the clutch and then apply power. I usually get to the friction point before I hit the gas. If the car is rolling at all, I put the car in second and then apply power. Even so 5,000 seems to happen all the time :)
You can do that? I must be slipping the clutch too much.....I'm not even sure what that means. (I guess this conversation can continue via PM to avoid taking this thread OT)

iamthewalrus
01-25-2008, 07:47 PM
The Acceleration Assistant is a nice plus. If you have the clutch and the brake down, the computer will hold the brakes on for 2 seconds or until you start to apply power. Makes hill starts stupid easy.


Quick question, is this a 2007 and later feature only? I feel silly asking as I've had a 2006 3.0i manual for six months, but I guess I never noticed it kicking in...

Thanks!

archrenov8
01-26-2008, 05:08 AM
Originally Posted by dug01
...but I would not want manual in the X3 because my wife sometimes drives.

James, Same here- my hubby, my gay friends and my son drive manual, so I am ordering my 6M without any hesitation (no pun intended).

I bought a GTi for my son last year, and really enjoyed the 6M, and we have a Golf with 5M. Whenever we rent in Europe (and most recently, South Africa) it is always with a manual. I find that I pay more attention to my driving with a manual, and enjoy the experience more as well.

:) glen

archrenov8
01-26-2008, 05:11 AM
So, does the brake being held by the computer always happen, or do you have to set something for that? This feature will be particularly good for me- we have lots of hills where I drive, but I did not realize this feature existed in the test drives, because all of the local dealers are located in flat areas.

glen

Andrew*Debbie
01-26-2008, 05:27 AM
So, does the brake being held by the computer always happen, or do you have to set something for that?


You have to depress the clutch and the brake. That's it. Lift of the brake pedal and the computer holds the brakes on for up to 2 seconds. If you lift off the clutch, the brakes release.


The X3 is the easiest to drive MT we've ever owned.

Andrew*Debbie
01-26-2008, 05:44 AM
Quick question, is this a 2007 and later feature only? I feel silly asking as I've had a 2006 3.0i manual for six months, but I guess I never noticed it kicking in...

Thanks!

I'm not sure. I think so.

It would be easy to check. Stop on any hill. Clutch down, brake down, brake up. If the car rolls, you don't have it.

iamthewalrus
01-26-2008, 07:49 AM
Thanks, I'll check this morning and report back...

-J

hot_croc
01-26-2008, 08:07 AM
... I find that I pay more attention to my driving with a manual, and enjoy the experience more as well.
If only more people realized that.

archrenov8
01-26-2008, 08:13 AM
You have to depress the clutch and the brake. That's it. Lift of the brake pedal and the computer holds the brakes on for up to 2 seconds. If you lift off the clutch, the brakes release.


The X3 is the easiest to drive MT we've ever owned.

That is good to know.

The only 6M that I could test drive was a manual 3 series sedan. Not sure how similar that is to the X3 6M. 6M's are pretty rare in these parts, apparently.

I was comparing the 3 series 6M to our 2000 Golf 5M and my son's 2007 GTi 6M, and it seemed most like the GTi's, which would be a good thing.

HT417
01-27-2008, 04:23 AM
A little long. I'll use and modify A*D's format.

Our first BMW, just short of 1200 miles - I'll fix that problem today.

Stuff: Silver gray, black with gray wood, AT, premium, cold weather, sports activity(includes side steps), Servotronic, cargo net, heated wheel, rear airbags, Xenon, PDC.

Handling: "Predicable, balanced and safe" +1. Now that I've had a chance to experience the slower turn in and transient response in daily driving, I almost regret not getting the sport package. Not that it doesn't handle well, I just think I'm trying to turn it into a sports car.

Fit & finish: Excellent.

Trans: Knock on wood and rub the roundel, it's been great so far. I'm enjoying the manual mode more than I would have ever imagined. Instantaneous and smooth shifts at ~2000 and ~4000 rpms. Much more noticeable at revs in between.

Engine: Fantastic. Smooth and powerful with, for me, an intoxicating sound as the revs rise. I'm going to have to make an effort to keep the speeds legal.

Sound System: I'm not an audiophile but it sounds good to me. Much better than I was expecting. A good CD makes the difference with great dynamic range and separation. I could hear fingers sliding on the guitar strings during quieter portions.

Cockpit: I'll quote A*D here "Clean. Typical BMW. Form follows function in the best BMW tradition. Logical control placement and everything is easy to reach. We wish the car had a few more gauges." I'll add that I like having the temperature gauge as opposed to the, in my opinion useless and ornamental, vacuum gauge in the 3 series.

