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Dr. Phil
11-25-2003, 06:09 PM
Thanks to Alee for hosting the following pics and to Mike Guimond from Faulkner BMW for taking me out on an nice extended demo ride.

I started a quick and dirty write up here Amish review (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=46694) but now wanted to take the time to give my take/opinion on the newest release from BMW.

Upon walking up to the X3, believe it or not the first thing that grab my eye was the shark fin. It made me think of Jon going surfing with an X3 of his own :D
http://staff.pop3now.com/alee/x3/x3_5.jpg

A walk around the exterior brought a lot attention to the new shape of the kidney grilles.....

http://staff.pop3now.com/alee/x3/x3_9.jpg

and a bunch of black lower trim (you either like it or not). I personally am not sold on some of the side areas, especially towards the front wheels.

http://staff.pop3now.com/alee/x3/x3_1.jpg
http://staff.pop3now.com/alee/x3/x3_6.jpg
http://staff.pop3now.com/alee/x3/x3_7.jpg

Dr. Phil
11-25-2003, 06:10 PM
The profile, to me was appealing. I was also quite pleased with the back door opening for ease in entry. I am ~ 200 lbs. and had no problems getting in and out.

http://staff.pop3now.com/alee/x3/x3_2.jpg

http://staff.pop3now.com/alee/x3/x3_16.jpg

Final comments on the exterior.....I liked the tailights and their wrap around characteristics, the badge and the wheels had enough of a ZHP look to them for me to approve :bigpimp:

http://staff.pop3now.com/alee/x3/x3_10.jpg

http://staff.pop3now.com/alee/x3/x3_4.jpg

Dr. Phil
11-25-2003, 06:22 PM
The interior may be the weak link to many looking to spend ~ $40k. Although far from distasteful IMO, the look and feel do not approach the X5 IMO. But as with anything, it is a case of personal preference.

Entry into the drivers area was nice. I would comment too that the non-sport seat was quite comfortable even withouth the thigh bolsters which I have grown so accustomed to....

http://staff.pop3now.com/alee/x3/x3_14.jpg

The instrument cluster was straight forward and notice no "fun" meter, what's up with that :dunno: ;)

http://staff.pop3now.com/alee/x3/x3_17.jpg

The console area is well designed for ease in use, I would give it a :thumbup: Not quite as sure about the aluminum trim, but hey it was a "launch" unit.

http://staff.pop3now.com/alee/x3/x3_15.jpg

(excuse my finger :tsk: )
http://staff.pop3now.com/alee/x3/x3_12.jpg

A nice touch that I found was the new "air bag off" light. You will also notice the "sos" button from the "Premium Package" included BMW assist system.

http://staff.pop3now.com/alee/x3/x3_13.jpg

Dr. Phil
11-25-2003, 06:23 PM
And my favorite interior feature was without doubt the panoramic roof. The tilt in the middle feature, power slide cover and full view capabilities really impressed me.

http://staff.pop3now.com/alee/x3/x3_3.jpg

Cargo area should not be a top priority for those looking at the X3. You can haul enough to get you by but its no Saab Aero :angel: Close to my old wagon but with a little more vertical room.

http://staff.pop3now.com/alee/x3/x3_11.jpg

Emission
11-25-2003, 06:33 PM
Thanks for the pics. They are all pretty good at showing some of the details I have been missing.

Thanks again.

Dr. Phil
11-25-2003, 06:34 PM
Now for the important part. How did it drive :dunno:

First I would say that the 3.0 would be the engine of choice for me. The 2.5 might get you by (with 6 speed manual to be safe) but I would error to the 3.0, which to me did not seem to pull as much in this unit as in the X5 I had previously driven. Not sure why this is the case, but I would think gearing, the new "x-drive" and a numb butt dyno may have come into play.

On the highway cruising was a pleasure. No problems passing, entering onto the highway or taking all the bumps without kidney damage. I was quite pleased with the over all comfort in this situation. On the back roads, I needed to recall that I was not in my ZHP and take curves at "normal" speeds. Not having driven many SUV/SAVs recently it would not be fair for me to give it a bad score in this area.

