I purchased my '04 X3 3.0i with 145K and it's been very reliable. Even going back through the early records and Carfax my vehicle has seen only normal wear issues. I too wanted an '06 but I feel I got the best of both worlds as my '04 is an '04 by a month so it has some of the features of an '05 (flashlight in the glove box and the upgraded moon-roof that won't stick). I don't know about the stiffness of the ride as mine included the sport package with the 18"s, it is pretty stiff but not uncomfortably so, although that's all relative. Mine also has the cold-weather package and yes, the empty rectangular area partially underneath the handle is where the ski bag would be located. There's a bit behind the rear center console that snaps out and the ski-bag snaps in it's place, that part that is removed can be placed back in that area you've got pictured. Enjoy your new X3 I'm sure you'll love it!
Last edited by LumpyJ; 10-21-2012 at 02:22 PM.