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· 2013 BMW X3 35i Sport Pkg
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Choosing the X3

My wife and I have been considering possible options for replacement of our 2005 Nissan Xterra for the last couple of years. In looking for a more carlike experience we narrowed our SUV replacement list to the BMW X3, Mercedes ML350, VW Touareg and Jeep Grand Cherokee. Other vehicles like an Audi Q5 or Range Rover Evoque weren't included because they can't be purchased or serviced locally.

After driving all the vehicles it came down to a decision between the BMW X3 and Mercedes ML350. The Mercedes ML350 was at a price disadvantage because it really is an X5 competitor so the starting price is higher. Other price disadvantages are the lack of free maintenance for 4 years and the fact you have to pay for Mercedes' equivalent of BMW Assist from the very start. The difference in price in combination with the fact we liked the exterior, performance and handling of the X3 better gave it the edge over the ML350. Some of the things I really liked about the ML350 were the fact it had a spare and no run flats, the extra room, a really nice cabin and ride (although different in character from the BMW).


We configured our 2013 BMW X3 35i as follows.
• Space Gray Metallic, Black Nevada Leather with Fineline Wave Wood Trim
• Sport Activity Package
• Premium Package
• Premium Sound Package
• Cold Weather Package
• Navigation System and BMW Assist

I believe the available 28i (N20) and 35i (N55) engines both provide adequate power and responsiveness for the X3 and feel most people would be happy with either engine. While the base price difference in the United States is $5,100 if you plan on getting (and we did) the xenon headlights / adaptive control and panoramic moon roof the price difference is reduced to $2,850. We got the 35i because I loved the extra power and it also positioned us to get the 309 wheels, which were our favorite wheels on the X3 (369M close second).

We visited numerous dealers over the last two years to view color combinations and trim on a variety of vehicles, so we had a pretty good idea of what our color and trim preferences were. We had black as the favorite for the exterior for quite a while because it looks great when clean, but we decided on space gray because we really liked it with the sport package, haven't had that color before on any vehicle and were looking for something that wouldn't require as much effort to care for. In terms of the seats, we chose black because we think it looks sharp and holds up well compared with lighter colors, which were more difficult for us to keep clean. The anthracite header matches the black seats pretty well, although one could argue it's too dark and monotonous inside the vehicle and potentially hot in summer conditions.

Having owned two previous BMW's with the sport package, we had always planned on that as an option because we like the steering wheel, seats, aluminum trim and wheels, but we strongly considered the M Sport as an option. If we had selected the 28i we would have chosen the M Sport package to get the 369M wheels instead of the 307's included with the 28i sport package.

We decided not to get the camera and collision warning options. I strongly considered the Dynamic Handling Package but I didn't want to get it without at least driving a vehicle that had it and there weren't any on the lots anywhere near us when we made our selections.

Purchase and Delivery

We got 5% off MRSP, a good value for my trade and we applied the $1,000 BMW Drive Event discount. Better deals were available in larger metropolitan areas that were two hours or more away, but it was easier to buy locally and order exactly what we wanted. We ordered the vehicle on June 30, 2012, it was scheduled for production on August 1, 2012, it finished production on August 8, 2012, the build video was available on the BMW website August 15, 2012, the vehicle arrived at the dealership on August 15, 2012 and we took delivery on August 18, 2012.

Initial Impressions and Thanks

Like the looks, ride and acceleration. It has a lot of features. Spent much of the day getting everything setup and trying the sound system, navigation, voice commands and hands free calling features out. Only negative I have noticed is a little wind noise at both front windows, but it isn't excessive. I will post a thorough report after more extensive driving. I posted a few pictures for people to review.

I would also like to thank the forum members who are contributing to this forum, and the information was useful to me during the decision making process.


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