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      08-21-2012, 08:48 AM   #1

Drives: 2012 X3 35i
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Atlanta

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X3 much better off road than anticipated

Long time lurker, first time poster here...

I've had my X3 since November but this past weekend was the first time it left pavement. After mapping out some forest service roads in north Georgia I headed out Sunday morning to see what it could do. In retrospect I wish I had taken some photos and video since it was a hairier experience than I had expected. The route:

Try the 3D playback if your PC is up to it.

Here's a video (seizure warning) of a couple dune buggies headed up the initial forest road (which was much tamer than the Winding Stair Gap Rd. that was my destination):

Mind you that part is like the Autobahn compared to the latter section of the drive.

It had rained a little so the terrain was similar to this guy's footage in a Subaru Forrester:

Anyhow it was one of those things I'm glad to have done but probably won't be doing again, at least not for 20 miles with stock tires. The X3 was up to the task far more than I...the vertical sections had my heart racing. It never lost traction and I only felt one suspension bottoming out. Got a funny look from a Jeep driver who was the only soul I encountered up there. The ride home on Hwy 60 was more my style:

And that's what amazed me. I couldn't believe how the same vehicle that dragged me over a muddy ridge was so nimble and taut on curvy asphalt. Sure it won't handle exactly like a 3 series or tear up the trails like a Jeep but damn if isn't a decent facsimile of both extremes.
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      08-21-2012, 12:34 PM   #2

Drives: Boxster S; 2013 X3 28i
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Chicago

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The off road test track at the south Carolina factory PCD delivery center is way worse and rugged terrain wise than anything in those videos. Check you tube. The x3 can wade through 21 inches of water and go up or down very steep rugged hills, hill decent control works wonders. The x3 can also move itself out of situations where only 2 tires are touching the ground. Very impressive. The videos show tamer terrain than the test facility.

The x3 is a wonderful all around car, and will go off road through 99.99% of all situations the common driver will see.
2013 X3 28i, AW, Chestnut, Sienna, ZAP, ZCV, ZCW, ZDH, ZPP, rear view, park distance, cargo net (Wife's) (Pics and story)

2010 Porsche Boxster S (Mine)
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      08-21-2012, 02:40 PM   #3

Drives: n55 BMWs
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: us - ohio

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Keep in mind that the PCD off road course is nothing like real world off-roading. It is built specifically with the X3/X5 in mind. It uses materials that all have a very high level of traction along with perfectly placed obstacles. Yes it's fun, done it a couple times now, but it is a 'perfect' scenario type of course. You add a little real world mud to that course and not many vehicles would be able to traverse the entire course without assistance.

With that being said, I would agree that the X3 is an extremely capable off-roader. It has pretty decent approach and departure angles along with decent fording capabilities. The biggest limiting factor is the road oriented OEM rubber. Throw a nice set of all terrain tires and it would be very impressive off-road. We've been talking about a back country trip to Moab next year and I'm really excited to see how it performs out there.

Cool adventure Hodor!! Good to see these little 'utes venturing off the paved path!
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