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Havelcek
02-01-2008, 08:32 AM
This is my first BMW so I thought people might be interested in my (and my wife's) unbiased opinions on the car.

Features: auto, premium audio, sport, nav, cargo net, rubber mats, xenons, heated seats
Color: Monaco Blue/Tobacco Leather
Build Date: 10/26/2007
Other cars considered: Acura MDX, Infiniti FX, BMW X5

Background:

I drive a 2004 Infiniti G35x and my wife drives a Chevy Impala company car after having numerous Volkswagens. She was recently promoted to a position that didn't require the car so we went into the market. We are both in our early 30s and financially stable so money is not a major driver but potential starting a family is. Also we have an 80lb German Shepherd who needs to be hauled around and we prefer to be able to have him be in a rear area rather than on a back seat, for safety purposes.

I have had stupendous experiences with Infinitis over the years, both in terms of quality and dealership so that was our first stop. Unfortunately the FX, while extremely fun to drive and full of electronic gadgetry, just doesn't have enough room in the cargo area for the dog. Next stop was the Acura MDX which has the room, but actually a little too much of it, and my wife felt like the ride was a little too floaty for her. She drives my Infiniti a lot and has grown to like a sport suspension and the MDX, like many Japanese cars, is not particularly stiff or responsive. Having said that though its an excellent car with tons of awesome electronic gadgets, stereo and nav.

Last stop was BMW of Flemington (NJ) who spent nearly 2 hours with us including driving an X3 and X5 and a tour of the service area. They seemed to identify that we are the epitome of the kind of people who they want to be bringing into the fold, and treated us as such. Of the cars we drove the X3 had by far the best handling and road feel, very clean interior and good exterior looks and obviously the BMW cachet. We decided to go with the an X3 lease and eventually got the best deal from Hunterdon BMW (NJ).

So without further ado....

The Good:

- The car is beautiful. Everyone compliments the dark blue on the tobacco leather and when its clean it is utterly striking.
- That BMW cachet. My wife likes that she's driving a BMW, and if she's happy, I'm happy.
- The ride. The car has a simply amazing ride. I've never driven a BMW at length before this one and I am amazed at how much fun it is and smooth the ride on all kinds of surfaces. It is very stable, yet agile, and goes exactly where you tell it to go.
- The engine. For a car this big and heavy, they do amazing things with a 3 liter.

The Bad:

- The electronics are at least a generation old. The Nav system is horrible and doesn't know many local streets in northern NJ which a stock Hertz Neverlost has no trouble with. The stereo (premium) sounds washed out and does not seem to have been balanced for the vehicle. It also has the worst radio reception of any vehicle I have owned or recently driven.
- The transmission. Not much else to say here that I haven't said already in other threads. At best it is unpleasant and at worst dangerous. If you are cruising the highway at constant speeds its fine, but if you are in stop-n-go like we are, it is soul-sucking.

Conclusion:

BMW got lucky with us, as this was pretty much the only vehicle that fit some very specific purchasing criteria for us. Otherwise we probably would have gone elsewhere because it just isn't all that competitive with the marketplace for our demographic. As I posted in a thread over in the 3-series forums, I spend most of my life either stuck in traffic or in a 35MPH zone, thus 0-60 and Pike's Peak handling aren't at the top of my list anymore. I want a car that is reliable, fun, great electronics and still performs well. Unfortunately the X3 fails in the reliability and electronics category. Not enough for me to say that I don't like it, but I don't love it, which is unfortunate because I really wanted to love this car.

My wife and I are the stereotype of customers that BMW should be gunning for to be successful in the next decade. We make a ton of money and we buy new cars regularly. At this point I don't believe I will buy another BMW, particularly not at the price premium that they ask.

dug01
02-01-2008, 10:52 AM
The Nav system is horrible The stereo (premium) sounds washed out and does not seem to have been balanced for the vehicle. It also has the worst radio reception of any vehicle I have owned or recently driven.
- The transmission. Not much else to say here that I haven't said already in other threads. At best it is unpleasant and at worst dangerous. If you are cruising the highway at constant speeds its fine, but if you are in stop-n-go like we are, it is soul-sucking.

