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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 12-29-2010, 04:07 PM
jliu34740 jliu34740 is offline
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My x28i test drive impression

Just checked out the new F25 x28i at my local dealership. This one is black with lots of options: Premium, Cold weather, convenience and technology (GPS) but no sport (?), Sticker lists MSRP 48K. gas milage at 19/25.

Coming from a 2005 X3 and currently running a 2008 328xi sportwagen (e91), here are my impressions. These are highly subjective so please draw your own conclusions.

Pro:
1. Spacious: this car feels very roomy inside. I am 5' 11". With driver seat fully backed up, I can sit behind without my knees touching the seatback. Truck space is very big and shaped well. Lots of headroom even with sunroof option. Plenty of room for 4-5 adults.

2. excellent visibility: With a lower beltline, thin A pillar and lots of glass areas, forward and side visibilities are excellent. Rear vibility is a bit low due to narrow rear window, but i don't think it's a big deal.

3. Power: x28i does not feel underpowered. In DS mode it is quite quick IMHO.

4. MPG: With a short drive (less than 5 miles), I was getting 24 mpg on the high way with several passing attempts so I think listed MPG rating can be achieved without too much problem.

5. ride quality is pretty good. Low road noice, very quite, soaking up most pot holes and bumps with minimum fuss.

6. Braking is very good.

Con:
1. Steering is very light, loose comparing to my 328i or even the old X3. There is way too much boost. Very easy to oversteer. Feels woobly.

2. Handling: feels like car leans too much when cornering. This may have to do with lack of sport package (sport seats with more side bolstering). With sport seats this may be more tolerable but as it is this is no "sport" activity vehicle.

3. Driving position is way too high and I couldn't adjust it to where I would feel comfortably in control. The arm rest is too low. Feels like I have no place to rest my elbow,

4. Exterior shape and size: Some say this is the size of old X5. I don't think so. When sitting next to a 3 series, F25 looks more like the old cute X3 than an old X5.

Summary
I think this car is improved from previous generation. Has better power/fuel efficiency/ride quality/interior room/technology, but the handling and steering attributes have regressed. The look is not as good as Q5. Sizewise is still a bit on the smaller side. I am seriously reconsidering if I should get this. Maybe I am better off staying with 3 series wagon or just go up to an X5.

Here are some pictures from my test drive. Hope you enjoy the write up. Comments welcome.
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  #2  
Old 12-29-2010, 05:06 PM
SabianX3 SabianX3 is offline
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Thanks for the pics and review. I was planning on going over there to test drive that same car sometime this week, but haven't had a chance yet. Did you happen to ask about pricing? They giving you the full MSRP story like in Bellevue?
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  #3  
Old 12-29-2010, 05:09 PM
jliu34740 jliu34740 is offline
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I didn't like the car enough to ask.
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  #4  
Old 12-29-2010, 05:27 PM
06BMWX3 06BMWX3 is offline
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Dix you test drive the Q5? If so, how did you like it compared to the F25?
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  #5  
Old 12-29-2010, 05:49 PM
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AzNMpower32 AzNMpower32 is offline
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Some of the points mentioned by the OP mirror my test drive experience. Overall, the new X3 isn't bad but just isn't likable. Lukewarm would probably be an optimistic adjective; if I had the money, I wouldn't buy one.
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  #6  
Old 12-29-2010, 06:42 PM
SabianX3 SabianX3 is offline
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Just curious, for those who don't like the new X3, what SUV would you get instead?
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  #7  
Old 12-29-2010, 07:06 PM
jliu34740 jliu34740 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 06BMWX3 View Post
Dix you test drive the Q5? If so, how did you like it compared to the F25?
yes I did test drive a Q5 2.0t and a 3.2. From pricing perspective, 2.0t is more comparable to 28i. I think 28i engine beats 2.0t in terms of smooth power delivery. Q5 is better looking (subjective) and has more fancy interior. Space wise 28i beats Q5 hands down. Basicallyt 2.0t is cheaper and better looking. 28i has more power, better brakes, more space inside. Both has poor steering feel. 28i (subjectively) has a more business like dash board ( i don't like the way Q5 gauges are laid out)
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  #8  
Old 12-29-2010, 07:25 PM
jliu34740 jliu34740 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AzNMpower32 View Post
Some of the points mentioned by the OP mirror my test drive experience. Overall, the new X3 isn't bad but just isn't likable. Lukewarm would probably be an optimistic adjective; if I had the money, I wouldn't buy one.
Another way to describe the test drive is like driving a car with BMW designed engine and Lexus designed steering and suspension. I need to test it again with sport package to see if it makes any difference
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  #9  
Old 12-29-2010, 07:44 PM
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AzNMpower32 AzNMpower32 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jliu34740 View Post
Another way to describe the test drive is like driving a car with BMW designed engine and Lexus designed steering and suspension. I need to test it again with sport package to see if it makes any difference
I'm disappointed but not surprised that BMW does not offer the normal sport suspension (SA 226) in North American X3s because I honestly believe the EDC is needlessly complicated and will still fail to satisfy.

