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I spent most of my weekends in the countryside and I opt to buy a SUV. I like too much X3 but I hesitate to buy one (2.0d) because I don't know how it performs offroad or in the unpaved roads. I have heared many complaints for the firm ride and I wonder if this car is comfortable offroad even with the standard suspension and tires. I don't know even the ground cleaarance of this car or how durable it could be. I am not fan of hard offroading but sometimes I drive in rocky or muddy unpaved roads. I should appreciate any suggestion you make. Thanks in advance
 

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2015 335 M-Sport Mineral Gray
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Remember you are buying an SAV (per BMW) not a SUV. BMW called them SAV's because they are not meant to be serious off-road vehicles.
 

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We have only taken our X3 off-road on approved trails in a national park (Joshua Tree), and it did quite well. We have the standard all-season tires, which are probably the limiting factor. The automatic transmission can be shifted manually and there is HDC (supposedly borrowed from Land Rover), rather than a transfer case. Although some of the tracks were steep, the HDC was over-kill; manually shifting into 1st or 2nd gave sufficient control.

(This was with the 2.5 liter US gasoline engine in a 2004.)
 

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Tar Heel Faithful
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It performs pretty well off-road athough the most off-roading I've done is a couple narrow dirt trails. Surprisingly, the "firm" ride doesnt appear to be an issue off-road. There's enough suspension travel and flexibility to allow a pretty cushy ride when goin over dirt, and HDC is there if you need it. I guess the worst thing for X3 is potholes in the pavement........that's when the ride can be annoying :mad:

The ground clearance is 8", but it can ford through about 20" of water. Just use some sense.........it's not meant to be a Jeep or hard-core off-roader.
 

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California boy in Canada
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The 2004 model year was reportedly "sketchy" in rough conditions because the suspension wasn't compliant enought, but since 2005 they have been far improved. X3's are raced off road in desert and arctic rallys and do very well, winning many races.
 

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I take mine off pavement all the time

I took mine over La Salle Pass via a US Forest Service Road. The raod was very rocky, but not too muddy at the time. Here is a pic of my X3 at the top of the pass at 9730 ft.

For off pavement work, the biggest drawbacks to the X3 (in my opinion) are the tires/wheels (low profile - ugh) and lack of a low range. If I were driving a lot on muddy roads, I'd look for some more aggressive tires. Rough roads can be handled by just not driving them too fast.

The X3 will easily tackle Independence Pass (12000+ ft, paved), but is not the vehicle for the Independence Trail!

Enjoy!
 

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I'd describe the X3 as "off pavement" rather than "off road". We've had the X3 on some pretty horrible unpaved roads and it feels very good. The main thing to watch for is rocks, because the skid plates are thin and you've got only 8 inches of clearance. A mistake could be very costly (and strand you!). On dirt or gravel roads its top tier.

BTW, put some snow tires on it and the X3 is simply amazing in the frozen stuff. No studs required with the latest snow tire technology.
 

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I know that the X3 is clearly not meant for "off-road" use in all implications of the word, but I used to drive around on ATVs in some dirt/gravel/mud/other stuff in PA and all of the main trails were large enough for my car to fit through, so I was bored and took it through. It handled like a charm, there was even a medium sized recatangle with large open trails and i was drifting around the corners. Fun, and the car held up very nicely.
 

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I picked up my wife's X3 at the performance center,you can see what we did on our web site in the gallery pictures,also had 2 X5's and we never had any problem at all in deep snow, but we never went off roading intentionally.
 
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