The steering over all was reactive, medium in weight and the radius was good for the type of vehicle it is IMO. Braking was another adjustment for me, but I would say it meets upto BMW standards (as much as this can be in an SAV ;) ) The step transmission was just that, an automatic :p I went for the clutch 3 times before I got back into the one foot driving method. The 6 speed will definitely help with the X3, the torque kill was quite noticeable to me. Again why I would question a 2.5 / step combo. Trust me, I've been there and done that :eeps: :doh:

Suffice it to say, I would recommend that you all take the chance to drive if you are looking in that market segment. At this point, I would not drop 42k on the model I drove nor would I want to give up my clutch now that I have found my way back home :D

Now, bring on the Sapphire Black 6 speed demo in two weeks :angel: :drive:

Ack
11-25-2003, 08:13 PM
Nice writeup and pics Phil. :thumbup: I have yet to see the X3 in person but I'd like to check it out.

The dash looks like its straight out of the Z4 minus the long tubular housings for the tach and speedo. Is the interior room similiar to the current E46? I still am curious why someone might want the X3 over the standard 3 series. I guess people just like being up high. :dunno:

SARAFIL
11-25-2003, 08:31 PM
I still am curious why someone might want the X3 over the standard 3 series. I guess people just like being up high. :dunno:

Duh!! You didn't get the memo? X3 = SUV/SAV = cool.

Who'd want to drive a 325xit when they could get an X3? :eeps: I'll admit it, between those choices, I'd take the X3.

beware_phog
11-25-2003, 08:57 PM
Nice writeup and pics Phil. :thumbup: I have yet to see the X3 in person but I'd like to check it out.

The dash looks like its straight out of the Z4 minus the long tubular housings for the tach and speedo. Is the interior room similiar to the current E46? I still am curious why someone might want the X3 over the standard 3 series. I guess people just like being up high. :dunno:

Why? Space. 3-series trunk has nothing. Was actually considering a new 5, until this came around. When other car is a convertible, need something to throw junk and all that.

SARAFIL
11-25-2003, 08:59 PM
I'm curious.... Why? We're struggling with this choice now.
I really like the exterior styling. I like the interior alot, with the exception of interior plastics that could be a bit nicer. I am not a huge fan of the "compromise" AWD system in the 3er xi's, and if I were in need of an AWD vehicle, I'd prefer the better system in the X3/5. Also, we can get a 6 speed manual with an X3, and not a 325xit. Additionally, a 3.0 is available. I also like the extra ride height, higher seating position, more usable rear cargo hold, etc. Overall, it's a really nice package. The fact that I have nothing against SUV's, unlike others here, and that I don't particularly have high thoughts regarding the wagons, and it makes my decision all the much easier.

I would also choose an X5 in a heartbeat before a 5er wagon. That might give you a bit more insight in to my way of thinking. ;)

beware_phog
11-25-2003, 09:03 PM
The interior may be the weak link to many looking to spend ~ $40k. Although far from distasteful IMO, the look and feel do not approach the X5 IMO. But as with anything, it is a case of personal preference.



Do you really think the X5 has a $50K interior? IMO the interior on the X5 and new 5 isn't all that great...which is why the X3 is more. Perhaps a case of less worse for $10K less.

JetBlack330i
11-25-2003, 09:14 PM
First I would say that the 3.0 would be the engine of choice for me. The 2.5 might get you by (with 6 speed manual to be safe) but I would error to the 3.0, which to me did not seem to pull as much in this unit as in the X5 I had previously driven. Not sure why this is the case, but I would think gearing, the new "x-drive" and a numb butt dyno may have come into play.

Exactly my impressions. :thumbup:
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=46708

Emission
11-25-2003, 09:54 PM
Do you really think the X5 has a $50K interior? IMO the interior on the X5 and new 5 isn't all that great...which is why the X3 is more. Perhaps a case of less worse for $10K less.

I'd be willing to bet, the X5 has the most expensive interior of the cars you mentioned. The more recent vehicles will have a bit of cost cutting.

I sit in a ton of cars each week (including a $180K Ferrari 360 just last Sunday). You can't judge an interior by the window sticker. My $22K Passat has a nicer interior than many $50K Infiniti vehicles. The Ferrari is 3 times the cost of a new 5-series, but not nearly 3 times the interior.

Once again, don't expect a nice interior just because the window sticker is high.

Technic
11-26-2003, 06:56 AM
I'd be willing to bet, the X5 has the most expensive interior of the cars you mentioned. The more recent vehicles will have a bit of cost cutting.