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...34&postcount=7

Last edited by AzNMpower32; 12-29-2010 at 07:46 PM.
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  #10  
Old 12-30-2010, 11:52 AM
bimmerfan3 bimmerfan3 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SabianX3 View Post
Just curious, for those who don't like the new X3, what SUV would you get instead?
I would probably get the Q5. That car looks great! If it was between the X3 28i and the Q5 2.0T, I would probably get the Q5 2.0T. If it was between the Q5 3.2 and the X3 35i, that would be a hard one. The Q5 3.2 is slower and gets worse gas mileage than the X3 35i.
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  #11  
Old 12-30-2010, 01:49 PM
SabianX3 SabianX3 is offline
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Originally Posted by bimmerfan3 View Post
... If it was between the Q5 3.2 and the X3 35i, that would be a hard one. The Q5 3.2 is slower and gets worse gas mileage than the X3 35i.
Yeah, that's where I'm at. 35i or Q5, slightly leaning toward the 35i... I'm all about being greener and getting better gas mileage... but there's really nothing screaming out about the new X3 to make my decision any easier... that and the newness of it, without much user/owner feedback yet, I haven't been confident enough about going out and ordering one, especially when you hear all the great things about the Q5.
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Old 12-30-2010, 01:53 PM
SabianX3 SabianX3 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jliu34740 View Post
Another way to describe the test drive is like driving a car with BMW designed engine and Lexus designed steering and suspension. I need to test it again with sport package to see if it makes any difference
If you haven't already and it's not too far, you should test drive the 35i they have in Bellevue. It's pretty loaded and has the Dynamic Handling and Sports Package.
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  #13  
Old 12-30-2010, 02:53 PM
Cactus Cactus is offline
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I had all but decided on the X3 2.8 until the fuel mileage figures came out lower than the 3.5. I will now go with a 3.5 (with less options to keep my cost down).

It's all about the environment!
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  #14  
Old 12-30-2010, 04:46 PM
JTreehorn JTreehorn is offline
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I also just pulled the trigger on a 35i, we drove both Audi's and the 2.0T multiple times for long test drives. I think a lot of folks would be happy with either car. For me the X3 was just more involved, seemed lighter on it's feet and I actually like the fact that it's a brand new model and I can enjoy it without a mid cycle refresh coming that much sooner....I know that's a bit nutty.

In the end we really had to nit pick between the two but I am very comfortable in my decision even though I spent a few thousand more.

Good Luck
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  #15  
Old 12-30-2010, 05:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AzNMpower32 View Post
I'm disappointed but not surprised that BMW does not offer the normal sport suspension (SA 226) in North American X3s because I honestly believe the EDC is needlessly complicated and will still fail to satisfy.

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...34&postcount=7

On BMW USA, they feature the 1400$ Dynamic Handling package separately from the 1250$ Sport Activity package. It includes

- Performance Control
- Dynamic Damper Control - interesting
- Variable sport steering - interesting

I would think that this DHP would be the equivalent.
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  #16  
Old 12-30-2010, 08:01 PM
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raleedy raleedy is offline
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I think BMW have given up on sport suspension for our third-world road conditions in the US. Too many bent wheels and broken suspension components. We get the electronic version instead. It's not a happy development, but it makes sense.

Last edited by raleedy; 12-30-2010 at 08:02 PM.
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  #17  
Old 12-30-2010, 08:33 PM
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AzNMpower32 AzNMpower32 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raleedy View Post
I think BMW have given up on sport suspension for our third-world road conditions in the US. Too many bent wheels and broken suspension components. We get the electronic version instead. It's not a happy development, but it makes sense.
I think there were just too many complaints about a non-variable suspension- look at the 3er forum. Littered with complaints about the ride from folks who have ZSP in the Northeast.

Would it be so hard for BMW NA to offer a choice? Kind of like, make EDC the default Dynamic Handling Packet choice, and sport suspension a no-cost option.

BMW does the exact same thing with the E70. They make the Sport Activity Paket equivalent to the German Sportpaket and then delete the sport suspension that would otherwise be included.
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  #18  
Old 12-31-2010, 05:23 AM
06BMWX3 06BMWX3 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jliu34740 View Post
yes I did test drive a Q5 2.0t and a 3.2. From pricing perspective, 2.0t is more comparable to 28i. I think 28i engine beats 2.0t in terms of smooth power delivery. Q5 is better looking (subjective) and has more fancy interior. Space wise 28i beats Q5 hands down. Basicallyt 2.0t is cheaper and better looking. 28i has more power, better brakes, more space inside. Both has poor steering feel. 28i (subjectively) has a more business like dash board ( i don't like the way Q5 gauges are laid out)
Cool, thx. Yeah, the 2.0T is a no go for me, I dont want a four banger and the 3.2L is not the best engine out there, and underpower IMHO. The 3.2 is getting phased out, so maybe the 3.6L will go in the Q5 eventually

Sooo, as much as I LOVE the look on the Q5, I'll be sticking with the F25 3.0l, but since i'm not due for another year on my current X3, i'll wait for the ''M sport package/trim'' F25(whenever it's suppose to be out). I love SO much my stiff suspension on my E83, I want to make sure I get the same harsh suspension on the F25......
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Old 12-31-2010, 02:10 PM
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Based on the comments on the Q5, I would consider test driving one just for kicks. However, availability is pretty poor. The dealer in Richmond has only one (I don't care for the 3,2 V6) and Charlottesville has none in stock. The one in Virginia Beach has a handful but I'm not driving 2 hours just for fun. There's a 2.0T in Roanoke but that's also 2,5 hours away.
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Old 01-02-2011, 08:19 AM
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Zoltar Zoltar is offline
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Thank you very much for the review and pics.