.

Yet you still purchased it--???? Don't expect any sympathy when you start complaining about the trans, radio and nav-These things should have been noticed during the test drive-:dunno: I do agree with one statement--I also will not buy another X3---not worth the $45k plus price. :tsk:

EdCT
02-01-2008, 11:45 AM
BMW's massive lease incentives make the car competitive within the market, you don't need a "ton of money" to drive a bimmer.

The MDX is a competitor to the X5, not an X3 - you should've taken out an RDX (the X3's rival) while at the Acura dealership - sounds to me like it would've been the right choice for you, instead, it would seem to me you went for the badge.

Ed

iamthewalrus
02-01-2008, 11:53 AM
I more or less agree on the transmission and radio reception issues.

That's why I got the manual transmission and the iPod adapter. Other than NPR who actually listens to radio anymore? When I can have my entire CD colleciton on my iPod why should I listen to commercials? It's the same reason I cancelled my cable TV four years ago and don't have an antenna. I do Netflix only and go to sports bars to watch sports with other fans. In the world of "push" (read: broadcast) media vs. "pull" like Netflix or Amazon.com, it's a no brainer. I watch and listen to what I want when I want it without commercials.

As for the sound quality, it's good enough for my needs. No complaints here...
And the manual transmission does exactly what I expect it to when I expect it to. If from reading this post you think I'm a control freak, well, you're right. :)

-James
Seattle, WA

dashiell
02-01-2008, 12:22 PM
Havel, The last car I ruled out before I ordered my '08 X3(Monaco/Tobacco oddly enough)was the FX35. Some of the many reasons are ; 1.I thought the stereo in the X3 was much more crisp than the FX, 2.The handling, and 3. The sunroof. Coming out of an X5, the cockpit felt a bit narrow in the X3, but the Infiniti, while wider, felt almost claustrophobic. Owning a G35 and an X3, isn't the stereo better in the BMW?(or maybe it's different in the G and FX)

Havelcek
02-01-2008, 12:31 PM
Yet you still purchased it--???? Don't expect any sympathy when you start complaining about the trans, radio and nav-These things should have been noticed during the test drive-:dunno: I do agree with one statement--I also will not buy another X3---not worth the $45k plus price. :tsk:

I think I was pretty clear on the reason why we bought it. It drove great in the test drive (of course the transmission was flawless on the test car) and no I didn't spend 45 minutes with the dealer in the car playing with the EQ and finding a perfect concert-quality level of sound from the system. And I'm not sure how a 10 minute test-drive is going to tell you much about radio reception.

Believe you me, if the test car had the transmission that my X3 has, I'd be posting on the forums of some other manufacturer now with some other car in my garage.

Havelcek
02-01-2008, 12:32 PM
BMW's massive lease incentives make the car competitive within the market, you don't need a "ton of money" to drive a bimmer.

The MDX is a competitor to the X5, not an X3 - you should've taken out an RDX (the X3's rival) while at the Acura dealership - sounds to me like it would've been the right choice for you, instead, it would seem to me you went for the badge.

Ed

The RDX was simply too small in the back for the dog.

Havelcek
02-01-2008, 12:36 PM
Havel, The last car I ruled out before I ordered my '08 X3(Monaco/Tobacco oddly enough)was the FX35. Some of the many reasons are ; 1.I thought the stereo in the X3 was much more crisp than the FX, 2.The handling, and 3. The sunroof. Coming out of an X5, the cockpit felt a bit narrow in the X3, but the Infiniti, while wider, felt almost claustrophobic. Owning a G35 and an X3, isn't the stereo better in the BMW?(or maybe it's different in the G and FX)

Yea the sunroof in the X3 is topnotch and the cabin feels roomier than the FX.