I sit in a ton of cars each week (including a $180K Ferrari 360 just last Sunday). You can't judge an interior by the window sticker. My $22K Passat has a nicer interior than many $50K Infiniti vehicles. The Ferrari is 3 times the cost of a new 5-series, but not nearly 3 times the interior.

Once again, don't expect a nice interior just because the window sticker is high.

That is the reason that I like the Gallardo way more than a 360... for me it is the better overall package, inside and out, at that price. Of course, the very best one that I have seen so far is the new Bentley Continental, spectacular to say the least.

I think that a lot of people are settling for too much interior low quality for the price they are paying nowadays. And so far this X3 is the worse in my opinion of the new generation of BMW's. Overall I do not feel too much value in the X3 because it is so cheap in many areas for the price that they are asking for. I am really trying hard to like it because eventually I will need this kind of vehicle and like the BMW ride and handling, but they are going 'where I do not want to go', as Bangle said; maybe the brown interior and some wood can improve the interior quality impression... maybe not.

Nice review and photos, though... :thumbup:

FireFly
11-26-2003, 07:41 AM
Are they now or will they soon have the new Xdrive system in the XI's?

WDC330i
11-26-2003, 08:19 AM
Are they now or will they soon have the new Xdrive system in the XI's?

The only thing about the X3 that would tempt me over the 325xiT (which I have now) is access to the 3.0 engine.

Now, if BMW brought over a 5 series wagon with AWD and anything 3 litre and above that would win hands down.

Dr. Phil
11-26-2003, 01:20 PM
Are they now or will they soon have the new Xdrive system in the XI's?
Not that I am aware of, I have a sense that BMW would like to eat into the xi units a bit with the X3 to ease out of the "audi-ish" market.

Alex Baumann
11-26-2003, 01:34 PM
Great write-up Doc !! :thumbup:

beware_phog
11-27-2003, 07:23 PM
I'd be willing to bet, the X5 has the most expensive interior of the cars you mentioned. The more recent vehicles will have a bit of cost cutting.

I sit in a ton of cars each week (including a $180K Ferrari 360 just last Sunday). You can't judge an interior by the window sticker. My $22K Passat has a nicer interior than many $50K Infiniti vehicles. The Ferrari is 3 times the cost of a new 5-series, but not nearly 3 times the interior.

Once again, don't expect a nice interior just because the window sticker is high.

Don't expect a nice interior because of a high sticker price? Huh? Not sure I understand how that makes any sense. Besides, you adimit your Passat in nicer than the infiniti. I don't think that should be the case.

Plaz
11-27-2003, 07:39 PM
Don't expect a nice interior because of a high sticker price? Huh? Not sure I understand how that makes any sense.

http://www.dennigcars.org/models/pictures/ferrari_f50_interior.jpg

Emission
11-28-2003, 11:59 AM
Don't expect a nice interior because of a high sticker price? Huh? Not sure I understand how that makes any sense. Besides, you adimit your Passat in nicer than the infiniti. I don't think that should be the case.

I rode in the Ferrari 360 again yesterday (Thanksgiving) for about half an hour. With the options on that vehicle, it was about $190,000 new.

I paid close attention to the fit and finish. Sure the leather was nice, but the glovebox wasn't centered (off by about .25" on one side) and the dash vents weren't all lined up (they wouldn't all fit flush). Fit and finish just wasn't there - even for a $35,000 car.

Sure it is a beautiful car, but it was obvious most of the "design funds" were put into the chassis and driveline. They realize that most people who are in a Ferrari don't really pay attention to the interior detail!

beware_phog
11-28-2003, 03:37 PM
I rode in the Ferrari 360 again yesterday (Thanksgiving) for about half an hour. With the options on that vehicle, it was about $190,000 new.

I paid close attention to the fit and finish. Sure the leather was nice, but the glovebox wasn't centered (off by about .25" on one side) and the dash vents weren't all lined up (they wouldn't all fit flush). Fit and finish just wasn't there - even for a $35,000 car.

Sure it is a beautiful car, but it was obvious most of the "design funds" were put into the chassis and driveline. They realize that most people who are in a Ferrari don't really pay attention to the interior detail!

