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X3 E83 (2004 - 2010)
Talk about the E83 BMW X3 in this forum!

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  #1  
Old 10-10-2012, 05:59 PM
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halltristan halltristan is offline
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Thinking about buying X3 E83. Help please.

I am thinking about buying either an X3 or X5. I already own a 3 Series E46. I would really appreciate any advice you all can give me.

Are there any common problems the X3s seem to have (window regulators, water pump, etc.??

Are there any specific problems the X series might have that other BMW models do not?

What is typically considered low/avg./high mileage for an X3?

How does the X3 differ from the X5?

Anything else you can provide would be appreciated!!!
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  #2  
Old 10-11-2012, 06:50 AM
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X3-terrestrial X3-terrestrial is offline
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x3's are very solid and trouble free SAV's. Historically, much more reliable than earlier X5's. (Maybe because X3 are built in a very quality-oriented plant in Austria.)
But they are similar in many ways, x5 is a little bigger and thirsty due to its heavier weight, also X3 handles better. If size doesn't matter to you, I'll go with an X3 hands down.
At 100k miles, these cars just started breaking in. Expect over 200k+ with the required maintenance.
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  #3  
Old 10-11-2012, 07:02 AM
UncleJ UncleJ is offline
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The X3 showed up here in '04, the X5 started building here in '99. The early couple of X5 years were forgettable -- engine fan fires, etc. The later builds have been as good as any other car -- so if you look at anyting past '04 you should be OK. The Mercedes ML series also suffered from the early builds here too, so BMW was not alone in teething problems. Full disclosure: I have never driven an '04 X3, but I have driven most years since then. The '04 was noted (and widely panned by the buff books) for the very stiff uncomfortable ride. I can attest to that problem, as it has carried over to my '06 as well! On rough roads they are horrible rides. The X5 not so bad. It is important to note that the early series X5 was not all that much bigger than the X3. In fact I bought my X3 because it had more room in it than the comparable X5 of that year. I believe this is because the X5 had a far more luxo interior than the rather spartan X3, so there was more room -- or at least "percieved" room in the back. Neither one really is a great cargo carrier (like a Tahoe, or Suburban) but they are nice little utility vehicles. The X3 returns decent mileage (I avg 22 on the road and 17 in town) but can cost an arm and a leg to fix. The mechanicals seem fairly reliable up to 100K but the suspension parts, electronics and emissions stuff seem to have problems after the warranty runs out. On the early years watch for broken spring pigtails and sunroof issues. Good luck!

Last edited by UncleJ; 10-11-2012 at 07:05 AM.
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  #4  
Old 10-11-2012, 08:51 AM
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halltristan halltristan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by X3-terrestrial View Post
x3's are very solid and trouble free SAV's. Historically, much more reliable than earlier X5's. (Maybe because X3 are built in a very quality-oriented plant in Austria.)
But they are similar in many ways, x5 is a little bigger and thirsty due to its heavier weight, also X3 handles better. If size doesn't matter to you, I'll go with an X3 hands down.
At 100k miles, these cars just started breaking in. Expect over 200k+ with the required maintenance.
What's the consensus on a 2004 3.0 AWD X3?
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  #5  
Old 10-11-2012, 09:47 AM
Supercourse Supercourse is offline
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Don't know if there is a consensus, but I'd say if you get a good one it could be the best ~$10K you ever spent on a vehicle.

In terms of driving enjoyment and usefulness that is.

How do you get a good one? In descending order:

1. From a private seller
If you can judge them to be knowledgeable and conscientious in its upkeep.

2. From a BMW dealership
If it's one of the reputable ones that hold onto their better trade-ins and do any required reconditioning properly.

3. From a non-BMW dealership
Only if you can verify it was a trade-in and not an auction buy, and you have your PPI done by someone who really knows their stuff.