My G35 has a Bose stereo which is very well tuned and balanced to the dimensions of the car. I didn't get that far into the FX because we were able to immediately see that the back wasn't big enough for the dog.

bmwadam
02-01-2008, 01:32 PM
I have been driving BMW's my whole driving life. I like the X3, my wife has an 04 3.0. But I do not like the 45k price tag. My wife makes good money, I will make more when I start practicing law in a year. But guess what? My next bimmer is going to be a 2003 M5 or 540 msport. I drive a pristine 98 328 right now and I am planning on getting 5 more years out of it, which it will do fine. BMW's are VERY reliable. I dont care what anyone says. You just have to take care of them. Now I am not excusing BMW on the auto problem. This is an issue they need to deal with, But most people dont suffer it anyway, and the X3 is still making BMW a lot of sales, even though I do agree that it is the weakest in the BMW line as far as quality.

EVERY car company, including Nisaan, has made mistakes, or had difficulties in launch. But if jap cars are your thing, go for them. They love fancy gadgets, and "animae" styling. I dont care for it personally, but we are all different. Besides the e90 328 is a much better car than the G35. I have driven both, and put both to task. The 328 just simply outdrives it. I dont care that the G35 has more HP, the 328 is much more refined, and outhandles and performs the G on so many levels, better fuel economy, drivers feel, smoother engine (you CANNOT beat BMW's I6, its one of the best in the world) its no comparo.

Here is a perspective I have that is counter to Havelcek (H no offense to you, your way works for many people, and Im glad for you, somebody has to own a car first before it can become "used" for guys like me to pick it up) Do not buy new. Do not lease. Period. Let someonne else take the depreciation hits. Dont be fooled by the warranty coverage, or the free maint. gimmiks. Buying new still does not pay off.

I put over 320k on my last bimmer, it was an e34 and it got me through college. My point here is that people waste way too much money on cars. They are the worst investment. Period.

I want to invest my money, build buisnesses and have a very nice home. I dont want to throw money away every 3 years on a car. If I have to I will buy 3 or 4 pre owned cars and keep them for a decade or longer. That way if I have a breakdown I will pull it into my shop, and fix it as I have time. Even if I didnt have the know how, I would still be better off paying an indy to deal with it, and drive one of my spares until the other one was up and running.

We paid 28k for the 04 a few months back, and it has been an excellent car. It dosnt have Nav, who needs it? Ive got a nice garmin that works well. My wife can easily afford an 08 on her salary but why? It is not worth it.

BMW's are excellent cars. As a used car it becomes the best deal on the road. I am sorry for your dissapointment with the X3, but BMW still reamins the best overall car on the road. They cant get everything right all the time, no one can. But dont give up on the company because of one car. I can speak from eyars of exp. These cars last, and age better than anything else out there, besides perhaps a porsche.

Note: If you had bought an 04 or 05, you would have had no troubles. Plus it is practically the same car, NO ONE can convince me that the updates from 07, 08 are worth the price premium. Plus the 04 does not have a harsh ride for me. (of course I live in a place with mild winters and really good roads, I know up north roads tend to be crap so....)

Zeke77
02-01-2008, 04:03 PM
Dude, wait until you start making real money in your law practice. That new car smell is pretty addictive. Once you've got the house, the kids, and the same wife for twenty years, you'll be looking forward to that brand new, instantly depreciating asset every chance you get' ;-):rofl:

stickyrice
02-01-2008, 05:18 PM
I agree with Zeke77. ***Once you've got the house, the kids, and the same wife for twenty years, you'll be looking forward to that brand new, instantly depreciating asset every chance you get' ;-)***

Yes, it is stupid or even ignorant to be spending so much money every 3-5 years, but for many guys like myself we like the new cars smell. It boils down to the quality of your life, you have to justify to yourself if buying a new makes you a happier person.

