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

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  #1  
Old 09-23-2009, 03:21 PM
Want the Thrill Want the Thrill is offline
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Wanting an X3 but nervous?

Ok, so I have read every inch of this forum and others on everything I can find on the X'3.
I have to say I'm nervous as hell about buying one because there are so many "iffy" things about them! I'm used to paying for an expensive vehicle and not having to worry about windows not going up or down, peeling interiors and tranny problems. Having said that, I test drove an '06 X3 as well as the '07 and completely fell IN LOVE with the power and handling of it (more so on the '07 as it has more horsepower)! Nothing else I test drive compares!

I feel I am well "armed" going into this and plan on getting an '07 but will first check out every detail of the vehicle's service records and carfax report. I figure if it had a tranny problem surely it would have been into the dealer for service at least once since it would be under warrenty and I plan on steering clear of it. Looking to get one with 20-25K on it with the Premium and Cold weather package.

So, my question is, am I completely insane??? I wish I had never gotten a "taste" of driving one. I feel if I had read here first, I would completely be avoiding the car, but I can't stop thinking about it now that I have driven it!

Any thoughts?
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  #2  
Old 09-23-2009, 03:30 PM
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Jakked Jakked is offline
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not an x3 owner, but 2 general points:

1) sounds like you're angling for a used, but within warranty vehicle. good choice, as you'll pay much less than msrp, but still have time to sort through some details while the warranty is still active.

2) most people come to forums to discuss problems they are having. very few post if everything is going perfectly. there may be some issues with the x3, but don't let your perception of the issues be distorted.

happy shopping
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  #3  
Old 09-23-2009, 03:40 PM
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madurodave madurodave is offline
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Despite the warnings on the transmission thread, I love my 2007 X3 with AT. It is a daily driver here in NH. I drive 600 miles per week to work. It handles great, rides well, seats are comfortable and the trans, while not a manual as I would prefer, shifts well after my reprogramming was done (20k miles ago, by the way). Some have had issues as you have seen and read, but I feel all manufacturers have their issues. That being said, would I buy another one after driving my X3 for a year and reading all the same issues as you have? You bet I would!

So I guess I would say if you can drive manual, get a manual. Otherwise drive the used X3 for a while, look at the service records and make the best choice you can. I bought mine with 15k miles on it. Have I had issues? Yes: replaced 1 front wheel bearing, replaced side mirror switch, recalibrated compass on mirror, replaced steering wheel trim for peeling coating. Minor but irritating things. I wish I had a longer term under my belt, but I plan to keep this to 200k miles if possible! My last Lexus LX450 lasted to that and would have gone further but I needed a more fuel efficient and fun vehicle.

So good luck in your choice. I would go for the 2007, but that is me. You will get MANY different opinions on this but ultimately it is your choice. I happen to LOVE the 260 hp versus the 225 in the 2006 or earlier. Let us know what you choose!
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  #4  
Old 09-23-2009, 04:01 PM
Want the Thrill Want the Thrill is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madurodave View Post
Despite the warnings on the transmission thread, I love my 2007 X3 with AT. It is a daily driver here in NH. I drive 600 miles per week to work. It handles great, rides well, seats are comfortable and the trans, while not a manual as I would prefer, shifts well after my reprogramming was done (20k miles ago, by the way). Some have had issues as you have seen and read, but I feel all manufacturers have their issues. That being said, would I buy another one after driving my X3 for a year and reading all the same issues as you have? You bet I would!

So I guess I would say if you can drive manual, get a manual. Otherwise drive the used X3 for a while, look at the service records and make the best choice you can. I bought mine with 15k miles on it. Have I had issues? Yes: replaced 1 front wheel bearing, replaced side mirror switch, recalibrated compass on mirror, replaced steering wheel trim for peeling coating. Minor but irritating things. I wish I had a longer term under my belt, but I plan to keep this to 200k miles if possible! My last Lexus LX450 lasted to that and would have gone further but I needed a more fuel efficient and fun vehicle.

