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X3 F25 (2011 - current)
The latest X3 brings some added style and some new features to the BMW SUV family. Talk about the new F25 now!

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  #1  
Old 04-01-2011, 02:36 PM
TMQ TMQ is offline
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NY Times review of X3

Good review of X3. Except that the writer doesn't seem to do the homework well - there's no 30i in the U.S. anymore, and the previous gen was not built in SC. (and this isn't April fool joke.)

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Downsizing Made Easy: Increase Size, Power and Space
By LAWRENCE ULRICH
RISING fuel prices and earthly calamities have many citizens donning Jimmy Carters metaphorical cardigan, facing up to energy conservation as they rarely have since the 1970s.

Things are so dire that S.U.V.-loving Americans have begun to downsize so long as its into a larger vehicle.

That may sound like a contradiction. But most Americans have shown little interest in shrinking their car****ing dreams to European proportions. When Americans stoop to downsizing, what theyre really saying is that small cars must grow to accommodate them.

As with many cars, todays compact and midsize crossover S.U.V.s are sneakily growing as well. Think of them as you would the soda sizes at the movies, where small seems quite adequate and medium is a veritable mountain of dew.

The 2011 BMW X3 is the latest expansionist. Its midsize brother, the X5, received a decisive, 7.4-inch stretch after some consumers accused it of puniness. Narrowing the gap, this second-generation X3 has become 3.4 inches longer and 1.1 inch wider, with a half-inch increase in height and ground clearance.

A groundbreaker in compact luxury S.U.V.s upon its 2004 introduction, the aging X3 had been outclassed by newcomers, including Audis good-looking, always entertaining Q5.

BMWs response is familiar, raiding its deep portfolio to strong-arm opponents and sweet-talk drivers with more power, luxury and technology. And if the X3 still isnt as pretty as the Audi, it leapfrogs the Q5s performance, along with that of every other crossover in this booming class, including the Volvo XC60, Mercedes GLK, Cadillac SRX and Acura RDX.

Even the BMWs middling looks wont count against it. The new X3 seems a bit fussy and overconsidered, especially with a trio of contour lines that meander along the sides. The view from behind seems best, with its scalloped rear and T-shaped tail lamps.

Many shoppers do raise an issue with these nimble luxury crossovers, most winged with X-badges: They may be smaller than the lumbering Death Stars of old, but the prices are higher on a square-foot basis.

It wasnt long ago that $50,000 bought you a Cadillac Escalade or another party-size symbol of excess. Now, 50 grand barely delivers one of these creamy half-pints of luxury. Yet more Americans seem happy to pay it, perhaps to dodge the social stigma attached to hulking old-school S.U.V.s.

Yet Ill admit it: If youve got the dough, the X3 is hard to beat as a high-jolt family car. Its manageable for empty nesters, but just big enough for married couples with one or two children. It is unimpeachably fashionable, but within the tasteful spectrum of curbside radar. And being a BMW, it goes like the dickens.

Thats especially true for the crackling 35i model. With 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque, this cross-training fanatic can dash from the blocks to 60 miles per hour in 5.4 seconds. Thats a record in this segment by a good margin.

By plucking the best fruit from its other cars including a twin-scroll turbocharged 3-liter in-line 6 and a superb 8-speed automatic transmission BMW ensures that it is not fighting fair. On paper, the Cadillac SRXs own turbo V-6 has an identical 300 horsepower, and only 5 pound-feet less torque. In the real world, the BMW feels as if it has a 75-horse advantage on the Cadillac.

Thats not just a subjective feeling: the BMW is a remarkable 2 seconds quicker to 60 m.p.h. than the Caddy. The X3 brushes the Audi and Volvo aside nearly as easily. This amazing mill sounds as good as it drives, always eager for another exploratory shot to its 7,000-r.p.m. maximum orbit or to the 35is 130 m.p.h. top speed (150 m.p.h. with the optional sport package).

The X3 takes the handling cake as well, especially with its optional $1,400 Dynamic Handling Package, which includes a driver-selectable suspension, variable-ratio steering and a rear-wheel torque-vectoring system. The adaptive suspensions three settings adjust shock-absorber firmness, throttle, transmission, steering assist and stability control. And as in BMWs 7 Series sedan, the Sport Plus setting is the X3s hidden ace, conjuring a level of performance fury that seems thrillingly at odds with the vehicles surface style.

