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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Been lurking for a few years but now need buying feedback. I swear on my wonderful N54 that I have searched the forum for these topics of quiet and access - found little.

I have a 2007 328iT (E91), which I love. I have banged it up a bit, the radio, front bumper and moonroof are all busted, and with 125k it is that time ...

First, I have a severe hearing loss, which has gotten worse over time. Road noise is very physically unsettling. I switched to go-flats because of the RFT noise. Second, I have had neck surgery after a mountain biking related injury and access is important. Third, I still road bike and like to throw my bike in the back - racks are noisy!

I was thinking of a CPO 2014 X3 because of ease of entry. I don't mind the trade off on handling as I understand it is not a sedan. The problem is that on a couple of test drives, it did not seem as quiet as my 10 year old wagon. I drove a 2014 328i GT, which was marginally quieter than the X3. It might be quieter than my E91. (Access is better than my wagon but not as easy as the X3.) Am I confused or are the new cars not as quiet as my e91? I don't always hear all the frequency of noise on a test drive, so bimmerfest folks' experience here will help me.


Should I drive a 2013 X5? They say the 2014 is quieter but it is way more expensive than the 2013. I don't think I can throw my bike in the back of a 5 series but need to make sure. The access in the 5 series is okay but not great.

RE other Germans: An ML seems too, well, old timer, to me. I tried to get in a GLC but access is bad - I hit my butt on the door sill. VAG is out due to scams.

I drove a friends Ford Edge and was very pleasantly surprised - decent handling, very supple ride and quiet. The 2.0T was pretty slow though.


Any other car suggestions?
Dynamat the X3?
Get an E61? But ... turbo engine reliability issues?
GLK?

Thanks for any thoughts!
 

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I am surprised you found the noise level in the 2014 X3 to be greater than in your 10 year old wagon. According to Edmunds tests: "Our sound tests revealed the X3's cruising noise level to be among the lowest in the segment. It isolates its occupants effectively from tire and wind noise. The engine is virtually silent at idle, but is noticable when revved."
https://www.edmunds.com/bmw/x3/2016/suv/rating/

I sold my 2010 535i wagon when I purchased my 2016 X3 35i. To my ear the X3 is as quiet as my 535i (E61) wagon was. The X3 is better for ease of entry and exit in my opinion. FWIW, I had no significant problems with my E61.

Could it be you are hearing more noise from the 4 cylinder turbo engine in the X3 you test drove when revving it? You might check out a used X3 with the in-line 6 cylinder engine (whether turbo charged or the naturally aspirated engine replaced by the turbo 4) for comparison.

My wife has a Toyota Venza V6. This is one of the best vehicles for ease of entry and exit that I have driven. It drives like a Camry wagon (for good or bad) and is relatively quiet and reasonably quick with the six cylinder engine. This is another used vehicle you might look into if you are considering a non-German vehicle like the Edge.

You might also consider a used Honda Crosstour V6. Edmunds reports: "We've yet to test a Crosstour with the four-cylinder engine, but performance with the V6 is more than adequate and there's not a big difference in fuel economy between the two. On the open highway, the Crosstour performs admirably, providing a comfortable ride and a quiet cabin at speed. Part of that quietness is due to Honda's active noise-cancellation system."

Good hunting.
 

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Been lurking for a few years but now need buying feedback. I swear on my wonderful N54 that I have searched the forum for these topics of quiet and access - found little.

I have a 2007 328iT (E91), which I love. I have banged it up a bit, the radio, front bumper and moonroof are all busted, and with 125k it is that time ...

First, I have a severe hearing loss, which has gotten worse over time. Road noise is very physically unsettling. I switched to go-flats because of the RFT noise. Second, I have had neck surgery after a mountain biking related injury and access is important. Third, I still road bike and like to throw my bike in the back - racks are noisy!

I was thinking of a CPO 2014 X3 because of ease of entry. I don't mind the trade off on handling as I understand it is not a sedan. The problem is that on a couple of test drives, it did not seem as quiet as my 10 year old wagon. I drove a 2014 328i GT, which was marginally quieter than the X3. It might be quieter than my E91. (Access is better than my wagon but not as easy as the X3.) Am I confused or are the new cars not as quiet as my e91? I don't always hear all the frequency of noise on a test drive, so bimmerfest folks' experience here will help me.

Should I drive a 2013 X5? They say the 2014 is quieter but it is way more expensive than the 2013. I don't think I can throw my bike in the back of a 5 series but need to make sure. The access in the 5 series is okay but not great.

RE other Germans: An ML seems too, well, old timer, to me. I tried to get in a GLC but access is bad - I hit my butt on the door sill. VAG is out due to scams.

I drove a friends Ford Edge and was very pleasantly surprised - decent handling, very supple ride and quiet. The 2.0T was pretty slow though.

Any other car suggestions?
Dynamat the X3?
Get an E61? But ... turbo engine reliability issues?
GLK?

Thanks for any thoughts!
Cant help you with the X3 as I dont own one but for X5s the 2013-2014 is the difference between the E series and F series (2014 is first model year of F series X5, and 2013 is the last year of E series X5). Thats why you are seeing some differences in the prices at that year divide.

I personally think the F series X5s are much better but there are others that have different opinions. The other thing you said that was confusing to me was that you said you suffer from hearing LOSS but that somehow makes you more sensitive to road noise.

I personally feel that modern run flats (the ones on my 2016 X5 and 435) are fine in relation to run noise but I am not you, so that does not mean you will think its fine. RFTs can always be replaced so the tires are a non issue to me on a purchase of the car (non issue other than budgetting for replacing them if you dont like the ones on the car, and figuring out if the price of the car accomodates that)

An X5 will likely be quieter, but handle worse unless you manage to find the unicorn X5 that has the dynamic handling package. Its also a LOT of car if you dont need that space.. X5s are heavy and the gas mileage is not as good as X3s I think.

