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View Full Version : Am I the only person who thinks the X3's ride is terrible?


Gaza
05-08-2005, 01:02 PM
I've had my X3 3.0 SE Auto (UK Model) for just over 6 weeks. I love the handling and performance but the ride :mad: :mad:. I first test drove a Sport model but found the ride almost unbearable. My wife was in the front and my mother in the rear and both commented on how uncomfortable it was. I then drove an SE and it seemed better and I thought I could live with. 6 weeks on Im not so sure. How did BMW get it so wrong? I have owned 3 BMWs with Sports suspension: 328SE (with optional sport suspension, 330 Sport Convertible and a 330D Sport Touring. While they all rode firmly they did not jitter as much as the X3.

I travel on different road surface and at times the car glides along but once the surface deteriorates slightly the ride gets very twitchy and at times I feel slightly nauseous. Im hoping I get used to the ride but if not I dont see our relationship lasting more than a year.

pipo
05-08-2005, 01:28 PM
Depending on the road surface, the ride can be a bit teeth rattling, but I personally find the ride very comfortable on most road surfaces, with the rare exception of severely potholed or patched city streets. That said, you might want to check your tire pressures and ensure that the tires are inflated to the light load recommendation in your manual. In the US, the decal on the door jamb only provides the recommended pressures for full load; I don't know whether the same is true for UK vehicles.

ffchun
05-08-2005, 01:50 PM
The ride is okay for me, it is an SAV, and maybe as time goes on, you will become use to it. I had an M-5 so there is a difference given the type of vehicle it is. If you wanted something smoother, try a luxury car. :rofl:

beware_phog
05-08-2005, 01:51 PM
I've had my X3 3.0 SE Auto (UK Model) for just over 6 weeks. I love the handling and performance but the ride :mad: :mad:. I first test drove a Sport model but found the ride almost unbearable. My wife was in the front and my mother in the rear and both commented on how uncomfortable it was. I then drove an SE and it seemed better and I thought I could live with. 6 weeks on Im not so sure. How did BMW get it so wrong? I have owned 3 BMWs with Sports suspension: 328SE (with optional sport suspension, 330 Sport Convertible and a 330D Sport Touring. While they all rode firmly they did not jitter as much as the X3.

I travel on different road surface and at times the car glides along but once the surface deteriorates slightly the ride gets very twitchy and at times I feel slightly nauseous. Im hoping I get used to the ride but if not I dont see our relationship lasting more than a year.
Yes, you are. In fact, all those thousands of people who bought the car are suckers. Most people buy cars without test driving them because they like to be surprised the FIRST time they drive the car. Test drives can be so boring. Why test? Just buy and drive. :)

JG
05-08-2005, 02:02 PM
I've had my X3 3.0 SE Auto (UK Model) for just over 6 weeks. I love the handling and performance but the ride :mad: :mad:. I first test drove a Sport model but found the ride almost unbearable. My wife was in the front and my mother in the rear and both commented on how uncomfortable it was. I then drove an SE and it seemed better and I thought I could live with. 6 weeks on Im not so sure. How did BMW get it so wrong? I have owned 3 BMWs with Sports suspension: 328SE (with optional sport suspension, 330 Sport Convertible and a 330D Sport Touring. While they all rode firmly they did not jitter as much as the X3.

I travel on different road surface and at times the car glides along but once the surface deteriorates slightly the ride gets very twitchy and at times I feel slightly nauseous. Im hoping I get used to the ride but if not I dont see our relationship lasting more than a year.

You did do a test drive - right?

I find the ride is superb and very in-touch with the road - and I have had similar comments from most (not all) of my passengers. The more the road deterioration, the more informative feedback the car gives.

If you want to feel detached from the road, and fooled into thinking the surface is smooth and safe; then there are a thousand other mushy suspension vehicles available for a lot less money. (Have you driven a Ford lately)?

Don't get me wrong - I understand your comments to a degree and the supension is taught - but any major suspension compromises, would only be to the detriment of the driver; and the drive of the vehicle.

My grandmother hated the ride I gave her in an M5 a few years ago compared to her Cadillac. Entirely different beasts for entirely different purposes!

SabreXray
05-08-2005, 02:52 PM
I test drove an X3 3.0d for a week (rented it from sixt car rental here in Bavaria). Flew down the Autobahns at speeds up to 210 km/h (it was a German spec'd vehicle). Some twisting turning roads, it held the road like it was on rails, felt solid the whole time.

wingrove
05-08-2005, 02:58 PM
Everyone whos happy has the sport model? or are those who think the ride is fine driving the non sport? mayeb its just the combo of lower profile tyres and the firmer springs?
jas

keep off median
05-08-2005, 03:14 PM
Could be that part of the problem is your occupants complaining has robbed you of the true enjoyment of driving the best handling suv available. My suggestion would be to turn up the radio.

wingrove
05-08-2005, 03:37 PM
Sabrexray-was that a sport model though?

