New X3, 6 Months In
Hi Everyone, Iíve had a new X3 for 6 months now and herewith my thoughts on the car. I hope itís useful to those researching a new x3.
Previous car: 330d M Sport (2005/6 build). New car: X3 3.0d SE
Summary: A great car and much better all-round performer than my previous 3 series, if not as sporty.
Buying Experience: Good deal from BMW dealer, willing to discount 8% off list. Car delivery was delayed two weeks, but was not an issue.
Build Quality: Initial impression was that build was not as good or precise as 3 series and car did not have quite the same Ďbullet-proofí feel. But I've had no rattles or breakages (touch wood) and the car still looks brand new. Impression now is that it is very well screwed together and will last. However, one point of concern is the paint-job, which is not to same quality as 3 and my car already has some flakes coming off bonnet that will need to be addressed.
Transmission: 8 speed auto is fantastic. Gear change is imperceptible in day to day motoring and the drive is very smooth. In sporty driving, gear box is much better than old 6 speed auto. Gear change is super quick and gear box doesnít hesitate or hunt for gears, in particular on down-changing coming off a roundabout or corner. In DS manual, the manual gear change feels instantaneous. In Drive Sport mode auto, the gear changes sound like a racing car, when you floor the throttle, as the engine goes through the cogs so quickly, really impressive. The gear-box also adapts to your driving style regardless of the mode it is in (old car did this too).
Engine: 3.0d is fantastic. I tried a 2.0d for a test drive. That engine is quite sporty, but not nearly as much fun as the 3.0d IMO. The 6 cylinder also sounds a lot better. Acceleration from a standing start is very rapid. It is faster than my old car and that was quite fast! I suspect that the X3 3.0d will do a sub 6 second 0-60, despite BMW figures! In gear acceleration is less explosive and probably slightly less responsive than my old 330d, but its still mighty impressive.
Handling and suspension: Car has VDC and non-runflat 17Ē wheels. In Sport + with transmission in DS mode it feels very sporty. The car actually feels a bit lower, the suspension is taught but is still supple and not too hard (unlike the 330d M-Sport) and gives loads of confidence around corners. The car rolls very little around corners, not as flat as the 330d, but very impressive and encourages sporty driving. The carís steering is not as precise as the 330d and doesnít turn-in or change direction as quickly, but for an SUV the car is very easy to position on the road and really encourages a spirited drive. I would probably spec the Variable Sport Steering next time, as the car is good enough to benefit from that. In general day to day driving, the suspension in Comfort mode is really impressive and comfortable. Its never floaty but manages to iron out almost all bumps, especially on our cr@ppy roads and gives a very relaxing drive. The car is sometimes a little fidgety at very low speeds, but overall itís a great ride and totally different to the crashy M-Sport suspension.
Brakes: Probably the least proficient dynamic quality of the car. They sometimes feel a little soft, but itís really a question of getting used to a bigger car and using the pedal more enthusiastically.
X-Drive: The only thing I can say here is that the x-drive makes the car feel very sure-footed on wet tarmac, particularly pulling out of junctions etc. No wheel spin and great power delivery. Car was ok in the recent snow, although I didnít feel super confident on the standard tyres and the car did slip a bit.
Wind Noise: there is some noticeable wind noise at faster motorway speeds and BMW could probably improve this a bit, but it is not a distraction. Road noise is very well controlled.
Interior Build: Sports seats are comfortable and grip well. Cabin is a nice place to be. Aluminium trim looks great and is very durable. No rattles at all, although the stereo and air-con buttons sometimes creak a bit! Plenty of room in the cabin. Much bigger inside than the RR Evoque and loads more useable boot-space than the Evoque (I did a recent hol in a RR Evoque).
Pro-Nav: Makes life very easy and is great to use, particularly as the i-drive system integrates nav, i-pod, radio so well. Dashboard nav instructions are great also. I do think the option is too expensive though for the value provided. Speech command function is great too. Basic stereo has very good sound and loads better than my old car.
Fuel consumption: Not too bad for such a big car, but you do need to watch the right foot! Day to day motoring easily achieves high 30s MPG and I have had car over 40mpg without difficulty.
Hope this helps yíall!