Interior: I really like it as is but could hope for just a little more. I wish we could get the anthrasite headliner as a standard option. I like it better than the gray. I also liked the fabric seats that were in my 2005 loaner better than the leather I have. They let you sink a little deeper into them to get sport seat like support during cornering without the stress of always worrying about wearing down the bolsters getting in and out.

Favorite options/items: the auto tranny so far..., heated steering wheel and seats if you live in the colder climates - very quick and efficient, PDC (almost a must for Europe), Xenon and adaptive cornering lights (I'll never order another car without them), Servotronic (see additional notes below), brakes, sensitive but powerful (if you just want to stop, blow on the pedal, if you want whiplash, use your foot), the side steps (I thought I would hate them but they're not bad. They add to the looks, I get a lot of compliments, and they help block the majority of mud and road garbage that flies up from the wheels. My trick to keeping my pants clean is to slide to the left and then step way out.), the engine, the engine, the engine! Did I mention the engine?

Sour grapes: 4 items replaced in the first 1000 miles - passenger mirror motor, left motor mount, front and rear differentials. I hate the water that drips from the rear hatch, secretly gets on the back of your jacket and then on your leather seats!! Absolutely annoying. Either you have to wait until it all drips off, wipe it and all of the dirt off with your hand, or take your jacket off before you get in. All fun things in the dead of winter. BMW, isn't there some cheap fix that you could apply??? In the meantime, I'm trying to figure out something myself. And what's up with having to search the internet to find out how to operate your Voice Commands in a $40k vehicle?

Hung jury: Servotronic. My opinion on this option is hard for me to put into words so I hope I don't confuse the crap out of anyone as I try. This is one option I couldn't test before ordering but the Internet postings I found seemed to be about 70% positive. My feelings tend toward the positive because it stabilizes what is to me a loose, nervous steering feel that requires constant correction. At least that was my impression after having driven a non-Servotronic 2008 demo back to back with mine a couple of weeks ago. With the Servo you just keep the steering wheel pointed where you want it to go and it keeps the wheels under control. I'll note that the 2005 X3 6MT loaner I drove last week handled nicely and felt more connected - maybe it's a manual vs. auto issue.

I think this might be the best way to describe the difference - non-Servo, you feel the road more and it tells you how to adjust from there to stay pointed where you want; Servo, you lose some road feel and you need to look well ahead to pick your line and then just keep the steering wheel pointed there and the wheels follow. Now that I've finally figured this out and stopped trying to make small corrections all the time I've gained more confidence in the handling. Although this isn't what I call traditional BMW steering feel, I am enjoying it. If I ever start regretting it in the future it looks like returning it to non-Servo might be as simple as removing the control box, the sensor on the steering rack, and doing the reprogramming. At least that's the impression I get by looking at the parts diagrams on www.RealOEM.com (http://www.RealOEM.com). I hope this made sense.

In retrospect, would we do it again?.............at this point I don't know. We've gotten off to a rocky start but things seem to be improving.

Andrew*Debbie
01-27-2008, 05:45 AM
The only 6M that I could test drive was a manual 3 series sedan. Not sure how similar that is to the X3 6M.


They are both typical BMW MTs. Unlike the e46 3er, the center armrest doesn't get in the way. We test drove a 2007 325i MT sedan in June. I haven't driven them back to back, so I can't be more specific.

HT417
01-27-2008, 01:01 PM
The only 6M that I could test drive was a manual 3 series sedan. Not sure how similar that is to the X3 6M.

I've had the opportunity to drive both the 3 series and X3 manuals over the past three weeks. The clutch and shifter in all of them felt the same to me. I think it's been mentioned that the final drive ratio is different in the X3.

bobkap
01-28-2008, 04:51 AM
While I agree with you on almost everything, here I disagree.

I find the shifter ok, but not great.


When you have a chance go test drive a Mazda MX-5 or RX-8. Those cars are amazing.

I can shift my MX-5 with 1 finger. It is like throwing a toggle switch. Unlike the B MW, cold weather makes a real difference in how the Mazda shifts. BMW must use synthetic gear oil. Mazda doesn't.

Andy/Deb,
Never drove an rx/mx, will put on my list.
My X3 6M comment was relative to my Euro6 Alpina's 5spd close ratio Getrag, my GTO's M20 4spd and Tii. The best tranny I ever had was a 4spd-electric o.d. box on my '76 Volvo
242DL that ran for 330,000 miles before rusting out from underneath me. The tranny was just as delightful to shift the awful day I junked the car as when I drove off the showroom floor.