The hottest car on the BMW SUV fleet nowadays is the 2011 BMW X3. BMW Blog takes this vehicle to the test to see if it has what it takes to go through true off-roading, just like it performs on a paved road. Many SUVs claim to drive well, but it is the BMW X3 that excels at both off-road and on-road performance. Here's an excerpt of their review:
The X3 will initially be released in xDrive 35i form in the US, using the N55B30 turbocharged in-line six, with the xDrive28i to follow. In other markets thereís a choice between the xDrive35i and the xDrive20d (a fabulous engine that we wish the US market could partake of). The eight speed automatic is a Hobsonís choice since itís the only
transmission available. But it is a really good transmission and helps with fuel economy given its additional gear ratios.
The exterior styling is a step up from the previous X3 with a muscular stance and really crisp details on the front and rear of the car. The surface sculpting on the sides is very good and shows the skill of the designers and production engineers. And I appreciate that BMW hasnít succumbed to the fad of pinching the hight of the greenhouse, as other
manufacturers have (Hummer H3 for example).
Interior styling is more than a step up from the previous X3. This is a vary good looking interior with decent fit, finish, and feel. It has all of the appropriate BMW cues, fonts, gauge placement, and center IP stack, but remains, on the whole, unique. The interior space is commodious for five, the back seat passengers arenít an afterthought at all. Rear seat heaters (in the outboard positions) and a 40:20:40 split rear seat are part of the cold weather package. A panoramic sun-roof is optional or part of the premium package.
Weíve already given our driving impressions of the X3, but letís put them in context here. Compared to similar vehicles this is the driverís SUV of the bunch. The dynamics are best in class and styling, materials, fit, and finish are representative of what people expect from a BMW. That said Iíd take a 3er Touring over the X3, but Iíd take an X3 over a 535i GT.
So BMW knows how the X3 will be used and has optimized it for the environment it will find itself in. If you want to hit Moab or the Rubicon, try the Wrangler. If you need the assurance that in spite of weather or road surface you can get to your destination, the BMW X3 is worth a look. One final observation regarding the usefulness of a vehicle biased towards off-roading, ďfour wheel drive will get you stuck in places you canít get to in another vehicle.
Source: BMW Blog