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      04-10-2013, 01:33 PM   #1
rhubarb
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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!
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      04-10-2013, 02:00 PM   #2
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Great write up.

I've had mine (only the 2.0d though) 3 months now and agree with many of your points and observations.
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      04-10-2013, 03:35 PM   #3
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Nice wrapup. I also agree with pretty much everything, despite having the 2.0d manual. I also have noticed the odd squeak in the (rarely touched) center console when I touch it, other than that, it's perfect.
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      04-11-2013, 06:48 AM   #4
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Thanks for this, it is very helpful. I'm interested in real world comments such as those you make on the xDrive in the snow. Have you considered winter tyres?

My 30d is on order and I cant wait for it to arrive!
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      04-11-2013, 07:06 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ontheballcity View Post
Thanks for this, it is very helpful. I'm interested in real world comments such as those you make on the xDrive in the snow. Have you considered winter tyres?

My 30d is on order and I cant wait for it to arrive!
I second that .. Waiting for my own 30d MS. The wait is killing me, but reading real-world, real-user write-ups like that helps nice one
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      04-11-2013, 08:36 AM   #6
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Good write-up. Agree on the paint but I think it affects the whole BMW range now because of new greener paints and processes. You need to keep it very well protected or you'll continue to find new blemishes

Re. tyres and snow, winter tyres make a huge difference in the snow. The problem is that we don't really get enough days of snow in most parts of England to justify the cost. I got them mostly for driving in Europe but also to satisfy my curiosity
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      04-11-2013, 09:09 AM   #7
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Good write up. We have some very minor issues with paint which have been dealt with by dealer and we have winter tyres which work ... much better in the low temperature as well as in wetter conditions so I would still recommend them and especially if you do venture abroad.
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      04-11-2013, 10:06 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plymjack View Post
we have winter tyres which work ... much better in the low temperature as well as in wetter conditions so I would still recommend them and especially if you do venture abroad.
Agree on abroad in snow but "much better in low temperatures" simply isn't true. It's a myth put out there by the tyre manufacturers. It's been discussed a few times already on this forum, e.g.

http://x3.xbimmers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=576271

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Originally Posted by sfax View Post
We discussed this in this http://x3.xbimmers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=576271 thread and the statistics I saw for improved braking under 7C were insignificant IMO (like 5%). Lots of people seem to be under the illusion that as soon as they temperature drops below 7C you're suddenly so much safer but you aren't. Ice is another matter but if you hit ice you're in trouble whether you slide 30ft with winters or 50ft without. This is only based on the report in this thread so I would like to read some more stats on it. Obviously there are a lot of "independent" reports paid for by companies with vested interests

I was against getting them but came full circle and ended up getting some but this was mostly to give me the option of skiing in Europe in the future. You need significant snow and regular temps below 3C to make them worthwhile IMO.
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      04-11-2013, 11:36 AM   #9
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I drove a new X3 with new twin turbo 4 cylinder and was suprised how fast the vehicle was!
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      04-11-2013, 11:39 AM   #10
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Nice write-up op - thanks!

I've also had my X3 (28i) for a while now (since August actually) and am approaching 9k miles..

The N20 is very smooth motor especially when paired with 8 speed tranny which I think is fantastic..

IF you're in an area with snow - do yourselves a favor and get a dedicated winter set of tires (and enjoy sport set-up in summer).

Have I been happy with my choice? Absolutely - it fit our budget and broader needs at the time of the buy. I would characterize the X3 as an extremely capable and a comfortable everyday driver. A rationale vs emotional choice for me.

At lease end? I'll probably opt for something with a little more flair, testosterone and snort.

X4 diesel or in 35i trim maybe?
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      04-11-2013, 05:20 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfax View Post
Agree on abroad in snow but "much better in low temperatures" simply isn't true. It's a myth put out there by the tyre manufacturers. It's been discussed a few times already on this forum, e.g.

http://x3.xbimmers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=576271
A 5% improvement is a lot in anyones language.

Also according to the met office the winter average for the SW is 7.2 degC and 7.0 degC for the Central South - all other regions are below 7DegC. (1981-2010)

So it may have been discussed but that does not make it a myth.
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      04-11-2013, 05:36 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plymjack View Post
A 5% improvement but is a lot in anyones language
That's when wet. Stopping distances are increased when dry with winter tyres but back to the 5%.

Do you know what the % difference is in stopping distances between a tyre that is down to 4mm and one that is down to 2mm? Or the difference between 8mm (new) and 1.6mm (legal min)? It's more like a 40% decrease. 5% is often quoted but it's never put into context. Emperor's New Clothes.

And this is coming from someone who has spent over £2,000 on a set of winter wheels and tyres. They are useful for snow and ice but any safety improvements on wet or dry roads in 5C are negligible in comparison to improvement you get from simply replacing your summer or all season tyres sooner
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      04-11-2013, 07:10 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfax View Post
That's when wet. Stopping distances are increased when dry with winter tyres but back to the 5%.

Do you know what the % difference is in stopping distances between a tyre that is down to 4mm and one that is down to 2mm? Or the difference between 8mm (new) and 1.6mm (legal min)? It's more like a 40% decrease. 5% is often quoted but it's never put into context. Emperor's New Clothes.