In contrast to this amphetamine burst, the Audis own optional dynamic settings barely budge the performance needle. The only problem is the BMWs boggy throttle in Normal mode; keep it in Sport or Sport Plus and you solve that problem.

Of course, most luxury S.U.V. shoppers wont rush out to compare high-speed slalom times. So Ill hasten to add that the X3 drives beautifully at any pace, with reasonable ride quality and steering that makes even a nervous driver feel indomitable. But the 18-inch run-flat tires produced a bit more road noise than conventional rubber.

I can only hope that BMW will downsize the official, and officially unwieldy, name: X3 xDrive 35i sounds like something Tom Brady barks out before hut!

The xDrive label refers to the BMWs sophisticated all-wheel-drive system. In normal driving, it sends 60 percent of the power to the rear wheels, 40 percent to the front. But up to 100 percent of torque can be diverted to the rear wheels via a multiplate clutch.

As for that transmission, seventh and eighth gears are fuel-saving overdrives, allowing the engine to turn more quietly at lower r.p.m.s. And while the BMW out-hustles any 6-cylinder rival, its federal mileage rating (19 m.p.g. in town, 26 on the highway) whips them as well, by as much as 5 m.p.g. on the highway. (The 4-cylinder version of the Audi Q5 manages 1 m.p.g. better in city and on highway).

With four planetary gearsets and five clutch packs, the BMW can downshift, say, from eighth gear all the way to second without stepping through intermediate gears. Unfortunately, BMW has dropped the X3s stick-shift option.



The X3s cabin had already come a long way from its birth, when suspect materials and detailing had people questioning its credentials and grousing about the quality of BMWs from South Carolina. This X3 is still built in Spartanburg, but it gets the full Bavarian treatment: form-fitting seats, dollops of wood and leather, the latest iDrive system and an 8.8-inch, high-resolution control screen. The X3 is as luxurious as anything in the class.

BMWs current interior design is either classic or complacent, depending on your view. But the layout is clean and the ergonomics are excellent. With added rear legroom, I didnt need to slide the drivers seat forward to accommodate a six-footer in back.

The smallish rear glass and thick rear roof pillars do make for substantial blind spots. Thats where the BMWs top-view monitor comes in, offering a 360-degree view around the vehicle while youre backing up. Ignore BMWs base prices, which are as attuned to reality as the Kardashian girls on a jewelry binge. The 35i begins at $41,925, but the model I tested had $12,500 in options thats a 30 percent increase from the base tab to reach $53,425.

Extras included Convenience, Cold Weather, Technology, Premium and Dynamic Handling packages that added $10,475. Useful equipment included a navigation system, power tailgate, keyless push-button start, a three-piece rear backrest that splits in a 40/20/40 proportion, heated steering wheel and heated seats front and rear.

Of these, the Premium Package seemed exorbitant at $3,450. It included an admittedly enormous panoramic sunroof along with froufrou that must cost BMW next to nothing, like a garage-door opener and additional interior lighting.

In BMWs defense, the Audi, Cadillac and some other rivals can also rocket past $50,000. And if the 35i seems like overkill, consider the 30i version. With its overachieving 240-horsepower 6-cylinder, the 30i starts at $37,625. Thats $2,100 less than last years X3 with a 260-horse version of the same engine.

People who buy $30,000 Honda Pilots may ask why anyone would spend more for less real estate. But for people who measure by more than inches, the X3 roomier, stronger, more deluxe may justify the penthouse prices.

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  #2  
Old 04-01-2011, 04:56 PM
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MarcA78 MarcA78 is offline
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Honestly, that was one of the worst reviews I've ever read. And I read a lot of reviews. Ulrich is a hack. I seriously doubt he even drove the car. I seriously doubt he even knows how to drive. I'm beginning to seriously doubt whether or not he has even seen an actual car in person. Look up his review of the 2007 MCS. It's a classic case of "I have no idea how to write a car review."
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  #3  
Old 04-02-2011, 08:48 AM
UncleJ UncleJ is offline
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Looks like he took the BMW press pack handouts and wrote his screed. Previous models built in S'burg? I am still waiting for a real objective review with actual testing. Should be coming along since the new ones are getting pretty well distributed by now.
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  #4  
Old 04-04-2011, 05:08 PM
heinzaugust heinzaugust is offline
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Rear view of muffler?