Well, I would like to give a bit feedback on my 08 X3 if you guys don't mind. I went and test drove an 07 model, but purchased an 08 model. Here is what I noticed: the doors do not have a thump sound to it when you close it, seems like the quality is not there. My 06 A4 is great with this, you don't have to swing the door to get it closed. Second, the Premium Sound suck so bad, I tried the Aux connector for the Ipod, but that sucks as well. Lastly, the gas mileage is poor. My wife and I carpool together and mostly on the freeway, and it is barely getting 18.8mpg.

Overall, the car handles well on dry, wet, and snow condition. I was able to drive through light snow at 40mph without any problem. I maybe looking into getting this lower. Again, this is only my observation and feedback.

bobotski
02-01-2008, 05:30 PM
...the Premium Sound suck so bad, I tried the Aux connector for the Ipod, but that sucks as well. Lastly, the gas mileage is poor. My wife and I carpool together and mostly on the freeway, and it is barely getting 18.8mpg.

Sound quality is subjective. For some people (like me), the standard one sounds just fine. Audiophiles should replace the sound system and try to go through the path Evl took.

As far as mileage go, you've got a new machine -- it should improve over time.

snb3
02-01-2008, 08:59 PM
I find Infinitis to be downmarket interior-wise and while "anime-like" would not be my choice description, I find them to be overstyled for stylings sake. I find X3 to be plain, maybe dated but of good quality and functional (old school Germanic). I first started driving X3's as rentals while our prior BMW was being serviced. I first thought they were an ugly stepchild BMW should've never released (ugly all black bumpers & trim). But after awhile the driving pleasure (near 3 series-like) and usefullness (just right sized and ugly but clever usefull boxiness) made us want one.
We just returned from our ED and drove it over the Alps: lots of shifting & turning 40mph-80mph. Knock on wood but the tranny was fine & handling superb from Northern Italy, across Austria to Munich.
Our base stereo was good but nowhere near what I remember the Infiniti stereos are. But then that is secondary to us as is the crappy OEM navi we didn't get.

UncleJ
02-02-2008, 10:31 AM
Used is good. I had nothing but used cars for a long time. Now, IMHO safety features have become more important than saving a few K. The new cars have more and better safety features than the old ones. When hauling grand kids, safety becomes more important to me than door blowing performance. When you spend money for a new car you lose money. That is a given. On the other hand while you are losing 30 or 40K on the car you probably have gained at least that much in your house value and other investments so its a wash and you get that very addictive new car smell! Havel, IMHO you should have added a 2008 base Porsche Cayenne ($43K, 290 hp) to your list.

claud 3
02-03-2008, 06:19 AM
You took a roll of the dice with your trans. Some are good, and some need work. There is a new engine and trans update coming no later than March. Get it. If it works, you will have the car you thought you were buying.

archrenov8
02-03-2008, 06:29 AM
You took a roll of the dice with your trans. Some are good, and some need work. There is a new engine and trans update coming no later than March. Get it. If it works, you will have the car you thought you were buying.

By engine and trans update, are you talking new factory tweaks tot he build, or software flash updates?

Evlengr
02-03-2008, 06:56 AM
Why do people think its ok to roll the dice with 40K?

Do you all have that much money to throw away on a roll of the dice?

I have owned many cars over my lifetime from a 57 Vette to a Mercedes 560 to a 71 GTO and never have I run into a situation like this.

Although I am seeing a difference after the latest DME and EGS update I received, I am still skeptical at best after being burned 4 times. Turns out that they were never done right and the master mechanic from BMWNA said it took him three times to get it to take.

Meanwhile I was making car payments on a car that performed worse than a Neon.

Again I am hoping for the best, but it was at what cost?

IMR
02-03-2008, 11:07 AM
I can't believe people still buy integrated NAV systems. A $600 Garmin will blow any of them away from ease of use or map-completeness standpoints. Yeah, you have to set it up and perhaps put it away now and then, but I'll put up with a little inconvenience for a better product at 1/3 the price.

viii_ball
02-04-2008, 09:42 AM
I was having a deja vu as I am pretty sure I could have written the same post. And to the guy that wrote "yet you still bought it" I say you never get to know something in 2, 3, 5 hours like you do after driving it every day. To top it all off we have been very unimpressed by the service we have received from the BMW dealer. I am now interacting directly with the service manager which has been better but we keep getting the "thats just the way the car drives". I love your description of the transmission as being "soul-sucking".