4. From a Used Car business with a fancy name
I would avoid this altogether. Too may new people come on this forum with tales of woe.
They pay nearly as much as from a franchised dealership, for a unit that others in the trade have given a miss to.
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  #6  
Old 10-11-2012, 10:31 AM
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X3-terrestrial X3-terrestrial is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by halltristan View Post
What's the consensus on a 2004 3.0 AWD X3?
Most people would agree that 2005 and 2006 are overall the best years. I def wouldn't get a 2007+ with the Automatic transmission. Manual, not a problem.

Whatever your choice is, take it to a BMW independent shop for a PPI. A lot of issues on cars are individual to each car and in some cases due to poor maintenance, so before you buy anything, take it for a good check.
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  #7  
Old 10-11-2012, 11:27 AM
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halltristan halltristan is offline
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Originally Posted by X3-terrestrial View Post
Most people would agree that 2005 and 2006 are overall the best years.
Is there anything that the 05/06 models have that the earlier ones do not? For example, my 2003 325i didn't come pre-wired for an alarm system, but the 2004's on do.
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  #8  
Old 10-11-2012, 01:16 PM
Supercourse Supercourse is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by halltristan View Post
Is there anything that the 05/06 models have that the earlier ones do not?
Let me count the ways:

1. Bluetooth from factory either not available or not working properly until 2005 models

2. Color-matched carpeting (2004's had only grey carpeting)

3. Interior plastic colors on 2004's not well integrated (too much grey, not enough black?)

4. Suspension slightly softer for 2005

5. One piece front fenders replaced the two piece ones of 2004 (hardly noticeable)

6. Door open warning was missing on 2004 models

7. Very early 2004's did not have a rechargeable flashlight installed

If you want to avoid potential problems with a panoramic roof, slightly more likely to find a 2004 without that option than a 2005, especially with a 2.5i rather than a 3.0i.
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  #9  
Old 10-11-2012, 01:09 PM
jdauria jdauria is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by X3-terrestrial View Post
Most people would agree that 2005 and 2006 are overall the best years. I def wouldn't get a 2007+ with the Automatic transmission. Manual, not a problem.

Whatever your choice is, take it to a BMW independent shop for a PPI. A lot of issues on cars are individual to each car and in some cases due to poor maintenance, so before you buy anything, take it for a good check.
I second the PPI (Pre-purcahsed inspection) this is an absolute must when buying used. Try to get as much maintenance records as possible too.

Just got an 06' X3 3.0i and love it
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  #10  
Old 10-11-2012, 04:33 PM
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mlukas161 mlukas161 is online now
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Not sure about American cars, but I think a new Toyota rav 4 or a subaru forrester may be similar in size to the x3. Also an acura rdx small suv is similar in ride and size.
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  #11  
Old 10-11-2012, 04:46 PM
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halltristan halltristan is offline
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So overall, it appears that the X3 is a more reliable vehicle than the X5. What do you all think? Am I right? Would you opt for one over the other?
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  #12  
Old 10-11-2012, 08:26 PM
chrisk03 chrisk03 is offline
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If size is not really a big deal to you, go for the X3...saves you some $$$. Also, I would reiterate strongly to have the vehicle thoroughly checked out somewhere, ESPECIALLY if it has the panoramic sunroof. Check the shocks for leaks. Valve cover gasket for leaks. Intake boot cracked...although this throws a code, so you'd know. You can't really check the door vapor barriers, but that's another typical problem. Washer fluid reservoir leak. Oh, did I mention the sunroof? These are the things that we've had to deal with on our 04 X3 2.5 with about 92k miles. Other stuff such as brakes/pads, oil changes, spark plugs, tires are all normal, but I will say that parts for this vehicle are pretty expensive. Luckily I can do most of those things myself.