How could the NYT "reviewer" state that the rear view of the new X3 is the best. I can not believe BMW has that big ugly silver muffler in plain sight from the rear. BMW is known for the clean under-carriage vs Honda/Acura tailpipes under the axle.
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  #5  
Old 04-04-2011, 06:17 PM
andyffer andyffer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heinzaugust View Post
How could the NYT "reviewer" state that the rear view of the new X3 is the best. I can not believe BMW has that big ugly silver muffler in plain sight from the rear. BMW is known for the clean under-carriage vs Honda/Acura tailpipes under the axle.
that is such a bad argument

E60? E90? X5? ETC ETC
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  #6  
Old 04-04-2011, 07:00 PM
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MarcA78 MarcA78 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heinzaugust View Post
How could the NYT "reviewer" state that the rear view of the new X3 is the best. I can not believe BMW has that big ugly silver muffler in plain sight from the rear. BMW is known for the clean under-carriage vs Honda/Acura tailpipes under the axle.
You're as bad as the reviewer. To see my muffler, I have to have my chin on the ground.

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  #7  
Old 04-04-2011, 08:36 PM
No12 No12 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heinzaugust View Post
How could the NYT "reviewer" state that the rear view of the new X3 is the best. I can not believe BMW has that big ugly silver muffler in plain sight from the rear. BMW is known for the clean under-carriage vs Honda/Acura tailpipes under the axle.
Nonsense.
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Old 04-05-2011, 06:14 PM
M5driver M5driver is offline
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I didn't mind the review despite the goof about the 30i. His comment about "boggy" Normal mode throttle response was exactly the way my wife described it. We agreed that Sport was our new normal. The damper/shock firmness is also easily felt on a typical well-worn section of highway. The steering response was harder for me to judge, but my wife definitely felt it.
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  #9  
Old 04-05-2011, 09:47 PM
DaleWA DaleWA is offline
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M5driver, would you say the Variable Sports Steering is worth it? I'm looking at the M-Sport package which includes Perf Control and DDC already, so now trying to decide whether to spend the extra on VSS.
Thanks -
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  #10  
Old 04-07-2011, 05:49 AM
cubed cubed is offline
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---seriously if you use a NYT car review in deciding what car to get, you are truly misguided. Like so much in that left-leaning propaganda machine, the "information" presented has a very low chance of actually being factual. Apparently fact-checking went away when the editorial board decided to charge for its online content. Read the NYTimes at your own peril.
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Old 04-07-2011, 07:04 AM
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Not defending that 'review', which is typical like most found in the papers, but my understanding is the engine is a 3.0 liter that BMW, in its new Marketing Nomenclature Nightmare, has chosen to call the 2.8 blah, blah, blah.

Hellsbells, C&D, R&T et al, are not info perfect either.

And, agree no one should buy a car based upon one or two 'reviews' from any source.
GL, mD
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Old 04-07-2011, 07:32 AM
cubed cubed is offline
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ahh -- but the big difference with C&D and R/T is that they actually acknowledge their mistakes. Usually. ... Try to get the NYT to publish an erratum and you will go nuts. I know. I've tried. (Scientific article I co-authored was misquoted and woefully misinterpretted. And the reporter left off several other co-authors in its acknowledgements. When I asked the reporter to make corrections I was told to get lost. Great journalism. So every time I read a NYT article - which is rare - I wonder whether this too is factual, mythical, political, or just comical)
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Old 04-07-2011, 07:43 AM
UncleJ UncleJ is offline
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What do you expect from a paper that has had to return two pulitizers for made up stories in the recent past. No media review would ever convince me to buy a car, however it would give me some additional information that I may use to make a decision. For that I believe the reviews are useful, but only if viewed in the proper context. I still am waiting for an objective review with actual testing by technical personnel (not hack journalists wearing string back driving gloves and deer skin mocs) in a proving ground setting. When I see that one then I will have a better idea on what the new X3 is all about.
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