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

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  #1  
Old 05-14-2012, 02:08 PM
adc adc is offline
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Location: DC-MD-VA
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 4,643
Mein Auto: E90 M3
X3 gone now after 7 faithful years

We recently sold the family truckster, our X3 3.0i that we bought via Euro Delivery in 2005.

We had some wonderful memories with that car, starting with the delivery process and our trip to Prague/Vienna. Over the years it took us around the city, over the mountains, around the bends, hauled several tons worth of stuff from Home Depot, easily swallowed our kid's toys and support systems - all in safety and comfort.

I loved harassing sports cars with it, or taking it out for a spin in the middle of a big snowstorm when everybody else is huddling by the fire. I loved throwing heavy loads at it and never giving it a second thought. Throughout it all, it just came back for more. I even loved working on it and upgrading this little piece or that. The fact that it had the rare 6sp manual and razor sharp throttle response - just right for heel&toe work - only added to the feeling of driving something special - never a boring every drive, which has been BMW's usp for the longest time.

After living with some mods for so many years, here is my list of recommendations for small upgrades:
- If you're tired of the sharp bouncy ride of the Scorpion STR's, change them to Conti DWS. Yes you will lose some steering response and handling prowess, but gain a better ride quality. Something in between these tires would be ideal.
- OEM binnacle for Garmin navigation is very useful. I never got the harness, just the dash binnacle and wired in the traffic receiver that my Garmin came equipped with. Would do again without a second thought.
- Underseat first aid boxes are also useful, for both seats. The X3 is a big car with a spacious interior but oddly lacks intelligent interior storage. These are cheap, fit perfectly and work well.
- Rear side sunshades are a good alternative to the privacy glass if you have kids.
- Dice iPod interface also worked well for us, despite a few quirks.
- ZHP shift knob should also be a no-brainer for those of you with manual transmissions.
- AFE filter panel - meh. Buy it for the extra intake noise, doesn't seem to be doing anything extra.
- Aftermarket pads - Axxis Ultimates were the most aggressive, Stoptech Street performance a close second, and with better fade resistance. I never liked the stockers (too grabby, too much fade, too much dust).
- I fabricated a little ashtray coin holder using an Audi part (gasp!), can't say that I would try it again, it stretched my meager fabrication skills to the limit.

When the time came to find a replacement we looked at the 2011 328xi (wonderful lease offers), the 2012 328i, the 2012 X3 (N52), VW Golf GTI and MINI Countryman. For those of you looking at some of these options, here is my quick guide:
- 2011 328ix drives and feels like a BMW: solid, sporty, meaty steering and all of one piece. But we already have an E90, and strangely could only find 1 local car with folding seats.
- 2012 328i has an incredible engine (fast and frugal), nice appointments, and drives like an Audi. The BMW-ness has been watered down with an ocean of Buick-ness, so only a few drops remain. Wife said no thanks, big disappointment for her.
- 2012 X3 has grown up, and as a consequence is big, heavy feeling and disconnected. Wife said no thanks.
- VW GTI sounds good, looks cool and drives okay - but a bit too much like an Audi according to my wife. Dismissed on the ground of insufficient space.
- MINI Countryman S All4 was the surprise of the bunch - tight handling, excellent steering, very good space all wrapped in a tidy package. Cheap too - and despite many Mickey-Mouse interior details, our surprise winner.

I've steered the X's new owner towards this forum (and other BMW resources) so hopefully you'll "see" him here in the future. To all of you still keeping the X3 flame burning bright, happy motoring!
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adc
09 M3 Sedan ED
12 MINI Countryman S All4
93 Miata LE

Last edited by adc; 05-14-2012 at 02:14 PM.
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  #2  
Old 05-14-2012, 05:10 PM
reed75 reed75 is offline
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Location: Pennsylvania
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 50
Mein Auto: 2006 X3
Sorry to see you leave us. I'm still enjoying my 2006 x3 with the 6 speed manual trans. Only 108k on it and still going strong.