Bottom line for me is I expect more from a "luxury" brand. Unless there is a miracle this will be the last BMW we ever own.

x3ronnie
02-04-2008, 10:14 AM
Why do people think its ok to roll the dice with 40K?

Meanwhile I was making car payments on a car that performed worse than a Neon.



Come on now, you can't be serious. Neon and X3 do not belong in the sentence when comparing performance. I'm sorry, but this is just total exaggeration.

Andrew*Debbie
02-04-2008, 11:26 AM
Why do people think its ok to roll the dice with 40K?


We've become big fans of BMW's subvented two year lease.

x3ml
02-04-2008, 12:00 PM
Come on now, you can't be serious. Neon and X3 do not belong in the sentence when comparing performance. I'm sorry, but this is just total exaggeration.

"Performance"? Performance is nothing without a decent transmission. The specs of this 2007 X3 I am driving only looks good on paper: 260hp, small SUV size... I paid 1/3 of the list price to "upgrade" from a 2004 X3 to this. But the SD mode is so jerky that its un- usable, that leaves me with D mode that is marginally acceptable 50% of the time, when its warmed up. But the D mode have much reduced performance. The manual mode works best on this X3, so I hope maybe one day (soon) they can figure out how to program the D and SD modes to be like the manual mode.

I had my last software updated in Oct 2007. Last week, I put down my AT complaints to my SA when I did my oil change. They said they test drove it and find nothing wrong. I think thats their way of saying there is no new solution to the problem yet. :mad:

Evlengr
02-04-2008, 12:41 PM
Come on now, you can't be serious. Neon and X3 do not belong in the sentence when comparing performance. I'm sorry, but this is just total exaggeration.

Trade cars for a bit and you will see.

However, my real question is related to cost per mile.

What cost in US dollars (cents) do they typically associate per mile when you go over on a lease? Or does it vary?

If you decided you were done with your lease, had gone over on the mileage, and had to pay the difference what would they charge?

x3ronnie
02-04-2008, 01:31 PM
Trade cars for a bit and you will see.

However, my real question is related to cost per mile.

What cost in US dollars (cents) do they typically associate per mile when you go over on a lease? Or does it vary?

If you decided you were done with your lease and had gone over on the mileage, and had to pay the difference what would they charge?

Well I can't see leasing a neon, so I can't compare on that level. I had a Neon in 1996 and was very happy with it. The handling of that car would not come close to my X3. I drive my wife's CRV from time to time and when I make a turn... let's just say it's not my X3. The X3 (my first BMW) has spoiled me. I do not generally care for leasing, but could not afford to buy a new X3. I take very good care of my cars, and could hold onto one for a long time. When the lease is up, the car is just getting comfortable. To answer your question Evlengr, it's 20 cents per mile over. You can pre-purchase miles for 16 cents anytime until about 6 months before the end. This is my second lease, maybe next time I'll consider other options.

archrenov8
02-04-2008, 01:34 PM
We've become big fans of BMW's subvented two year lease.

What do you mean by "subvented two year lease"? This is critical to me, as I am about to order my first X3 in the next two days. I was thinking of either a 30 or 36 month lease, to put me into the latter part of the first year production of the next X3.

Evlengr
02-04-2008, 01:53 PM
X3Ronnie,

The handling on the X3 is without question far superior to a Neon and just about any car I have driven in the past. In fact it's what saved me from a bad situation being worse.

It's the performance that is questionable. I was just curious what value could be associated to the miles I have already put on the vehicle.

x3ronnie
02-04-2008, 02:13 PM
X3Ronnie,

The handling on the X3 is without question far superior to a Neon and just about any car I have driven in the past. In fact it's what saved me from a bad sistuation being worse.

