Welcome to Bimmerfest -- The #1 Online Community for BMW related information! Please enjoy the discussion forums below and share your experiences with the 200,000 current, new and past BMW owners. The forums are broken out by car model and into other special interest sections such as BMW European Delivery and a special forum to voice your questions to the many BMW dealers on the site to assist our members!

Please follow the links below to help get you started!

Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > X Series > X3 E83 (2004 - 2010)

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

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 11-02-2011, 01:03 PM
jtrane25 jtrane25 is offline
Registered User
Location: Oshkosh, WI
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 17
Mein Auto: E39 540i
Best Model Year for X3

Hey Guys,

E39 owner here looking to upgrade to an E83 X3. From what I've researched it appears the Sport Suspension, Moonroof leak and transmission issues from 07-08 are the big issues at hand to consider when purchasing an E83.

My questions is, and maybe this has already been answered somewhere (if so I apologize in advance or will gladly accept my beating) what is the popular opinion of the best model year for the E83?

Budget is $15-22k. I'm willing to purchase a higher mileage vehicel from a specific model year if the quality suggests it would be worth it. Most of the vehicles I've looked at in my price range would be 05-06 model years with anywhere between 40-80k miles. Are there any specific reasons these model years shouldn't be considered?

My E39 has 235k miles on it and still runs/shifts like a champ. Does anyone have a higher mileage E83 that they could comment on long term issues? If so, what is your favorite model year you might recommend?

I appreciate the help this forum provides and anxiously await your response!

Kind Regards,
E39 in WI
Reply With Quote
Ads by Google
  #2  
Old 11-02-2011, 02:57 PM
timfitz63's Avatar
timfitz63 timfitz63 is offline
MT = Doppler Shifting
Location: Lorena & San Antonio, TX
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 860
Mein Auto: 2007 X3 (MT)
Looks like you've done quite a bit of independent research already! But choosing the best 'target' model year for your purchase will largely depend on what you're aiming to drive...

The Sport Suspension is really only a consideration from a ride quality standpoint; and if memory serves me correctly, it really only applies to the LCI (2007 and later) models, as the standard suspension on the pre-LCI models is what became the LCI Sport Suspension, and the LCI base suspension was 'softened' up a bit. Someone back me up (or correct me) on that...

Bottom line is test drive the vehicle over the roughest road conditions you can find; if you like a firm (some would say jarring) ride, but want the best handling characteristics available on the X3, the Sport Suspension is the way to go; if not, look for the softer-riding base model LCI.

On the topic of suspension, there have been several reports on the forum of the suspension spring pig-tails breaking off, so that's something you'll probably want to inspect during your pre-buy. I think this has mainly been seen on the pre-LCI models...

Leaky panorama roofs are a concern, but if you keep the gutters and drain lines clear of debris, you shouldn't have a problem. Same goes for the receptacle for the cabin air filter (under the hood, at the base of the windscreen). On the topic of leaks that lead to water intrusion: incorrectly re-installed vapor barriers inside the doors, if any work has been done in that area, can lead to problems as well. You'll want to review the maintenance history for such repairs.

What is, perhaps, of greater concern is potential failures in the panorama roof mechanism (referred to as a 'cassette' by BMW). These are costly repairs, and again, seem more prone to occurring in pre-LCI vehicles (perhaps because of age and the fact that the failing components are mainly plastic...?).

The transmission concerns, as you noted, apply only to the LCI automatics (and by no means does purchasing a 2007 or later X3 with an automatic guarantee that you'll have a temperamental transmission -- again, a review of the maintenance history for software upgrades is a good idea); pre-LCI vehicles had a different automatic transmission, and all the manual transmissions are fine.

One other matter worthy of consideration is engine horsepower/torque. As part of the LCI upgrage, engine output was increased to 260 Hp/225 lb-ft.

Now, your price range is probably going to restrict your model-year choices to 2004-2007. Relatively speaking, mileage shouldn't be a deal-breaker, provided that the vehicle has been properly maintained.