And this is coming from someone who has spent over £2,000 on a set of winter wheels and tyres. They are useful for snow and ice but any safety improvements on wet or dry roads in 5C are negligible in comparison to improvement you get from simply replacing your summer or all season tyres sooner



I'm pretty fussy about tyres and their condition and probably change my tyres earlier than most and never skimp on quality, mainly because of having a blow out a number of years ago due to a defective tyre that I shouldn't have been driving on, rolled the car and nearly died as a result (lesson learnt)

I've used winter tyres in the UK for the last four winters, I have never bothered buying wheels I just have the tyres changed over and store them. Like most others I have looked at YouTube videos of tyre tests and read numerous articles and reviews, some of which are impressive others not so. The end result is that I'm no more expert about the subject of winter tyres than anyone else posting on this forum but what I would say is that for me even if its a 1% improvement whilst I'm travelling at 70mph on a motorway, that's good enough for me because that may well save mine or someone elses life or at the least save a damaged car.

I accept that buying a complete wheel set is an investment but having two sets of tyres doesn't actually cost any more because while using your winters you are saving the summers .... so overall very little if any additional cost (unless my maths is wrong)

Just my 2c worth

MS
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      04-12-2013, 04:20 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by ukstevens View Post
I'm pretty fussy about tyres and their condition and probably change my tyres earlier than most and never skimp on quality, mainly because of having a blow out a number of years ago due to a defective tyre that I shouldn't have been driving on, rolled the car and nearly died as a result (lesson learnt)

I've used winter tyres in the UK for the last four winters, I have never bothered buying wheels I just have the tyres changed over and store them. Like most others I have looked at YouTube videos of tyre tests and read numerous articles and reviews, some of which are impressive others not so. The end result is that I'm no more expert about the subject of winter tyres than anyone else posting on this forum but what I would say is that for me even if its a 1% improvement whilst I'm travelling at 70mph on a motorway, that's good enough for me because that may well save mine or someone elses life or at the least save a damaged car.

I accept that buying a complete wheel set is an investment but having two sets of tyres doesn't actually cost any more because while using your winters you are saving the summers .... so overall very little if any additional cost (unless my maths is wrong)

Just my 2c worth

MS
I agree and that's a good balanced argument. I also think that on the economy you get some back if you sell the winter wheels if they're in good condition and as you said you save on wear on the summer tyres.

Changing tyres more frequently also gives you a chance to check for uneven wear and adjust the tracking

The other slight drawback is that they wear more quickly and they shouldn't be used too much at high speed - not sure on the detail exactly but I try to keep below 80 with the winters on.

If you keep the car long enough to see you through a set of winters (in terms of wear) it probably works out not too much more than replacing the summer tyres more frequently.

My main gripe on the statistics and the whole 7C thing is the marketing that makes statements like "big improvements" at any temp below 7C. I wouldn't call a max of 5% on wet and -1% on dry roads a big improvement personally, particularly not when there is a 40% improvement between a new tyre and one worn down to the legal min.
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      04-12-2013, 07:18 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfax View Post

My main gripe on the statistics and the whole 7C thing is the marketing that makes statements like "big improvements" at any temp below 7C. I wouldn't call a max of 5% on wet and -1% on dry roads a big improvement personally, particularly not when there is a 40% improvement between a new tyre and one worn down to the legal min.
Firstly I did not pay over £2000 for my tyres. As I intend keeping the car and making use of the tyres the only real cost was the wheels which were £600.

You also misquote the "marketing" - the improvements are increased as the temperature drops below 7C - nowhere have I seen this express as a magic number where there is a step change. It is obviously a gradual one.

You are correct that changing tyres well before they reach the legal limit will also make a major change (but again the "40%" is a gradually from new to old not a step change).

Why are tyres so important in Grand Prix racing - because the 1% or 5% improvements counts - the same as the GB Cycling team was improved by 1% steps to make it the winning team. So the 5% improvement is indeed worth having and should not be dismissed just because you don't like the marketing.

Given that winter tyres are now mandatory in most European countries (in one way or another) I think they have proved their worth. If only one live is saved for having them then that makes them good value.
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      04-12-2013, 08:05 AM   #16
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Quote:
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Firstly I did not pay over £2000 for my tyres.
No-one said you did. Read it again. I was talking about how much I spent, and I'm agreeing that if you keep them for long enough they are not as expensive

Quote:
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You also misquote the "marketing" - the improvements are increased as the temperature drops below 7C
Well no, they're not really. The 5% improvement is actually at 5C not 7C and it doesn't get any significantly bigger at 2C whereas the wear factor change is much more significant. The main improvement (and my point) is when you have snow and ice (and I get snow about 3 days per year here).

"now mandatory in most European countries" => they are only mandatory in countries that get significant snowfall, not the UK, or even Scotland.

And re. grand prix, not sure how that's relevant really. What's needed is context and you can get 20% reduction in braking distance by changing your tyres at 3mm rather than when they reach the legal minimum. You can also get this reduction by not driving as fast when wet. I'm sure some people quote safety as the reason they get winters but then don't change their tyres until the legal min and also drive too fast when wet

http://www.rospa.com/roadsafety/advi...ead-depth.aspx

And as example of marketing and the words used:

http://www.kwik-fit.com/why-fit-winter-tyres.asp

Quote:
the winter tyre gives significant safety advantages in wet and icy conditions - up to a bus length and a half shorter stopping distance! Their superior grip helps you keep control.
They say significant but then there's a chart next to the words showing a 6.8% reduction and the car with winter tyres still taking 65.7m to stop. Yes, it's a reduction but it's over-egged and it could make people over-confident and prone to more risk taking with the perceived safety net of winter tyres.

Drive 10mph slower (70=>60mph) when it's wet and you'll reduce your braking distance by 36% (75m to 55m). That's significant.
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      04-12-2013, 08:13 AM   #17
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