Nick325xiT 5spd
05-08-2005, 03:44 PM
It's very simple: If the vehicle is taller, it has to have a much stiffer suspension in order to give handling that's close to that of vehicles that have a much lower center of gravity. BMW compromised on the ride quality in order to make SUVs that are actually drivable.

climrgrl
05-08-2005, 03:45 PM
I love the ride of the X3. I have a non-sport version. At first I actually thought it was a little too cushy because I was used to driving the bf's R32 over the past 3 weeks. But after a couple of hours of driving around town, I got used to it and now I love it. I like feeling the road surface under my wheels and I don't find it jarring. However, I've also learned to avoid most of the potholes around town and I agree that some older uneven concrete roads can feel a bit rattly. Give it some more time and don't let your passengers' comments get you down. Sometimes if things are different from what we expect, we automatically think they are bad without giving ourselves enough time to adjust. I know you've already given it 6 weeks, but I'd give it at least 6 months. If you still hate it, test drive something with a little cushier ride to see if you really like that better.

xspeedy
05-08-2005, 03:47 PM
I have a 2.5 with the ZSP, and I love the ride. If anything, it is too soft at times.

stevenw66
05-08-2005, 08:30 PM
Both my wife and I noticed that the X3 ride did change over time. After a few months it became much softer. It might be an illusion but I have seen others report that as well. I do not have a sport suspension, however. My dealer told me that they do not recommend the sport suspension. However, my son has a 2005 X3 with sport suspension and has no complaints.

Mathew
05-08-2005, 08:55 PM
I didn't like it.

ScottLive5
05-08-2005, 09:00 PM
On uneven road, my Infiniti Fx35 will knock your filling loose...but I love it and my wife's X3

tromar1
05-08-2005, 09:58 PM
On uneven road, my Infiniti Fx35 will knock your filling loose...but I love it and my wife's X3
Bigger wheel on the FX...also bigger engine. I had one for 3 weeks while my X3 was in the shop. Must confess that I liked the FX. However, I couldn't get use to shifting the steptronic tranny in the opposite direction. I think BMW got that right vs Infiniti

SabreXray
05-08-2005, 11:24 PM
Sabrexray-was that a sport model though?

No it had the standard suspension. It had 120 kms on it when I picked it up, so it was brand new. Don't know if the German version is tuned any different than the US spec'd but I didn't feel any discomfort from it at all. My wife hates BMWs with a passion and actually loved driving the X3. I turned it back in with over 3,000 kms on it (in one week). We even drove it to Berlin (4 hour drive from here in Bavaria, would be 7 hours plus at US highway speeds). I was looking at the 2006 525i (the 3.0 littre with 30 extra horses sold me) but after driving the X3 I changed my mind. I want the 255 hp version (of the X3 3.0i) so I am waiting until September. On the plus side though delivery time to Bavaria is much shorter than waiting in America.

I currently drive a Pontiac Grand Prix. Talk about mushy suspension. At 130 mph (it tops out at 150) the Pontiac is extremly mushy, the X3 has a much better firmer ride. (Of course I am talking about on the autobahns which are glass smooth most of the time, I didn't drive the X3 on potholes or other bad roads). The cornering was amazing. I would never take a tight turn in the Pontiac at 130 mph, I was holding the X3 at 130+ and taking some tight stuff with it, definetly a world class driving performance vehicle.

B r i a n
05-09-2005, 07:45 AM
I drove my wife's 2001 Acura MDX this past weekend for the first time since I picked up my2005 X3 a few months ago.
MDX is a boat compaied to the X3.
Need to be honest with yourself in what you like, handling and performance or luxury?
Most people like to say handling and performance, but in reality they perfer luxury.
Most BMW owners put handling and performance well above Luxury.

adc
05-09-2005, 09:26 AM
Some potentially useful suggestions:

1) Check your tire pressures. Overinflated tires very quickly deteriorate a BMW's ride quality.

2) If still unsatisfied, verify if your car came with runflat tires. If it did, switching to regular tires will make a world of difference.

Don't give up just yet...

adc
03 330 ZHP

LmtdSlip
05-09-2005, 10:11 AM
Its a truck.

How is it supposed to ride? :confused:

pipo
05-09-2005, 11:22 AM
One thing to keep in mind when evaluating comments about ride quality: In the US (and perhaps other markets as well), the suspension was softened in the 2005 models.