So, if you want my take on these factors:
  • If you want to drive a trouble-free automatic with a sporty suspension, and maximum horsepower is not that important, I'd opt for a 2006. You probably get the best of all worlds there (and 225 Hp/214 lb-ft will still get you where you're going in reasonably rapid fashion...).
  • If you absolutely want a softer ride, your only choice may be a base 2007 -- and if you want an automatic as well, you'll have to really scrutinize how the transmission behaves.
  • If you want a manual transmission with a sporty suspension (like me ), you can go with either the 2006 or 2007 (with Sport Package/Suspension), depending on how much horsepower you want to feed. But be prepared for a lengthy search; sorry to say that X3's equipped with a manual transmission are somewhat difficult to find -- and will likely require you to travel quite a distance to obtain one that is available...
Good luck!
__________________

X3 w/6-speed & Sport Package:
A sports sedan disguised as an SUV...
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 11-02-2011, 04:19 PM
UberXY UberXY is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Virginia
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 125
Mein Auto: 00 M5
I like the transmission in my '05 and the engine in my '08.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 11-02-2011, 06:09 PM
fhopper's Avatar
fhopper fhopper is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Wichita, KS
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 128
Mein Auto: '04 X3 3.0i
I have an '04 auto. Of course I have read all of the critiques of the suspension and feel like a criteria was missed in those evaluations; cabin load. My car usually is carrying well over 500 pounds in the cabin and I love the suspension.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 11-02-2011, 06:59 PM
fivepointnine fivepointnine is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Olympia, Wa
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 345
Mein Auto: BMW X3, Mercedes CLK500
I would say an 06......still find them low mileage for your price range
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 11-02-2011, 08:08 PM
AzNMpower32's Avatar
AzNMpower32 AzNMpower32 is offline
Tar Heel Faithful
Location: WNC
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 13,982
Send a message via AIM to AzNMpower32
Mein Auto: 2014 Mazda3 GT
The "best" years IMO are the 2005-2006, with the 2004 also a strong choice aside from some minor foibles. The LCI has a decent engine and better fuel consumption but somehow has its share of hiccups, plus there's no dipstick and the oil level reading is idiotic in the old-style Board Computer.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 11-03-2011, 06:49 AM
timfitz63's Avatar
timfitz63 timfitz63 is offline
MT = Doppler Shifting
Location: Lorena & San Antonio, TX
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 860
Mein Auto: 2007 X3 (MT)
Quote:
Originally Posted by AzNMpower32 View Post
... The LCI has ... no dipstick and the oil level reading is idiotic in the old-style Board Computer.
Yeah, I'm going to agree with that: I've only owned my X3 for a little over a year, and already had a few legitimate occasions (flaky oil level sensor behavior) when I was cussing out BMW because they didn't give me an oil dipstick...
__________________

X3 w/6-speed & Sport Package:
A sports sedan disguised as an SUV...
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 11-03-2011, 06:55 AM
fhopper's Avatar
fhopper fhopper is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Wichita, KS
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 128
Mein Auto: '04 X3 3.0i
Quote:
Originally Posted by AzNMpower32 View Post
The "best" years IMO are the 2005-2006, with the 2004 also a strong choice aside from some minor foibles.
I am still learning about my '04 any details would be appreciated. I found the lack of Homelink and compass to be outrageous but thanks to this forum that is now rectified. Another advantage to older cars is the odds that things have already been fixed. The Volvo dealer I bought my car from replaced the roof cartridge, and did the 60k service which included software updates.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 11-03-2011, 07:42 AM
UncleJ UncleJ is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Silicon Valley
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 6,532
Mein Auto: '06 X3
All great advice. I would only add that the '06 is the third year of the series and the last before the new engine and transmission came in. Hence, the "bugs" were pretty well sorted out and they can be pretty solid vehicles. I am approaching 75K miles on my '06 bought new and had virtually no problems for the first 60K miles, then two in a row costing about $1200. To be fair, some service was included as well as repair. As long as you recognize that BMWs are expensive to repair and budget accordingly you should be fine. Tim, the first poster, listed all the problem areas that I would have. I strongly advise taking the car you are interested in for a long test drive over rough and broken pavement to see if you (and your wife) can handle the horrible ride. If so, then you are golden. If she complains -- stand by for a never ending litany of complaint. One final thought, I have driven a number of later X3's and to be truthful I find them slower off the line than my '06 and aside from that don't see much if any "kick" from the added power.