Anyway, good luck. I found an X3 we had as a loaner when our X5 was in for service to be pretty similar to the X5, just smaller and a little less "luxurious" feeling in subtle ways, but still a very very nice car.
 

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My '13 x3 3.5 is very quiet, with plenty of power. I have Michelin Primacy 19" RFT which I find acceptably quiet as well. And with the rear seat down, I can fit 1-2 road bikes without problem.
 

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I just made the move as yourself from a 2007 e91 328xi to a 2012 x3 msport 35i with DHP. I will say the x3 is significantly quieter even with the RFT tires. Also it definitely has more rear space than the e91, i would estimate 5" in additional width and about a foot in height. I also had contemplated the X5 but it tends to have worse reliability than the X3 coupled with bad fuel economy and driving dynamics in terms of handling, and feeling big like unlike the X3 which feels similar to a 5 series, at least to me. What is interesting is that the pre 2014 X5s have similar pricing as the X3 which shows how badly the X5 holds its value however in some ways its a lot of value for the money if you consider what your getting as to a luxury SUV.

Good luck, i tend to steer you to a X3 as i don't have any regrets to my recent move to the X3.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Thanks very much for the helpful feedback.

Regarding hearing loss and driving noise, nerve damage causes hearing loss in the high frequencies and thus, low frequency road noise is the culrpit for most, not the higher frequency wind noise. That said, the wind noise does not help. When I tested an X3 with a Q5 back to back, the X3 was quieter.

Re: the E61, it sounds like it is not worth going back to that model as Mike reports it is not any quieter than his X3. I am one of the fans of the styling of the E61 but I don't work on my cars (since my 1968 Mustang) and will probably get a newer car.
Re: the X5, it is not my preference because 90% of the time it is just me or one other person and I think I would like the more nimble X3.
Re: sibhus reports on less noise in the X3 than our E91s; that is good news. I may well be more sensitive when I am test driving the X3 and don't listen much when I get back in my E91.

Also, the X3 drivers here have 35i's. I wonder if the six is quieter than the four cylinder. The four is most probably noisier at full throttle, but that does not bother me; it is 70 mph cruising that wears on me. I did read somewhere that the six cylinder pumps the exhaust noise back into the cabin for visceral effect and the four does not.

I will get back out there after the storms and drive the X3 and 3 series GT again. I may cross post this in the 3 series to see if anybody who bought the GT had owned or driven the X3.

Thanks again ....
 

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Also, the X3 drivers here have 35i's. I wonder if the six is quieter than the four cylinder. The four is most probably noisier at full throttle, but that does not bother me; it is 70 mph cruising that wears on me. I did read somewhere that the six cylinder pumps the exhaust noise back into the cabin for visceral effect and the four does not.
In my experience, my X3 35i engine is very quiet when cruising at 70 mph. There is a little rumble designed into the 35i exhaust when driving in a sporty manner at higher rpm, but I do not hear that when the engine is loafing at a steady 2200 rpm or so in top gear. The X3 28i 4 cylinder turbo has a very different engine noise profile to my ear, sounding more like a diesel at idle and a little harsh when accelerating at higher rpm and surprisingly quiet at certain rpms. I prefer the sound of the 35i, but others may differ.

You seem to have some fairly unique hearing issues and noise, which makes it difficult for anyone else to give advice. An engine noise that many drivers may find enjoyable, you may find annoying.
 

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I also have hearing loss , I drive a 2014 X3 3.5 and I am aware of subtle road noise and a wonderful exhaust growl at certain speeds. I have no experience with the 2.8 engine so I can't comment but I conjecture that a smaller engine might be louder because you are maxing it out.
Try and measure the noise level by loading a decibel app
On a smartphone and experiment as you test drive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Mike, Thanks for answering my precise question about the two engines. My guess is at cruise, there is not too much difference. And yes, I did notice the difference in the throttle sound between the four turbo and the inline six on my E91. The latter is certainly a better sound.

Actually, my hearing loss is quite common and it is the hearing loss that most people get when they age. Sometimes, older men (e.g. former machinists) drive big giant trucks for this reason. Chevy Tahoes are very quiet.

Eman, Thanks for the feedback and confirmation I am not crazy ...:rofl:

I tried two different smartphone apps and one was way too low and the other way too high. Someone suggested the regular handheld decibel readers ones from Radio Shack. That said, those decibel readers might or might not pick up more high frequency wind noise. Hard to know.

This is all very helpful.
 

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if your hearing is sensitive, you may even look at an electric or hybrid vehicle as you will hardly notice any noise, electrical engines for all intense purposes run silent. I believe Tesla even has a SUV which is similar in size to the X3.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Mike, I have seen that list and it is strange to me. Some cars that most think are noisy are rated as quiet. In any case, those decibel readings may not take into account the agitating aspect of low frequency road noise.

Sibhus, I would loove a Tesla. But charging is not possible at home (an apartment). I swear at too many Prius drivers to get one myself.... But yes, if I did not need the space for the bike and had an outlet for charging, I would love an i3. Next car maybe ....

BTW, I drove a GT and an X3 back to back. Access was a wash. While the X3 has that perfect step in height, the door sills are a bit narrow for my 6-2 frame. Driving, I loved both but the GT had slight advantages in handling, ride and noise level. Given the height of the X3, it handles remarkably well. The X3 has that very solid feel and great visibility.
 
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