It's the performance that is questionable. I was just curious what value could be associated to the miles I have already put on the vehicle.

Ah, now I understand your point. I'm not sure how to determine the value of your X3 based on accumulated mileage. BMW tends to overestimate the residual imo. For what it's worth, my AT seems to be getting better today after a trip to Atlantic City. I had the update done several months back, and the trans was fine for that day only. I have 7800 miles on the clock now. I'm holding my breath to see if these AT 'improvements' last.

Andrew*Debbie
02-04-2008, 03:03 PM
Trade cars for a bit and you will see.

However, my real question is related to cost per mile.

What cost in US dollars (cents) do they typically associate per mile when you go over on a lease? Or does it vary?




0.15 at lease inception (only for leases over 15,000 miles/year)
0.16 mid term.
0.20 lease end

Mid term adjustments are now possible until the last three months of the lease. This is a recent change.

BMW FS will refund unused miles purchased at lease inception.


I do not recommend leasing a BMW for more than 50,000 miles. You must return the car in good repair. Turning in a BMW without the 50,000 bumper to bumper warranty can get very expensive.

Andrew*Debbie
02-04-2008, 03:10 PM
What do you mean by "subvented two year lease"? This is critical to me, as I am about to order my first X3 in the next two days. I was thinking of either a 30 or 36 month lease, to put me into the latter part of the first year production of the next X3.

The term for a subsidized lease is subvented. I don't know why.


Tarry made an error in the initial post for the January X3 lease rates. Here are the correct ones:

2008 BMW X3 3.0si 4WD SUV
24 Month ***8211; Residual 75% of MSRP ***8211; .00270 Base Rate
36 Month ***8211; Residual 65% of MSRP ***8211; .00270 Base Rate
48 Month ***8211; Residual 37% of MSRP ***8211; .00295 Base Rate
60 Month ***8211; Residual 31% of MSRP ***8211; .00295 Base Rate

Add 2% for 12,000/miles year and 3% for 10,000 miles/year

The residual for the 2 year lease is really high. No way is our X3 going to worth 77% of MSRP. The 3 year is subvented as well.

Get a lease calculator and plug in the numbers. Every situation is different.


At this point you are going to be getting the February rates. You may want to hold off a few days until Tarry posts the rates.

archrenov8
02-04-2008, 04:38 PM
I just wrote to my CA to ask her what happened on Feb 1, as far as rates are concerned. Waiting for her reply.

I think they subsidize the 24 and 36 month because they have an easier time reselling two and three year old cars than they do four years. And they want to keep putting you into another BMW.

I guess these are rates for 15,000 miles/year?

Evlengr
02-04-2008, 04:50 PM
Dammmmm Calc and Physics are easier than the lease set ups.

Just put five grand down and buy one.

The payments will be about the same at 5.99% financing over 60 months.

Now A/D's is a different story --his payments are pure genius.

Andrew*Debbie
02-05-2008, 08:45 AM
I just wrote to my CA to ask her what happened on Feb 1, as far as rates are concerned. Waiting for her reply.


Typically the new rates come out a few days into the month, so you CA should have them now or in a day or two.

Tarry should post the buy rates in a few days.


I think they subsidize the 24 and 36 month because they have an easier time reselling two and three year old cars than they do four years. And they want to keep putting you into another BMW.


Yes. They want 2 and 3 year old cars to sell as CPOs. Also the resale value drops like a rock once the bumper to bumper warranty runs out.


I guess these are rates for 15,000 miles/year?

Yes. Those are the buy rates. The dealer can mark them up by .0004. There are additional things that can make the rates go up or down.

Andrew*Debbie
02-05-2008, 08:49 AM
The payments will be about the same at 5.99% financing over 60 months.



Lease vs. buy always favors purchase finance if you keep the car more than 4 years.

With the current rates, I'd guess if you keep an X3 over 3 years, you should choose traditional finance.