You are making my point for me. People who pay $50K DO expect a nice interior since they drive it all the time. Most people's daily commute isn't a 360.

beware_phog
11-30-2003, 05:43 PM
The interior may be the weak link to many looking to spend ~ $40k. Although far from distasteful IMO, the look and feel do not approach the X5 IMO. But as with anything, it is a case of personal preference.


http://www.mizzousucks.com/X3-X5.jpg

And in my case, I don't see the big difference between the X3 and X5. The X3 is similar to the 3 I have so I'm OK with it.

SARAFIL
11-30-2003, 07:17 PM
http://www.mizzousucks.com/X3-X5.jpg

And in my case, I don't see the big difference between the X3 and X5. The X3 is similar to the 3 I have so I'm OK with it.
You can't really see the difference in those pics. You'll have to sit in the two vehicles and compare the "feel" and texture of the materials. The leather is fine, and the only thing that is questionable is the plastics used on the dash and door panels. They aren't up to snuff with an X5, but I don't think we'll have many problems with the interior as far as its target demographic is concerned. It isn't top notch, and would stick out like a sore thumb in a 3er or 5er, but it works with the overall package and purpose of the X3. And as far as I am concerned, the fact that many people here aren't crazy about it is ok, because they aren't the target market. Regardless of how nice of an interior they put in it, most of these people wouldn't be in the market for an X3 anyways.

Dr. Phil
11-30-2003, 08:02 PM
And as far as I am concerned, the fact that many people here aren't crazy about it is ok, because they aren't the target market. Regardless of how nice of an interior they put in it, most of these people wouldn't be in the market for an X3 anyways.
Target market is what, X generation :dunno: :rofl: Actually I believe the aim is 25 to 35 year old buyers :eeps:

dlloyd1975
11-30-2003, 11:07 PM
Target market is what, X generation :dunno: :rofl: Actually I believe the aim is 25 to 35 year old buyers :eeps:

This part of the target market would continue to eschew the X3 and go with the touring.

I just keep thinking about when we were in the BMW dealership one day and mentioned to someone that we were getting a car like the 3 they had in there, but as a wagon. The look on the woman's face as she said, "they make it in a wagon?!" indicated that if BMW put more money into marketing the wagons, they'd sell more. Pity.

beware_phog
12-01-2003, 08:48 AM
You can't really see the difference in those pics. You'll have to sit in the two vehicles and compare the "feel" and texture of the materials. The leather is fine, and the only thing that is questionable is the plastics used on the dash and door panels. They aren't up to snuff with an X5, but I don't think we'll have many problems with the interior as far as its target demographic is concerned. It isn't top notch, and would stick out like a sore thumb in a 3er or 5er, but it works with the overall package and purpose of the X3. And as far as I am concerned, the fact that many people here aren't crazy about it is ok, because they aren't the target market. Regardless of how nice of an interior they put in it, most of these people wouldn't be in the market for an X3 anyways.

I just was at an auto show and sat in the 5, X3 and X5. I don't notice much difference. Obviously a different of opinion here.

dduk
12-01-2003, 05:56 PM
First, the specs: 3.0l, step, Mystic Blue, grey leather, Premium Package.

Styling is subjective, so I won't comment too much on it. I, in general, like it.

The car drove incredibly well. X-Drive was amazing. I could barely get a chirp out of the tires when rounding corners under full throttle. Couldn't get DSC to kick in. The panorama moonroof is very nice. I definitely wouldn't pass it up. Although it was noisy when it was closed, but that could be from the pre-production status of the vehicle, and that it was quite windy today. Seating position was good as was the room inside.

I was dissapointed with the interior. As others have said, too much cheap plastic for my taste. The soft-touch plastics and dashboard were OK, but significantly "harder" than my current E46. No seatbelt height adjustment. Also, from what I read, auto climate control is not standard on the X3 2.5l. Neither are fog lights. I would be taking a step down in interior quality and features coming from my stripper-325i.

I've never driven a X5, but there were plenty to look at in the showroom. MUCH nicer interior than the X3. It also looked much larger inside than the X3. Could be due to the fact that the X5 was black. But in general, the rear and front legroom looked comparable between the vehicles, but the X5 looked much wider.

Jumped back into the 325i and was smiling all the way home. Looks like I'll keep it for a while and hold off for an E90 M3/M4, or wait until the X3 adds more features as standard equipment on the 2.5l. I would have to wait regardless due to the availability of the manual tranny, and leatherette on the sports package.