So I have had a chance to sit in two euro spec X3 this month (one stripped down white x28i and one black loaded x35i), here are some of my thoughts on the design of the vehicle. I used to own a 2005 X3 and currently drive a 328xi wagon.
First impression is wow, this is a "man size" SAV now. Some say it's almost the same as first gen X5. I am not sure if it's true but the back view certainly looks bigger. I would say front and back views are much better, side view is questionable. The two large creases are very polarizing. On photo I hated them, but in person they actually don't look so bad. The C and D pillars don't look very good. The back window line between C and D looks like a hurry up job, does not have the typical BMW hofmeister kink look. I think they would look back if you optioned for chrome window sill like in XLine package. I would probably go without that. The white Xenon angle eyes look really nice. The front bumper is a little busy, the tailgate looks professional. I don't like the 18" 307 and 19" wheel design, they are just too busy. I liked the 17" 306 (5 spoke) design but wish they come in 18 or 19". Run flat tires
still a poor choice. Comparing to last gen X3, exterior has improved but still doesn't look as nice as Q5.
I would say interior is vastly improved comparing to last gen X3. I really like the fact they are going back to 4 gauge setup (instead of small one inside the large ones). The gauges are of good size and layout, LCD trip computer looks nice, I noticed the bottom half the dash is one LCD and it lights up depending on features. Nice touch.
I also like the driving position and roomy backseats. The center stack is nicely done. iDrive screen is well integrated in relation to rest of dash board. Center console is wide. Cup holders are finally properly done. I would option for Sport seats and steering wheels. The stock steering wheel while nice, it a tad too thin. 8 spd automatic now is the same as other late model BMWs, i.e. like a joystick. Coming from a traditional steptronic user, I think it will take some getting used to. The availability of brush aluminum trim is great, I woudl get that with dark interior color.
Sunroof is smaller than before, but still big. Luggage area is noticeable bigger. When folded, there is a large cargo area. I think you can fit a refrigerator in there (not that I would do so).
Other random impressions:
I love the new aluminum roof rail (finally on par with Audi). White angle eye/Xenon looks awesome. The price seems to be reasonable (as long as dealers don't mandate MSRP).
of course none of this matters if driving impression does not stack up to, at least in my opinion, a good package so far.
What are your thoughts?