Last edited by UncleJ; 11-03-2011 at 07:46 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 11-03-2011, 08:45 AM
mlukas161's Avatar
mlukas161 mlukas161 is online now
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: WNY
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 934
Mein Auto: 03 330i, 04 X3
I would add a few more things to look for that may be desirable

1.) 3.0i engine is preferred to the 2.5i by most. The 2.5i is still a great engine, but the 3.0 has that extra power thats nice to have available, expecially with any auto transmission.

2.) I wish my 2004 had Xenon lights.

3.) Some people don't like the black colored bumpers and wheel well trim. I don't mind it, although I do think the color matched bumpers look a lot nicer...

Prepare to spend some money around 100,000 miles.
The thrust arm bushings ( same as on an e39 ) will eventually get tired. approx 500
Suspension as a whole may need refreshing: approx 1000 for struts and springs
All 4 oxygen sensors may need replacing soon: approx 400-600 if you DIY
Cooling system may want replacing: approx 400

We do love our 2004 X3. Just turned 124,000 miles. Still get approx 21 mpg in mixed driving conditions. We have a 9 month old daughter and I'm glad this is the vehicle she rides in. Very confident driving this in the winter with snow tires on.
( not sure why the words "snow tires" link you to tirerack... )
These vehicles share a lot with the e46 3 series of the same years.
There are a ton of DIY write ups for the 3 series that can be used for the X3 as well.
__________________

Last edited by mlukas161; 11-03-2011 at 11:38 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 11-03-2011, 12:14 PM
jtrane25 jtrane25 is offline
Registered User
Location: Oshkosh, WI
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 17
Mein Auto: E39 540i
WOW. Thanks for all the great feedback guys. This is exactly the type of input I was looking for.

Popular opinion (and my budget) have helped me narrow it down to an '06 3.0L AT. I plan on owning this vehicle for the next 7-8 years and putting on another 100-125k so long term maintenance is important. I was specifically curious to see if thrust arms, suspension and cooling system issues require the same level of attention as they do with the E39. There are a number of great writeups for the E39 on the DIY bushing replacements with great debate concerning OEM or Powerflux.

Overall, this vehicle seems to have won over a number of you guys for being the happy medium between performance and family which is exactly what I'm looking for. It may be a few months but once I track down the right vehicle down I'm looking forward to joining the club!



Thanks Again!
E39 (soon to be E83) in WI
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 11-04-2011, 08:02 AM
fivepointnine fivepointnine is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Olympia, Wa
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 345
Mein Auto: BMW X3, Mercedes CLK500
the 2004 did not really have any bugs to begin with since most of the parts were pulled straight from the E46, which by then already had a couple years on them, only exception is the X-drive and body, which has proven to not really be an issue
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 11-04-2011, 08:04 AM
fivepointnine fivepointnine is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Olympia, Wa
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 345
Mein Auto: BMW X3, Mercedes CLK500
Quote:
Originally Posted by jtrane25 View Post
WOW. Thanks for all the great feedback guys. This is exactly the type of input I was looking for.

Popular opinion (and my budget) have helped me narrow it down to an '06 3.0L AT. I plan on owning this vehicle for the next 7-8 years and putting on another 100-125k so long term maintenance is important. I was specifically curious to see if thrust arms, suspension and cooling system issues require the same level of attention as they do with the E39. There are a number of great writeups for the E39 on the DIY bushing replacements with great debate concerning OEM or Powerflux.

Overall, this vehicle seems to have won over a number of you guys for being the happy medium between performance and family which is exactly what I'm looking for. It may be a few months but once I track down the right vehicle down I'm looking forward to joining the club!



Thanks Again!
E39 (soon to be E83) in WI
cooling systems and suspension seem to be holding up much better than the cars.....still recommened to do a waterpump/thermostat before 100k miles though.....my 04 has 68k miles on it and the suspension feels as tight as a new cars
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 11-04-2011, 11:27 AM
X3-terrestrial's Avatar
X3-terrestrial X3-terrestrial is offline
Aficionado
Location: N.Miss - Memphis,TN Area
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,630
Mein Auto: '05 X3, '95 M3, '89 MkI
I have a 2005 with 104,000 miles now, got it in 8/2008 with 41k, and it has been a joy to own and drive. Virtually problem free car. Done all of the maint myself since ran out of warranty. I think the only "repair" I've had to do is the driving dog for one of the rear windows and that's it. It still drives like the first day, really impressed on how these cars hold their driving characteristics.

