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philippek
11-11-2003, 05:13 PM
I'm not impartial or unbiased and I would never claim to be. But here are my not-so-brief impressions:

I'm much more impressed with the X3 than I ever thought I would be. It's much roomier inside than you might think. Wheelbase streched 3" over standard 3 series, most of which went into rear seat legroom. Deeper cargo area than the X5, which to me seems like a miracle of packaging.

The drive is really quite unbelievable. It handles like a car, and a very well-mannered car at that. Truly a BMW, through and through, and the ones I drove weren't even sport package-equipped. Only got to drive 3.0 steptronics. More than adequate, though I fear step-equipped 2.5s would be just below adequate. 6 speeds would probably be loads of fun, though I don't think it would make sense for most folks in this type of car.

I think the styling is pretty dead-on. Love the face. Hope the headlights are what we get on the E90. Muscular lines carried from the hood to the tail. Nice stance. I think the rubber-baby-buggy-bumper black plastic trim is its biggest drawback, although I believe I just saw an update on centernet about some sort of body kit which will address this issue. Probably a worth while appearance upgrade.

There is a lot of plastic in the interior and I know most of the folks on this board will see that as the primary fault of this vehicle. Quite spartan, but it is definitely a modern BMW in dash design: Derivative of the Z4, 5, and 7. It's high-quality plastic, but still plastic.

XDrive is a major improvement and I think it is now on a par with the gold standard, Audi's quattro. I don't know how big of a factor this will be in sunny southern California, but it is a great system; sophisticated, seamless and it does make the car safer. It retains the rear-wheel bias every BMW should have.

I think the price is pretty much right on the money; this has been discussed here before.

They had a Land Rover Discovery, a Lexus RX330 and VW Touareg for comparison. The Touraeg is the strongest competitor, IMHO. It's a full thousand pounds heavier than the X3, which exacts a big penalty in acceleration, braking and fuel economy. But the suspension ain't half bad. Once it takes a set, it hangs nicely. Less body roll than expected. A good looking car inside and out. Lots of leather, wood and aluminum, classily executed. Main interior criticism: cluttered dash with undifferentiated black chiclet keys everywhere. Minor gripe: cumbersome procedure for folding down rear seats. It was the most expensive vehicle I drove today, and will have that "Can I spend this much money on a VW?" syndrome going against it.

The Lexus will win over many 40-year-old women (already has). Cutesy styling, and again a very nice interior. Gathered leather, glossy wood, chrome accents. A very soft ride with little pretense at being a capable off-roader. No one who buys it will care. Some neat-o toys too...rear view cameras and the like. If you wanna go plush, go with the Lexus, no doubt.

The Land Rover is straight out of the 70s. We tested one in HS trim, I understand there's one higher trim level. Ours had leather but no power seats (unavailable, if I'm not mistaken). The plastic they use is of unbelieveably low quality. Right out of an 87 Tercel. Door trim is done is some really tacky black cloth. Tiny, tiny truck. Suspension? What suspension? Body roll for days. An engine that really seems bitter at being made to work. I understand it's due for a reskin...early pics I saw make it look like an Xterra, but I hope they focused more of their attention on the interior. All of the faults of a big SUV, with none of the utility. Understandably the least expensive of the lot.

BMW expects to sell a ton of these, and expects the vast majority to be conquests from other brands, mostly current Japanese sedan buyers. I frankly don't know if it's possible. I imagine this is the same market they were going for with the 318ti, and we all know where that went. The market they seek is younger, less affluent, more fickle and more active. I hope I see more people like that in the showroom...I guess only time will tell.

I am not an SUV fan. Never have been. But the more I drove this car, the more I could see myself owning it. It wouldn't be for a while. And I think my lifestyle would have to change significantly for me to really take it seriously. But add a life partner, a couple of dogs, a house in the suburbs...and this car would be a viable alternative.

It will be in showrooms at the end of the month, first retail units by Feb. An unmitigated advertising blitz between now and then, and in some pretty unusual places (by BMW standards). An interesting product and I can't wait to see how it does in the marketplace.

FireFly
11-11-2003, 05:26 PM
Wow- thanks for the write-up on the X3- you covered a lot of ground.

I'm wondering how it compares to the X5? Thoughts?

philippek
11-11-2003, 06:10 PM
Wow- thanks for the write-up on the X3- you covered a lot of ground.

I'm wondering how it compares to the X5? Thoughts?

Same sausage, cut into different lengths...

I know it's a stupid old joke, but quite true in this case, I think.

The X3 3.0 will never pull like a X5 4.4...simple math will tell you that. But the 3 is much nimbler, so the trade-off might be worth it. As I said, interior room is fairly close, which indicates to me that the 5 will be growing significantly in its future iteration.

