2017 BMW X3 xDrive28i Review By John Heilig
THE AUTO PAGE
By John Heilig
Bureau Chief and Senior Editor
The Auto Channel
REVIEWED MODEL: 2017 BMW X3 xDrive 28i
ENGINE: 2.0-liter Twin Power Turbo 4
TRANSMISSION: 8-speed Automatic with Steptronic
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 240 hp @ 5,000-6,500 rpm/260lb.-ft. @ 1,450-4,800 rpm
WHEELBASE: 110.6 in.
LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 183.6 x 74.1 x 66.1 in.
CARGO CAPACITY: 27.6/63.3 cu. ft. (rear seat up/down)
ECONOMY: 21 mpg city/28 mpg highway/
FUEL TANK: 17.7 gal.
CURB WEIGHT: 4,150 lbs. #/HP: 17.3
COMPETITIVE CLASS: Acura MDX, Infiniti QX50, Ford Explorer
STICKER: $54,395 (includes $995 delivery, $12,150 options)
BOTTOM LINE: A sporty small sport utility vehicle, the BMW X3 has all the attributes of an SUV, with the panache of a Bimmer.
BMW calls its SUVs Sport Activity Vehicles (SAVs) meaning they are more for activity than utility. But they have utility as well. The BMW X3 is a small SAV, yet it can pack 63.3 cubic feet of cargo in its hold with the rear seats down. That’s a good number.
Then X3 also has BMW’s xDrive, which will allow it to traverse mild to medium off-road terrain.
Being a BMW it also has some zip. The 2.0-liter Twin turbo 4 is rated at 240 hp and 260 lb.-ft. of torque, but since the X3 weighs in at 4,150 pounds, it carries a relatively high 17.3 pounds-per-horsepower rating. The X3’s start-stop technology, which makes it act more like a hybrid, works to save some fuel. However, we discovered the X3 will get up and go quite quickly. Beemer are popular in our area, so the X3 had fun playing with its brothers.
Handling is another noted BMW attribute. We took the X3 over all our favorite roads as we ran errands, headed for golf courses and visited around. On our hillclimb test, we shifted the 8-speed automatic transmission into Steptronic, or manual mode, using the gear lever rather than paddles behind the steering wheel. With the Steptronic, the X3 acted more like a sport sedan than an SAV. The X3 has a “Teutonic” instrument panel with round white-on-black dials for the tachometer and speedometer. There’s also a heads up display (HUD) to monitor speed, rather than search where the pointer is on a 160 mph gauge. My only complaint is that the speedometer is on the left and the tach on the right, which seems to go against the norm.
Infotainment is good, although it seems you have to scroll through a number of screens, using the iDrive controller, just to find your source. It’s like the Larry the Cable Guy routine trying to throw a pass on a video game. And the radio doesn’t turn off when you shut the engine off and exit the car. I assume that it does eventually turn off, but I got in the habit of just cutting the power when we exited. Yes, I’ll admit it, my wife has a better aesthetic sense than I do. She approved of the dash layout with soft surfaces and tasteful wood trim.
Front seats are comfortable and offer good side support. The rear seat is a flat bench with a tall center hump that would preclude a passenger with legs from sitting there. However, there’s good leg room for the two outboard passengers. Visibility is great for rear passengers, with a large sunroof that extends to the rear and large rear door windows. Rear seat backs fold to create a flat cargo floor. Cargo capacity, as I said earlier, is very good. The rear hatch opens using either the fob, a switch on the door, or by wiggling your foot under the rear bumper. Under the cargo floor is storage for four hooks that attach to rails on the cargo floor, plus small additional storage. We were able to place a golf bag in the cargo area diagonally without lowering the seats. The owner’s manual fits in a small mesh pocket on the left side of the cargo area.
BMW launched the original X3 inn 2003. The current generation is essentially unchanged from 2015. Still, even though it has hill descent control and parking assist, it could also use a blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic control.
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