And a repost from another thread: "... the higher center of gravity of the X3, while presenting an engineering challenge, did not stop BMW from designing a suspension that results in handling qualities that are superior to most so-called sports sedans on the road, including some non-sport suspension BMW sedans. The tight suspension probably results in a ride quality that is a bit harsher than the ride quality in a sedan with comparable handling characteristics... It's not an M3, but it certainly shares the bloodline! Bravo BMW!"

tonymey
05-09-2005, 01:12 PM
Gaza, I too agree the ride is hard ( we have the base suspension). I did the tire pressure thing but did not help. I drive a 740i daily, maybe that's my problem. I try to convince myself that it would get better or I will adjust but every time I drive it I get disappointed. The bright side is the X3 is my wifes SAV and she loves it and that's all that matters. :rofl:

JG
05-09-2005, 06:32 PM
Gaza, I too agree the ride is hard ( we have the base suspension). I did the tire pressure thing but did not help. I drive a 740i daily, maybe that's my problem. I try to convince myself that it would get better or I will adjust but every time I drive it I get disappointed. The bright side is the X3 is my wifes SAV and she loves it and that's all that matters. :rofl:

If you are driving a 740i daily (lucky you) - then I can see where the X3 ride would seem a tad harsh.

I personally enjoy every bit of feedback from the road. It reminds me some tests I did 10 years agoin a Formula 1600 race car (you think an X3 is harsh ;) )

smokeminside
05-09-2005, 06:38 PM
try an early 4Runner. I echo lmtdslip: it's a truck, and bound to be rougher than the other BMW series. For an suv/sav, the X3 is a dream to drive.

Rick480
05-10-2005, 09:25 AM
Yes.

Xcube
05-10-2005, 01:48 PM
I guess all I can say, after driving my X3 across the Shennandoah last weekend (with all those twisting and turning on a down slope at 40-50 mph) is that I've never felt safer as compared to some other vehicles that I've driven before, be it SUV or sedan. With the X3, you constantly get the sensation of being connected to the ground no matter what the condition is. Based on this adrenaline-filled experience of mine, I would sincerely describe X3's ride quality as STABLE and yet AGRESSIVE. Overall, my definition of X3 is FUN TO DRIVE! ;) :drive:

pipo
05-10-2005, 03:17 PM
I guess all I can say, after driving my X3 across the Shennandoah last weekend (with all those twisting and turning on a down slope at 40-50 mph) is that I've never felt safer as compared to some other vehicles that I've driven before, be it SUV or sedan. With the X3, you constantly get the sensation of being connected to the ground no matter what the condition is. Based on this adrenaline-filled experience of mine, I would sincerely describe X3's ride quality as STABLE and yet AGRESSIVE. Overall, my definition of X3 is FUN TO DRIVE! ;) :drive:

YES!

Gaza
05-21-2005, 10:06 AM
Some people seem to be confusing handling with ride. I have never critisised the handling of my car. It's excellent for a SUV. It's the jarring ride that I am critisising.

As pipo has said it is conceiveable that BMW altered the ride for the US market. Mine is a very early car (build date May 2004) so mine would be the original UK spec.

mguhler
05-21-2005, 01:45 PM
I'm loving everything about my X3. I haven't driven any other SUV (SAV) that drives like a sports car and has the room of an SUV.
That's why I bought it. My wife is not so much a fan, but then again, she didn't like my '93 318 or '02 325. She is an Audi fan, always will be.
As said in a few posts before, it has a higher COG, hence a harsher feeling ride. Plus with my 18" wheels, these awful PA roads can be a bit jaw breaking.
Turn up the tunes, step on the gas and love the ride!

sfca-325i
05-21-2005, 02:55 PM
Mine is a very early car (build date May 2004) so mine would be the original UK spec.


Ours is a 1/04 build. Here's how I'd rank the X3's ride:

Comfy: Pilot and former 325i.

Firm: X3 and Matrix

Xtra Firm: M3 with 19" rims


Can the ride be jarring? Yes, but not any more so when evaluated on a relative scale.