Towing capacity is quite different...3500 vs 6000...so for those with boats that could be the deciding factor. And the 5 uses higher quality materials for the interior. But aside from that, I can't think of many compelling reasons to step up to the X5. Many loyal BMW customers will probably just feel they're "too old" to drive an X3.

CascadeTelcom
11-14-2003, 11:26 AM
I'm not impartial or unbiased and I would never claim to be. But here are my not-so-brief impressions:

I'm much more impressed with the X3 than I ever thought I would be. It's much roomier inside than you might think. Wheelbase streched 3" over standard 3 series, most of which went into rear seat legroom. Deeper cargo area than the X5, which to me seems like a miracle of packaging.

The drive is really quite unbelievable. It handles like a car, and a very well-mannered car at that. Truly a BMW, through and through, and the ones I drove weren't even sport package-equipped. Only got to drive 3.0 steptronics. More than adequate, though I fear step-equipped 2.5s would be just below adequate. 6 speeds would probably be loads of fun, though I don't think it would make sense for most folks in this type of car.

I think the styling is pretty dead-on. Love the face. Hope the headlights are what we get on the E90. Muscular lines carried from the hood to the tail. Nice stance. I think the rubber-baby-buggy-bumper black plastic trim is its biggest drawback, although I believe I just saw an update on centernet about some sort of body kit which will address this issue. Probably a worth while appearance upgrade.

There is a lot of plastic in the interior and I know most of the folks on this board will see that as the primary fault of this vehicle. Quite spartan, but it is definitely a modern BMW in dash design: Derivative of the Z4, 5, and 7. It's high-quality plastic, but still plastic.

XDrive is a major improvement and I think it is now on a par with the gold standard, Audi's quattro. I don't know how big of a factor this will be in sunny southern California, but it is a great system; sophisticated, seamless and it does make the car safer. It retains the rear-wheel bias every BMW should have.

I think the price is pretty much right on the money; this has been discussed here before.

They had a Land Rover Discovery, a Lexus RX330 and VW Touareg for comparison. The Touraeg is the strongest competitor, IMHO. It's a full thousand pounds heavier than the X3, which exacts a big penalty in acceleration, braking and fuel economy. But the suspension ain't half bad. Once it takes a set, it hangs nicely. Less body roll than expected. A good looking car inside and out. Lots of leather, wood and aluminum, classily executed. Main interior criticism: cluttered dash with undifferentiated black chiclet keys everywhere. Minor gripe: cumbersome procedure for folding down rear seats. It was the most expensive vehicle I drove today, and will have that "Can I spend this much money on a VW?" syndrome going against it.

The Lexus will win over many 40-year-old women (already has). Cutesy styling, and again a very nice interior. Gathered leather, glossy wood, chrome accents. A very soft ride with little pretense at being a capable off-roader. No one who buys it will care. Some neat-o toys too...rear view cameras and the like. If you wanna go plush, go with the Lexus, no doubt.

The Land Rover is straight out of the 70s. We tested one in HS trim, I understand there's one higher trim level. Ours had leather but no power seats (unavailable, if I'm not mistaken). The plastic they use is of unbelieveably low quality. Right out of an 87 Tercel. Door trim is done is some really tacky black cloth. Tiny, tiny truck. Suspension? What suspension? Body roll for days. An engine that really seems bitter at being made to work. I understand it's due for a reskin...early pics I saw make it look like an Xterra, but I hope they focused more of their attention on the interior. All of the faults of a big SUV, with none of the utility. Understandably the least expensive of the lot.

BMW expects to sell a ton of these, and expects the vast majority to be conquests from other brands, mostly current Japanese sedan buyers. I frankly don't know if it's possible. I imagine this is the same market they were going for with the 318ti, and we all know where that went. The market they seek is younger, less affluent, more fickle and more active. I hope I see more people like that in the showroom...I guess only time will tell.

I am not an SUV fan. Never have been. But the more I drove this car, the more I could see myself owning it. It wouldn't be for a while. And I think my lifestyle would have to change significantly for me to really take it seriously. But add a life partner, a couple of dogs, a house in the suburbs...and this car would be a viable alternative.

It will be in showrooms at the end of the month, first retail units by Feb. An unmitigated advertising blitz between now and then, and in some pretty unusual places (by BMW standards). An interesting product and I can't wait to see how it does in the marketplace.

Thanks, lots of helpful information. Please let me know anyone finds the painted bumper, cladding upgrade kit info. I'm trying to secure that info, European delivery details, pricing and availability.

Kaz
11-14-2003, 11:39 AM
Same sausage, cut into different lengths...

I know it's a stupid old joke, but quite true in this case, I think.

[...]

And the 5 uses higher quality materials for the interior.

Isn't one of Bangle's directives to end the 'same sausage different length' syndrome he feels is a problem?

The interior quality thing seems to just be a BMW trend since the E65, so there's no getting around that. The next X5's interior materials, I'm sure, will also be of like crappiness.