I was afraid this was going to happen with some who bought the wrong vehicle complaining about the ride.
A huge benefit of the E83 was that it didn't ride like a top heavy couch like so many other SUV's.
I thought it would be ok if they softened the handling as long as we could get it back with a sport package.
But, it appears there is no proper sport package either.

Between the regression in handling with no proper sport package to get it back, no manual trans option, and Martha Stewart promo, I am sorry to say I think they lost me.
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Old 01-02-2011, 10:11 AM
iwanna330cic iwanna330cic is offline
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For the life of me, I do not understand some of these posts. I drove the 35 with the sports pkg and dynamic handling. This car is VERY different from the previous generation X3 in many ways - particularly the acceleration and handling. Soft? Leans too much in the turns? Can't get the seats right? For an SUV, even a small one, this car is extraordinary. If you don't like the car, that's fine. But drive one with the sports pkg that includes the seats with electrically adjustable side bolsters and more seating positions than the standard seats. I know your review was subjective and based on the 2.8i, But drive the 35i version with the handling package. VERY different, and far more "BMW-like".


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Old 01-02-2011, 11:39 AM
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MarcA78 MarcA78 is offline
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No offense, but you guys are completely effing wrong.

I've driven more than a few X3s in my life. Can't say that any of them ever felt "BMW like" in any respect. I've driven the new X3 35 with and without the sport package and have come to the conclusion that it beats the hell out of the previous gen in every category. Find me one review that says the F25 is a watered down X3. It simply isn't true.

I think the only way to really solve this argument will be at a track day. I'm up for it.
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Old 01-02-2011, 11:54 AM
ihumphrey ihumphrey is offline
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Wow, I am surprised a bit by the comments. I test drove a 35i with sport pack on thursday for a fairly extended test drive and liked it alot. No leaning whatsoever and very precise steering with exceptional amounts of power. The steering reminded me of my old 3 series (E90), definitely not like my F10 at all which is softer (no sport package), although I find the F10 very nice to drive as a luxury car, amazing even, the sport quotient is dialed down. I did not find this the case in the F25 at all. Perhaps the non sport versions are more akin to the the F10/F01 steering feel. BTW the car I drove did not have the dynamic handling package so I can't comment on that.
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Old 01-02-2011, 01:40 PM
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AzNMpower32 AzNMpower32 is offline
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I think the differing opinions on ride/handling/steering can be largely attributed to the different locales, routes, and driving expectations of each person reporting.

Admittedly, I do not know how bad the road pavement is in Oregon or Ohio. I don't know what kinds of roads different folks normally drive on and certainly don't know what the expectations are in terms of handling or feel. That's why I included the footnote in my review on my location.

I do mostly rural driving, either on highways or two-lane country roads. And on those country roads (signed at 55mph), I'm usually maintaining 100km/h and go around the bends at no slower than 90km/h. The pavement is really good but because they are country roads, there are undulations or wavy, off-camber sections. My expectation is that the vehicle will stay glued to the pavement no matter what without slack. The steering needs to be heavy yet tell me about the grip; I've gone around blind corners at times to see a wide pick-up, trailer, or commercial vehicle going in the opposite way over the centre line. With no shoulder at those speeds, I need precision where I can place the tires precisely where I want them, sometimes just centimetres from the edge of the pavement. Not exaggerating.





As a result, ride compliance over things like potholes or bad pavement is not really crucial because there aren't too many of those here. Counties repave most roads every few years. VDOT has neglected some interstates so truck ruts are appearing, but that's a result of poor maintenance, and I don't expect to float over those imperfections.

Cars like my 2004 X3 and my mother's 2006 325i sport are great and meet those expectations. The X5 on the other hand, is unwieldy, too slack, too big, and too soft with the standard setup. It rolls too much, the steering is too numb, just overall too squishy to be easy to drive. I drove it on an undulating backroad once and nearly got sea sick from all the motions. The new X3, at least in base form, is similarly far too soft. I'll try a DHP model if I can, but I'm not holding high hopes.

Last edited by AzNMpower32; 01-02-2011 at 01:46 PM.
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Old 01-02-2011, 03:00 PM
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Zoltar Zoltar is offline
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I am more than willing to keep an open mind until I get to test drive one.
I am just responding to early feedback.
I notice that those coming to the defense of the new X3 are referring to the 35i and this review was of a 28i.

I wouldn't be suprised if the 35i has better handling due its more performance based nature.
However, there is still the questionable resolution to the HPFP on the 35i.

It just appears they are marketing this new model a bit more upscale and less sport.
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