So good luck in your choice. I would go for the 2007, but that is me. You will get MANY different opinions on this but ultimately it is your choice. I happen to LOVE the 260 hp versus the 225 in the 2006 or earlier. Let us know what you choose!
Thanks for the input! The horsepower and minor exterior/interior changes are exactly why I want the '07! I love the "growl" of the engine when you step on it! I plan on keeping the vehicle for at least 8 years so I just want it to be reliable! I have owned Acura's, Lexus's and Nissan's and they have all held up. Just hope this will too!
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  #5  
Old 09-23-2009, 04:04 PM
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rosskey711 rosskey711 is offline
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Get one! It's really fun to be able to throw a cross over into turns like you can with an X3... I have had no issues with mine, (only had it 2 months )
Why i got it:
Power!
Driving!
Snow!
Carrying Stuff!
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  #6  
Old 09-23-2009, 05:18 PM
Supercourse Supercourse is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Want the Thrill View Post
The horsepower and minor exterior/interior changes are exactly why I want the '07! I love the "growl" of the engine when you step on it!
Not that it should really affect your criteria for X3 shopping, but,
the '04 - '06 engine (M54) has a more distinctive natural growl than the '07-on (N52) engine.

Not only is the new engine designed to be quieter (and significantly more powerful), but cabin insulation was also improved for '07.

However, if you are in the habit of "stepping on it", you would relish the sound from either one.

As noted, a MT choice, where feasible, bypasses a lot of the potential concern with an '07- on model.

Keep in mind whether other changes in '07+ are to your complete liking (direct TPMS, oil life monitoring/no dipstick?, etc.)

Regarding reliability, some people do get more than their fair share of problems, but overall it appears to be slightly above-average for a BMW,
definitely above-average for a German vehicle, and not far behind most Asian makes.
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  #7  
Old 09-23-2009, 06:27 PM
Want the Thrill Want the Thrill is offline
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Thanks for all the replies! I just needed to hear I'm not crazy for wanting something with a less than perfect track record!! Hubby is willing to go along with it, but I really had to convince him. He would rather have something that lasts a long time without problems, where I want FUN, FUN, FUN to drive & good looks! I have 2 kids and have to drive in crappy Michigan winters so I love that fact that it handles well and stops on a dime.
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  #8  
Old 09-23-2009, 06:28 PM
Want the Thrill Want the Thrill is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rosskey711 View Post
Get one! It's really fun to be able to throw a cross over into turns like you can with an X3... I have had no issues with mine, (only had it 2 months )
Why i got it:
Power!
Driving!
Snow!
Carrying Stuff!
I agree!
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  #9  
Old 09-23-2009, 06:38 PM
Battleship83 Battleship83 is offline
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Just bought 2009 X-3 -- Loaner car with 4321 miles. Taking a 500 mile each way trip this weekend. I am excited and anticipating a great time. Came with navigation, M sport package, premium package. I looked at 07s but I got this loner for only a few thou more. Hoping for the best. .9% financing sure helps.

Last edited by Battleship83; 09-23-2009 at 07:02 PM.
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  #10  
Old 09-23-2009, 07:14 PM
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Zoltar Zoltar is offline
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Welcome to the fest.
Don't let the problems you read here scare you. The X3 is a great vehicle and actually has an above average reliability record.
However, regardless of what the unaffected cheerleaders will tell you, the 07+ AT problem is real. Be careful.
It is true that not all are affected. No one knows why. It is the million dollar question. Be careful.

I had an affected '07 AT. I liked the vehicle so much, I now have an '09 MT which is fabulous.
However, my affected '07 AT problem was real and it was an obvious design defect. Be careful.

Supercourse is correct that the '06 has a different engine that actually has more growl but less HP (and a dipstick!).
The '06 is probably the least problematic year but the '07+ received a more powerful engine, 6 speed tranny, softer ride, and upgraded interior.

I highly recommend the X3 but use the information here to your advantage to purchase wisely. Good luck with your decision.
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  #11  
Old 09-23-2009, 07:17 PM
spokelizard spokelizard is offline
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I bought my '07 MT earlier this summer after a lot of research and posting my concerns (similar to yours) on this forum before purchase. I had been driving Japanese cars for almost 30 years, most recently a Mazda. The quick answer is that if reliability is your #1 concern buy Asian. But if you're looking for a mix of performance, fun, and utility and reasonably good reliability, X3 is a good choice. I've been really pleased with my X3, and (knock wood) no problems.