What's so special about the zhp shift knob btw?
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  #3  
Old 05-14-2012, 05:46 PM
adc adc is offline
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Location: DC-MD-VA
 
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Mein Auto: E90 M3
1 it's usefully shorter
2 it's heavier

Makes shifting even more of a joy...
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09 M3 Sedan ED
12 MINI Countryman S All4
93 Miata LE
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  #4  
Old 05-14-2012, 08:24 PM
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X3-terrestrial X3-terrestrial is offline
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Location: N.Miss - Memphis,TN Area
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,631
Mein Auto: '05 X3, '95 M3, '89 MkI
Sorry to see you leave, thanks for all the advice. Hope you enjoy the Mini as much as the X3!
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2005 X3 3.0i ZPP, Htd seats, Htd strng, Black Sapphire on Terracotta.
1995 ///M3 Coupe, Lux, MT, Htd seats, Cosmos Black on Black.
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  #5  
Old 05-14-2012, 08:38 PM
adc adc is offline
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Location: DC-MD-VA
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 4,643
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Quote:
Originally Posted by X3-terrestrial View Post
Sorry to see you leave, thanks for all the advice. Hope you enjoy the Mini as much as the X3!
Thanks for the sentiment, I'll stick around the BMW forums as long as I own at least one.

The Mini has some pros and cons - it's not nearly as refined as the X3, especially the engine. But it's easily as fast, more nimble, and better on the gas - all for the better for commuting in DC. I positively hate that huge speedo and the positioning of the secondary controls, so I guess nothing is free...
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09 M3 Sedan ED
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  #6  
Old 05-14-2012, 09:16 PM
reed75 reed75 is offline
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Location: Pennsylvania
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 50
Mein Auto: 2006 X3
So after looking for a new shorter heavier shifter (I'm intrigued) all I'm finding are the M series shifters. My car doesn't have the M series package. Will this knob fit and do they make the shorter version in a non M series version? I've seen a few different part numbers but have no idea which is correct. Does anybody know?
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  #7  
Old 05-14-2012, 09:28 PM
adc adc is offline
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Location: DC-MD-VA
 
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Mein Auto: E90 M3
Quote:
Originally Posted by reed75 View Post
So after looking for a new shorter heavier shifter (I'm intrigued) all I'm finding are the M series shifters. My car doesn't have the M series package. Will this knob fit and do they make the shorter version in a non M series version? I've seen a few different part numbers but have no idea which is correct. Does anybody know?
I mean this one: http://www.trademotion.com/partlocat...catalogid=4462

Good value as shifters go, by far the best shift knob BMW has ever produced. It was the standard knob in the E46 330i perf package (ZHP). And it will fit most BMW manual transmissions, certainly perfect fit for the X3.
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09 M3 Sedan ED
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93 Miata LE
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  #8  
Old 05-14-2012, 11:28 PM
spokelizard spokelizard is offline
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Location: SF Bay Area
 
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Posts: 759
Mein Auto: 2007 X3 MT
Quote:
Originally Posted by adc View Post
I mean this one: http://www.trademotion.com/partlocat...catalogid=4462

Good value as shifters go, by far the best shift knob BMW has ever produced. It was the standard knob in the E46 330i perf package (ZHP). And it will fit most BMW manual transmissions, certainly perfect fit for the X3.
Interesting! So if I understand right, that's just switching the knob, it's not really a short shift kit, correct?

Any tricks to removing the old and installing the new?
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  #9  
Old 05-15-2012, 06:59 AM
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X3-terrestrial X3-terrestrial is offline
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Location: N.Miss - Memphis,TN Area
 
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Mein Auto: '05 X3, '95 M3, '89 MkI
Quote:
Originally Posted by spokelizard View Post
Interesting! So if I understand right, that's just switching the knob, it's not really a short shift kit, correct?

Any tricks to removing the old and installing the new?
Correct, it's just the shift knob, it's shorter and heavier than the stock. I've heard it's really easy to replace, just some elbow grease to pull the old one out. It's on my list of "stuff to get" for the M3.
__________________
"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.
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  #10  
Old 05-15-2012, 07:42 AM
Wongway Wongway is offline
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Location: Pittsburgh
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 402
Mein Auto: BMW X3
I'm looking at a Countryman myself!