Good luck.
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  #13  
Old 10-12-2012, 12:07 AM
fivepointnine fivepointnine is offline
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issues I have had with my 84k 2004 2.5i

valve cover gasket, crank vent system, intake boot, belt tensioner and front torsion arm bushings. cooling systems seem to be more robust than the E46's, my pano sunroof has been totally trouble free so far (although I need to clean my drains soon). I have a ripped passenger side rear vapor barrier I need to replace next, not a huge deal to do that though. Overall the X3 has been reliable and comfortable, I do not think my 04 rides any stiffer than a sporty car. Try riding in a lifted Nissan Titan if you want a stiff ride!!!!!
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  #14  
Old 10-12-2012, 05:26 AM
Wongway Wongway is offline
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160,000 miles now on my 2005 X3.

A few issues, but mostly electrically related. Only one major mechanical issue fixed at an Indy shop for $500.

I can totally foresee this making it to up over 200,000 miles as long as I take care of it.
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  #15  
Old 10-12-2012, 06:31 AM
UncleJ UncleJ is offline
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Hall, one thing to consider if you do not live near a BMW dealer -- or have a close indy shop that specializes in the brand -- is the difficulty of getting anything fixed when it breaks and it will. As far as a domestic car that approximates the X3 for size I guess the Chev/GMC Terrain is close, the older Ford Escapes, Jeep Liberty, Dodge Nitro, are about it. The aforementioned Subie Forester, RAV4, and CR-V are also in the "cute ute" group that comes close. These X3's can be great cars or they can be money pits. Of course the same could be said for any car really.

Last edited by UncleJ; 10-12-2012 at 06:38 AM.
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  #16  
Old 10-12-2012, 09:15 PM
fivepointnine fivepointnine is offline
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Best thing about the X3's is that they are relatively DIY friendly, so that can save you a lot of coin if you have tools.
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  #17  
Old 10-12-2012, 09:38 PM
x3brian x3brian is offline
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99k on my 09 with nothing but fluid changes and one set of brakes/tires to date. My only surprise was a failed front diff at 63k that BMW good willed. Excellent car and I expect 300k out of it.

For domestic comparison...the jeep grand Cherokee overland edition is about the closet....just keep in mind the two vehicles have significantly different awd systems. However every time I get one at the airport as a rental I feel like I am back home in my e83.
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  #18  
Old 10-13-2012, 07:52 AM
UncleJ UncleJ is offline
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+1, although the JGC Overland is vastly more luxo inside than my '06 X3. It really is closer in interior quality to the X5, not the rather spartan X3. And of course the Jeep will go a lot of places you could not take an X3, or X5 for that matter.
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  #19  
Old 10-13-2012, 09:26 AM
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X3-terrestrial X3-terrestrial is offline
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He was asking for size comparison.
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  #20  
Old 10-14-2012, 01:35 AM
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Evlengr Evlengr is offline
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Read the sticky about transmissions at the top of the page. I had an 07 AT X3 and it was a pos. I got an 08 MT and no problems.

I would say it is a safe bet with the 06 if you are looking for tried X3 at a moderate price. I dont need to repeat what has been said by some experienced owners here. Pano roof, springs, etc....
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  #21  
Old 10-16-2012, 03:28 PM
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halltristan halltristan is offline
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Can anyone tell me what items are missing here?

Last edited by halltristan; 10-28-2012 at 11:40 AM.
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  #22  
Old 10-16-2012, 03:30 PM
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halltristan halltristan is offline
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sorry about the small pic. This one is larger.

Last edited by halltristan; 10-28-2012 at 11:40 AM.
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  #23  
Old 10-16-2012, 03:40 PM
usaret usaret is offline
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Originally Posted by halltristan View Post
sorry about the small pic. This one is larger.
I don't see the tow hook, wrenches, or screwdriver. If you remove the panel # 13 there should be more stuff under there.
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  #24  
Old 10-16-2012, 04:23 PM
hartmri hartmri is offline
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In my 2008 x3, that space is where the ski bag is stored...
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  #25  
Old 10-16-2012, 07:30 PM
x3brian x3brian is offline
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I bought mine brand new and it didn't come with anything in those spots. One of them is for a european hitch ball. I keep my owners manual in one and a set of jumper cables in the other.
+1. USA and I have identical cars bought new.
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