Some used car buying tips: check the carfax and the BMW service record, have an indie mechanic check it out, and if you can arrange it, drive at least 100 miles on various road surfaces and terrains to make sure you don't find the "firm" ride is a "rough" ride. If you're buying AT, be real cautious about the '07's. If you're willing to pay a premium price a low mileage CPO will give you warranty + maintenance for extra peace of mind.
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  #12  
Old 09-23-2009, 07:32 PM
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X3-terrestrial X3-terrestrial is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Want the Thrill View Post
am I completely insane???
Don't worry you came to the right place Welcome to your next addiction.
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  #13  
Old 09-23-2009, 07:33 PM
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LMC LMC is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Want the Thrill View Post
Thanks for all the replies! I just needed to hear I'm not crazy for wanting something with a less than perfect track record!! Hubby is willing to go along with it, but I really had to convince him. He would rather have something that lasts a long time without problems, where I want FUN, FUN, FUN to drive & good looks! I have 2 kids and have to drive in crappy Michigan winters so I love that fact that it handles well and stops on a dime.
And don't forget the safety angle...the agility helps you to avoid an accident and if the worst happens the vehicle protects you and your passengers better than most.
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  #14  
Old 09-23-2009, 09:39 PM
Want the Thrill Want the Thrill is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LMC View Post
And don't forget the safety angle...the agility helps you to avoid an accident and if the worst happens the vehicle protects you and your passengers better than most.
Good point! I knew there was a reason I loved this forum!!
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  #15  
Old 09-23-2009, 10:01 PM
PPXYZ PPXYZ is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Want the Thrill View Post
Ok, so I have read every inch of this forum and others on everything I can find on the X'3.
I have to say I'm nervous as hell about buying one because there are so many "iffy" things about them! I'm used to paying for an expensive vehicle and not having to worry about windows not going up or down, peeling interiors and tranny problems. Having said that, I test drove an '06 X3 as well as the '07 and completely fell IN LOVE with the power and handling of it (more so on the '07 as it has more horsepower)! Nothing else I test drive compares!

I feel I am well "armed" going into this and plan on getting an '07 but will first check out every detail of the vehicle's service records and carfax report. I figure if it had a tranny problem surely it would have been into the dealer for service at least once since it would be under warrenty and I plan on steering clear of it. Looking to get one with 20-25K on it with the Premium and Cold weather package.

So, my question is, am I completely insane??? I wish I had never gotten a "taste" of driving one. I feel if I had read here first, I would completely be avoiding the car, but I can't stop thinking about it now that I have driven it!

Any thoughts?
Had to say it although it isn't a popular sentiment.

I went back to the dealer after having my car in the shop for 2 nights to figure out what the heck was wrong with the ride. I was even considering a 20% loss after one month of ownership. I am still considering what it would cost to trade it in on a different car from a different manufacturer.

I am still getting jerky acceleration and vibration and continuing tailgate problems. Do you think your dealer will let you have an extended test drive? Someone said they had a car (don't know which one) as a weekender. That was news to me, I have never heard of a weekend test drive.

If I had done that with my car I would not have bought it. At least try another one over various surfaces at low speeds, accelerating quickly into turns, on hills, etc. before you take the plunge.

I think it is a good idea as well to check to see that the car goes easily into reverse and stays there instead of feeling like it is in neutral.
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  #16  
Old 09-23-2009, 10:11 PM
Want the Thrill Want the Thrill is offline
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Unhappy

Quote:
Originally Posted by PPXYZ View Post
Had to say it although it isn't a popular sentiment.

I went back to the dealer after having my car in the shop for 2 nights to figure out what the heck was wrong with the ride. I was even considering a 20% loss after one month of ownership. I am still considering what it would cost to trade it in on a different car from a different manufacturer.

I am still getting jerky acceleration and vibration and continuing tailgate problems. Do you think your dealer will let you have an extended test drive? Someone said they had a car (don't know which one) as a weekender. That was news to me, I have never heard of a weekend test drive.

If I had done that with my car I would not have bought it. At least try another one over various surfaces at low speeds, accelerating quickly into turns, on hills, etc. before you take the plunge.

I think it is a good idea as well to check to see that the car goes easily into reverse and stays there instead of feeling like it is in neutral.
PPXYZ,

I have read all your posts and I got such a pit in my stomach when I did!! That's why at times I truly think I'm crazy for wanting this vehicle! I did learn sooo much though from reading multiple forums so I feel like I know what I need to be watching for. I planned on driving it up and down hills, making several left turns, and accelerating onto the freeway and of course, stopping to see if it jumps forward along with backing it up! The dealer I am working with knows of all my concerns so maybe I could pull off the 48 hour test drive before I buy! It's worth a shot and would give me piece of mind. It's funny though, even the sales person at BMW won't admit to a problem with the car which pisses me off. Says he has been selling BMW's for 20 years and never heard of such a thing. I dropped a stack full of printed forum threads in his lap and told him he better start brushing up on his knowledge! Needless to say, I'm going around him to get the vehicle!! Thanks for all the great advice and sorry to hear of everything you are going through
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  #17  
Old 09-23-2009, 10:35 PM
PPXYZ PPXYZ is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Want the Thrill View Post
PPXYZ,