FireFly
11-14-2003, 11:40 AM
Best picture of SAV with colored bumper. This is not an actual X3 but you get the idea:

http://bimmer.roadfly.org/bmw/forums/e83/forum.php?postid=4129554&page=1

I think it's an Xactivity.

CascadeTelcom
11-14-2003, 04:33 PM
Best picture of SAV with colored bumper. This is not an actual X3 but you get the idea:

http://bimmer.roadfly.org/bmw/forums/e83/forum.php?postid=4129554&page=1



I think it's an Xactivity.

Thanks, much better, adds a lot of class to the vehicle.

FireFly
11-17-2003, 07:31 AM
EVEN BETTER!!!

http://bimmer.roadfly.org/bmw/forums/e83/forum.php?postid=4208120&page=1

Technic
11-17-2003, 01:02 PM
EVEN BETTER!!!

http://bimmer.roadfly.org/bmw/forums/e83/forum.php?postid=4208120&page=1

It is incredible how some colored pieces can change the looks of a car... it looks 100% much better and finally make justice to a $30,000+ vehicle.

batm4n
11-17-2003, 03:28 PM
http://www.cyclones-world.net/philez/Fifth%20Gear%20-%202003.11.10.wmv

Here's a link to a review of the X3 by TopGear Magazine

Technic
11-18-2003, 11:41 AM
That's funny because I don't think that actually looks better. I think it exadurates the height of the car, making the dimentions look funny.

Put it this way... I am considering this vehicle now for lease once my 330i's is up just because of this kit; with the unpainted bumpers this was unthinkable as close as two weeks ago when I saw a X3 in an autoshow.

CascadeTelcom
11-18-2003, 12:15 PM
Put it this way... I am considering this vehicle now for lease once my 330i's is up just because of this kit; with the unpainted bumpers this was unthinkable as long as two weeks ago when I saw a X3 in an autoshow.

I feel the same way but am experiencing problems with BMW getting information. Have tried one dealer who told me black plastic was their only option. I also have an inquiry going with BMWNA. Please post any ordering information or details.

philippek
11-18-2003, 01:37 PM
I feel the same way but am experiencing problems with BMW getting information. Have tried one dealer who told me black plastic was their only option. I also have an inquiry going with BMWNA. Please post any ordering information or details.

It's not much, but it's all I got...

Technic
11-18-2003, 02:25 PM
It's not much, but it's all I got...

Thank you very much... :thumbup:

dduk
11-18-2003, 06:20 PM
It's not much, but it's all I got...

10-15 hours of labor, and $3000? I hope that $3000 includes the painting and installation! :yikes:

But it looks great! Hopefully it'll come from the factory that way soon at a discounted price.

CascadeTelcom
11-19-2003, 07:46 PM
It's not much, but it's all I got...
BMWNA responded with the same information regarding the kit minus the pricing info, indicated that they did not know about USA availability of the four optional wheel choices. I think it would be much cheaper to paint the existing bumpers if you want to use the trailer hitch option, which I do.

LarryN
11-20-2003, 06:12 AM
Are you sure you are not talking about a Land Rover Freelander? You mentioned the Discovery. There is no such thing as an HS trim package, and all Disco's come with power seats (Disco's come in S, SE, and HSE trim levels). Also, I can't imagine anybody calling the thing "tiny, tiny truck". Both inside and out, it's fairly large. You are spot on with body roll though. I have a Disco, and can vouch for that. It's also the only one of the list that can be had with 7 passenger (which is why I bought mine).

I think you mean the Freelander, which is definitely a totally different animal than the Disco, and it's the bottom of the food chain in Roverdom (as well as priced at least 4k below any of the others in the test)

philippek
11-20-2003, 09:39 AM
Are you sure you are not talking about a Land Rover Freelander? You mentioned the Discovery. There is no such thing as an HS trim package, and all Disco's come with power seats (Disco's come in S, SE, and HSE trim levels). Also, I can't imagine anybody calling the thing "tiny, tiny truck". Both inside and out, it's fairly large. You are spot on with body roll though. I have a Disco, and can vouch for that. It's also the only one of the list that can be had with 7 passenger (which is why I bought mine).

I think you mean the Freelander, which is definitely a totally different animal than the Disco, and it's the bottom of the food chain in Roverdom (as well as priced at least 4k below any of the others in the test)

Mea culpa.

A Freelander SE it was indeed.

CascadeTelcom
11-20-2003, 02:10 PM
10-15 hours of labor, and $3000? I hope that $3000 includes the painting and installation! :yikes:

But it looks great! Hopefully it'll come from the factory that way soon at a discounted price.

Was told today by BMW of North America that the only way to get the kit was to order it through their dealer organization. No plans to pre paint and assemble at the factory.