Yes, the 325i ride is much more comfortable. But than that was a sedan whose roofline is 10 inches shorter, making the center of gravity 5 inches lower. The X3's ride characteristics are simply the compromise to achieve a modicum of the handling characteristics expected of a BMW product.

mkh
05-21-2005, 05:14 PM
Yes, the 325i ride is much more comfortable.
Is your 325i with sport package? There is a difference in ride between sport and non-sport.

torzeck
05-21-2005, 05:28 PM
I have an "05 x3 with the sport pkg. I think it is handles and feels like a sport sedan.
I came from an '02 Audi A43.0 Quattro with Sport and the X3 handles as good if not better.
I even have the tires at the reccommended pressures!
It is all relative to what you were driving before.

rrinker
05-21-2005, 08:34 PM
I don't find the ride of our 05 3.0 harsh at ALL. Of course, I came from a 99 328is with sport suspension. I'd say the ride harshness is somewhere in between the 98 328is non-sport and 99 328is with sport.
It is certainly FAR superior to our 99 Jeep Grand Cherokee. That thing is a mush bucket. Do you feel bumps? Not immediately, but the thing porpoises around and wallows from side to side over every bump in the road. That is NOT a 'comfort' ride. I am also FAR from impressed with a coworker's Caddy - same thing, it's SOFT, for sure, but soft **** comfortable. And for a big 4-door car - there was more rear seat legroom in my E36 coupe! Likewise the Jeep - for a bigger overall vehicle, there is FAR more room inside the X3.

Gaza
06-01-2005, 04:46 PM
I've just completed a 1000 mile round trip from home on the south coast of England to my parents home in Edinburgh. I'm beginning to get used to the frisky nature of the ride over uneven surfaces.

On the way up due to some roadworks causing serious delays on the motorway (freeway) I took a back road for the last 50 miles (for UK based readers: it was the A701 from Moffat to Edinburgh). The last time I was on this road was on my Honda VFR800 and I remember it being great fun. The road was very quiet and I was able to let rip. Boy did I have a smile on my face. The X3 is more at home on a road like this than it is on a motorway. A couple of corners nearly caught me out but the excellent brakes allowed me to scrub off the speed easily and the four wheel drive pulled me through the corners with ease. On arrival at my parnets my alloys were very black with brake dust!!

After a few days of visiting freinds and relatives it was time to head back home. I retrieved my home address from the SatNav Address Book and it showed the journey home as exactly 480 miles. I don't need the SatNav for guidance but in the UK we have a marvelous thing called RDS-TMC (http://www.rds-tmc.co.uk/default.asp). Basically it receives realtime traffic information and displays this on the SatNav screen. If the delays are serious you have the option to selct an alternative route. It has proved its worth to me several times already.

I had decided not to return via the back road as at the time of day I was leaving it would be busy with commuter traffic. After filling the tank and resetting the trip computer I left Edinburgh at 4:45 p.m. The initial part of the journey was slow as I was cught up in commuter traffic and for the first 30 minutes the trip computer was showing an average speed of around 45 mph. As i headed south on the M74 traffic began to thin out and I set 90 mph on the cruise control. My speedo is about 3 mph out as my GPS Speed Camera and Laser Detector (http://www.blackspot.com/) shows 86 or 87 at an indicated 90.

For the next few hours I was able to maintain a high average speed. I was very happy blasting along with some good driving music on the CD changer. After about 320 miles the low fuel light came on. The display was showing 45 miles to empty when I saw a sign saying the next service station was 31 miles ahead (bottom of M6 Toll to Warwick services, for those that know the area). I knew it would be tight but I didn't want to detour off the motorway.

Although I kept at the same speed as I had done for the previous 320 miles the "distance to empty" seemed to fall at a quicker rate. I began to get a bit worried when it showed 8 miles to empty but then I saw a sign saying the next service station was 2 miles away. As I pulled off the motorway the display changed from 6 to ------- :eek: :eek: !!

I pulled up at the pump and filled up to the brim again. In the UK we generally get two fuel types

Unleaded: 92 RON
Super unleaded: 98 RON

I believe the US equivalent of 92 RON = 87 CLC (Regular) and 95 RON = 91 CLC (Premium). With UK fuel prices at near all time highs it cost me over GBP60 (USD110) to fill up. :cry: :cry:

Less than 10 minutes later I was back on the road and once again set the cruise control at 90 mph. The rest of the journey was uneventful apart from one very close call with a traffic cop! He was parked on the on ramp but I spotted him just in time! :flipoff:

I arrived at my home at exactly 10:52 p.m. 6 hours and 7 minutes after leaving Edinburgh. The trip computer showed an average speed of 81.1 mph with fuel consumption at a respectable 24.8 mpg. With fuel at around 0.88 per litre (roughly $6.20 per US Gallon) decent fuel consumtion is becoming more important.

The best bit is I felt I could do it again. I had no aches or pains and did not feel tired. Maybe my X3 and me will have a longer relationship than I first thought! :thumbup: :thumbup:

jdeday
06-02-2005, 11:01 AM
Its a truck.

How is it supposed to ride? :confused:

Actually your statement is incorrect. The X3 is built as a uni-body construction, unlike a truck (body on frame). The X3 will ride and handle similar to other BMW's.