I have read all your posts and I got such a pit in my stomach when I did!! That's why at times I truly think I'm crazy for wanting this vehicle! I did learn sooo much though from reading multiple forums so I feel like I know what I need to be watching for. I planned on driving it up and down hills, making several left turns, and accelerating onto the freeway and of course, stopping to see if it jumps forward along with backing it up! The dealer I am working with knows of all my concerns so maybe I could pull off the 48 hour test drive before I buy! It's worth a shot and would give me piece of mind. It's funny though, even the sales person at BMW won't admit to a problem with the car which pisses me off. Says he has been selling BMW's for 20 years and never heard of such a thing. I dropped a stack full of printed forum threads in his lap and told him he better start brushing up on his knowledge! Needless to say, I'm going around him to get the vehicle!! Thanks for all the great advice and sorry to hear of everything you are going through
FYI, both sales and service knew about the X3 problems when I brought it in the first time. They knew about the s/w upgrades and found out that mine had the latest. No question, they know about it. How could they not as they get SIBs on it which they need to read.

No one was surprised. I don't blame the dealer as they put lots of miles on my car trying to figure out if something was amiss. At the very least, they need to be able to tell you if your car has the latest s/w upgrade.

You also might try driving a 3-series sedan to get a feel for the BMW ride. The X3 is not a truck, it's a crossover built on a 3-series sedan so it should have a better ride than an SUV. I still think something is wrong with the suspension in addition to something being up with the quirky transmission but all of these things are intermittent which makes it a doozie to try and show people.

I would also test out opening the tailgate latch - odd on mine - and make sure the pano roof goes through all of its paces without a problem. I actually think that is an amazing thing and hope it has good reliability. I wish there was an emoticon for keeping fingers crossed and hoping the science experiment that is the X3 keeps it together.
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  #18  
Old 09-24-2009, 12:39 AM
Saberwalk Saberwalk is offline
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Coming from a 2006 330XI, I can certainly attest that the X-3 is different. Does not mean the 3 is better, when you consider that you are going from a low-slung sedan to a high up SUV.

My wife had a Subaru Outback with the six a while back and that to me is a better comparison. Having driven both, here is how I see it:
Cargo and interior space-X3
Acceleration-X3
Braking-X3 (my biggest complaint about the Subie)
Handling-X3 edges out
Price-Subaru, but not by much when you do the LL Bean edition.
Size-Subaru, but the Park Distance Control makes up for it.

I won't admit that there aren't days when I wish I still had the 330, but its isn't often. I have an 08 with an automatic that I bought with 8,600 miles in April. I have since put on an additional 8,000 miles and not transmission issues. I have not had a single major issue with the car. Transmission is working great (have no idea whether I have the latest upgrade or not, and frankly do not want to ask).

As for the ride, my 330 had the sports package as does my wife's one series, so we really don't have an issue with harshness. Try riding on the first generation run-flats, then ride the X3. The X3 is a bit harsh on certain surfaces, but we have not experienced any of the swaying or bouncing reported elsewhere. I find that the suspension quickly gets back in place and both my wife and I love the road feel.

My only issues with the X-3 are the electronics. Not problems, but only that having gotten used to the new 3 series gadgets, and I often find myself wishing that the X-3 had some of the features.

As everyone here has said, perform your due diligence. The transmission issues certainly gave me pause, but I really love this vehicle.

Last edited by Saberwalk; 09-24-2009 at 12:42 AM.
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  #19  
Old 09-24-2009, 03:54 AM
ubermax ubermax is offline
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we have an '08 MT and would buy it again - power,styling,cargo, & snow - New England !! - this forum steered me away from AT - but then again we both drove manual Jettas for years & so the transition was easy - but I also think learning to drive a stick can be easy - both my wife & daughter love driving a manual - and with hill assist it's even easier - a hassle in traffic but still no biggy - give it some thought but also know that many of the ATs are fine also - good luck and have fun !!
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  #20  
Old 09-24-2009, 05:40 AM
cubed cubed is offline
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My advice is to get a MT vehicle and stop worrying. Opt for a non-sport suspension vehicle and youre doubly safe. This is the vehicle I drive and it is the perfect combo of ride height, firmness, compliance and fun! Best 6sp I`ve ever driven and awesome in snow -- first week I had mine was pummeled with 10inches of snow and it was great with the stock pirellis.