A couple of heads up for you that's I noticed in their forums...
Water/meth injector to avoid buildup.
Don't trust MINI's maintenance schedule. Most people would only allow their oil change intervals to be between 7k-9k max
Up to some early 2012 builds, a few people noticed a stumbling/hesitancy issue in the throttle at times. They still haven't nailed down a sure cause yet.

I'm still waiting to see if the JCW Countryman might be more interesting to me, but I'm strongly leaning towards the S All4 in the future.
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  #11  
Old 05-15-2012, 10:38 AM
adc adc is offline
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Location: DC-MD-VA
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 4,643
Mein Auto: E90 M3
Quote:
Originally Posted by spokelizard View Post
Any tricks to removing the old and installing the new?
Quote:
Originally Posted by X3-terrestrial View Post
I've heard it's really easy to replace, just some elbow grease to pull the old one out.
It's literally a 30 second modification.

1. Put the transmission in 2nd gear.
2. Grab the knob with both hands.
3. Pull up (vertically). Don't twist, just pull, really strongly, put muscle into it, you can't hurt it. It's easier in 2nd gear because it's tilted backwards and towards you. Make sure you don't sock yourself in the chin. (People have managed it, I hear).
4. The old knob will simply snap out.
5. Push the new one in and press moderately or tap it into place for the last 1/2". It will snap-click into place.
6. Enjoy.

It will feel so inherently right, and it's so easy to do, you will be wondering why you didn't do it sooner.
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09 M3 Sedan ED
12 MINI Countryman S All4
93 Miata LE
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  #12  
Old 05-15-2012, 10:44 AM
adc adc is offline
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Location: DC-MD-VA
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 4,643
Mein Auto: E90 M3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wongway View Post
A couple of heads up for you that's I noticed in their forums...
Water/meth injector to avoid buildup.
Got it. Which forum do you recommend?

Quote:
Don't trust MINI's maintenance schedule. Most people would only allow their oil change intervals to be between 7k-9k max
I've always done the old school maintenance on all my vehicles, paying out of pocket when need be. Even on leased cars, like the Mini.

Matter of fact, I'll take it in soon for a 1200 mile oil service.

Quote:
Up to some early 2012 builds, a few people noticed a stumbling/hesitancy issue in the throttle at times. They still haven't nailed down a sure cause yet.
I'm still getting used to the automatic, I'll use the manual mode for awhile and monitor for this problem.

Quote:
I'm still waiting to see if the JCW Countryman might be more interesting to me, but I'm strongly leaning towards the S All4 in the future.
I drew the line and didn't get the Sport Package - it rides just right without it, borderline too jumpy because of the runflats. But it sure could use a bigger front sway bar for my liking, so maybe the JCW is not a bad way to go, especially if you switch to non-runflats.

A set of Kumho Ecsta all seasons for the All4 is $448 at tirerack, so I might switch just for the heck of it to see what it does to the ride/handling.
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09 M3 Sedan ED
12 MINI Countryman S All4
93 Miata LE
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  #13  
Old 05-15-2012, 11:08 AM
spokelizard spokelizard is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: SF Bay Area
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 759
Mein Auto: 2007 X3 MT
Quote:
Originally Posted by adc View Post
It's literally a 30 second modification.

1. Put the transmission in 2nd gear.
2. Grab the knob with both hands.
3. Pull up (vertically). Don't twist, just pull, really strongly, put muscle into it, you can't hurt it. It's easier in 2nd gear because it's tilted backwards and towards you. Make sure you don't sock yourself in the chin. (People have managed it, I hear).
4. The old knob will simply snap out.
5. Push the new one in and press moderately or tap it into place for the last 1/2". It will snap-click into place.
6. Enjoy.

It will feel so inherently right, and it's so easy to do, you will be wondering why you didn't do it sooner.
Thanks for the detailed instructions. I plan to try i!
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