Maintenance-wise, I've done brakes (once), serpentine belt, differentials and transfer case fluid at 95k. Everything else still original. Preparing my wallet for AT fluid, O2 sensors, and spark plugs maybe in a couple of months....

To me the 2006 is the winner among all years, upgraded exterior and retained the good tranny and awesome M54 engine (and sound...)
__________________
"If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough"
-Mario Andretti.

___________________
River City Bimmers BMW CCA
2005 X3 3.0i ZPP, Htd seats, Htd strng, Black Sapphire on Terracotta.
1995 ///M3 Coupe, Lux, MT, Htd seats, Cosmos Black on Black.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 11-04-2011, 12:29 PM
madurodave's Avatar
madurodave madurodave is offline
BMW Enthusiast!
Location: NH
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 5,574
Mein Auto: 2007 Z4+X3, 2006 530Xi
I have a 2007 X3 AT with almost 104000 miles. Mostly issue free, although I just replaced thrust arm bushings due to a cracked and leaking seal ($600) and had VANOS seals replaced under CPO warranty at just under 100000 miles.

Just replaced AT fluid and filter myself, replaced diff, transfer case and power steering fluids myself, will change spark plugs this weekend.

Very reliable, fast and fuel efficient. 24 mpg since Day 1.
__________________
Madurodave

My garage: 2007 BMW Z4 3.0si Manual, 2007 BMW X3, 2006 BMW 530xi

Retired: 1998 BMW Z3

Member of BMWCCA!
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 11-04-2011, 01:46 PM
AzNMpower32's Avatar
AzNMpower32 AzNMpower32 is offline
Tar Heel Faithful
Location: WNC
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 13,982
Send a message via AIM to AzNMpower32
Mein Auto: 2014 Mazda3 GT
I might be the only one here that dislikes the US-spec coloured bumpers on the 2006? It's a half-assed M sportpaket (the sport package got the full treatment) that just doesn't look right to me.
__________________
Current ě consumption: 2014 Mazda3 GT
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 11-06-2011, 08:33 AM
alpinweiss alpinweiss is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Nuevo MÚxico
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 1,523
Mein Auto: E46, E83, E90 (all MT)
Quote:
Originally Posted by AzNMpower32 View Post
I might be the only one here that dislikes the US-spec coloured bumpers on the 2006? It's a half-assed M sportpaket (the sport package got the full treatment) that just doesn't look right to me.
My X3 (2004 model) has the flat gray bumpers and trim. I really like the color combination, but most people seem to prefer the painted bumpers.

To the OP:
I bought my X3 lightly used several years ago. Mine came equipped with the 6-speed manual transmission, no sunroof, the M54 engine, and the base suspension. I have had very few problems, but I am very meticulous on the maintenance.

My recommendation? Try to get a nice X3, with as few options as possible. Good maintenance really adds to the value.

__________________
Alpinwei▀
E46, E83, E90 (all with three pedals)
BMW CCA member
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 11-06-2011, 09:56 PM
Evlengr's Avatar
Evlengr Evlengr is offline
Ukemi - that's how I roll
Location: MD
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 4,252
Mein Auto: 2013 Audi S4 2010 MT MCS
I am going to go with the 06 and 09.

06 as just about all the goofy bugs of that production where worked out.

09 for the exact same reasons.

The 09 will add power, options, different ride. 06 is great vehicle if you can find one with low miles.
__________________
2013 S4 Loaded (and NO RFT's) Awesome is an understatement
2008 MT X3 RIP you were a faithful sidekick and will be missed.
2007 AT X3 RIPOS
2005 GC
2000 Jeep Cherokee
1997 Twin Turbo RX-7
1984 GTI Wolfsburg Edition Neuspeed and more
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks


Forum Navigation
Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > X Series > X3 E83 (2004 - 2010)
Today's Posts Search
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On



Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 07:52 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
© 2001-2011 performanceIX, Inc. All Rights Reserved .: guidelines .:. privacy .:. terms