Question for the forum -- when did the X3 become a cross-over? To me its a small suv, no? -- the toyota venza (or whatever that silly word is) now thats a crossover. Maybe the EX35 -- like a raised station wagon. But we drive a small suv.
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  #21  
Old 09-24-2009, 06:24 AM
kenza kenza is offline
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I have an 07 MT and definitely would buy it again. I enjoy it every time I drive it and sometimes I drive just because I enjoy it soooo much (although I could walk)
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  #22  
Old 09-24-2009, 06:38 AM
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X3-terrestrial X3-terrestrial is offline
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Originally Posted by cubed View Post
-- when did the X3 become a cross-over? To me its a small suv, no? -- the toyota venza (or whatever that silly word is) now thats a crossover. Maybe the EX35 -- like a raised station wagon. But we drive a small suv.

Yes. Or SAV how they like to call it. But not a crossover at all. Maybe the X6 looks more like a crossover. And an ugly one.
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  #23  
Old 09-24-2009, 07:53 AM
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Evlengr Evlengr is offline
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Clarity

I have owned an 07 AT and now drive an 08 MT. My AT had severe problems (you can read the sticky above for details).

Here is what I consider a good methodology to check for AT issues:


  • Find out when the last firmware (SIB) update has been done to the ECU/DME.
  • This is important as X3's AT are in adaptive (learning mode) for the first 300-500 miles after one is done, and will not show any bad behavior, but will revert back (if not done properly) after this time.
  • The problem is usually exhibited between 3-2 or 2-3 shifts.
  • So slowing down to almost a complete stop and then accelerating (such as entering a traffic or calming circle) will illicit the behavior.
  • It is also particularly noticeable when making a slow right hand turn uphill.
  • Or in cold weather starts
  • The behavior is that the X3 will hesitate or lurch trying to find the right gear.
  • Try the SD mode if it down shifts like a tank you'll know.
  • Finally, any dealer worth his salt will let you test drive over an extended period of 24 hours or more.
  • And last but not least---spend the $100 or so and have an ASE certfied BMW mechanic check it out. Due diligence is always smart.
  • Don't let anyone (especially a salesperson) tell you otherwise as there is plenty of documentation to show this is not an isolated incident.

Hope that gives some clarity.

I too like the thrill of the ride and that is why I stuck with the X3.

I can't think of a better handling vehicle under varied climates and situations.

Good Luck,

EE
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  #24  
Old 09-24-2009, 08:07 AM
UncleJ UncleJ is offline
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I always considered a "crossover" to be a ute that was built on a car platform, not a truck frame. I suppose using that criteria Jeep GC and the GM Acadia-like offerings would also be "crossovers" while the Yukons et al would not. In my mind the X3 is a "cute ute" and is in there with the Tiguan, Q5, EX35, MLK, XC60, Terrain, RX, and others of that ilk. Personally I would look at a lot of others before committing to a post '07 X3. The XC60 seems to be a superb car, as does the Q5. Both would be high on my list. I have no interest at all in another X3.
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  #25  
Old 09-24-2009, 09:51 AM
Want the Thrill Want the Thrill is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evlengr View Post
I have owned an 07 AT and now drive an 08 MT. My AT had severe problems (you can read the sticky above for details).

Here is what I consider a good methodology to check for AT issues:


  • Find out when the last firmware (SIB) update has been done to the ECU/DME.
  • This is important as X3's AT are in adaptive (learning mode) for the first 300-500 miles after one is done, and will not show any bad behavior, but will revert back (if not done properly) after this time.
  • The problem is usually exhibited between 3-2 or 2-3 shifts.
  • So slowing down to almost a complete stop and then accelerating (such as entering a traffic or calming circle) will illicit the behavior.
  • It is also particularly noticeable when making a slow right hand turn uphill.
  • Or in cold weather starts
  • The behavior is that the X3 will hesitate or lurch trying to find the right gear.
  • Try the SD mode if it down shifts like a tank you'll know.
  • Finally, any dealer worth his salt will let you test drive over an extended period of 24 hours or more.
  • And last but not least---spend the $100 or so and have an ASE certfied BMW mechanic check it out. Due diligence is always smart.
  • Don't let anyone (especially a salesperson) tell you otherwise as there is plenty of documentation to show this is not an isolated incident.

Hope that gives some clarity.

I too like the thrill of the ride and that is why I stuck with the X3.

I can't think of a better handling vehicle under varied climates and situations.

Good Luck,

EE
Thanks for all the great advice!! I plan on doing EVERYTHING I have read to make sure I plan on NOT getting a lemon!! I wish a MT were an option, but hubby put his foot down when it came to that. He might be driving it 5 years down the road and doesn't want to deal with it since he drives in a lot of stop & go traffic.

Last edited by Want the Thrill; 09-24-2009 at 10:07 AM.
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