What you've heard is true. Once you drive a BMW, you will be hooked for life. I love driving the X3, so does my husband. His Acura MDX now gets very little action. He prefers the X3. Lots of power. Handles beautifully on Seattle's wet roads and in heavy traffic. Nice size to parallel park downtown.
The X3 is very responsive. The panoramic sunroof is as close as you can get to a convertible in an SUV. Heated rear seats are a favorite, too.
All minor. The auxiliary input for the iPod is located in the back of the center arm rest, where it is not convenient for the driver and looks odd to passengers in the back. Also no place to store sunglasses and only one cup holder in the center. (The passenger holder is by the passenger door.)
I just bought the X3 with Sports Package with 34K miles as a certified used car. The car is under warranty and still smells and looks like new but I paid 15K less than buying a new X3. The X3 drives and handles like a sports car. The 260HP engine is perfect. I drove Lexus RX, Acura RDX, Mercedes GLK and they do not come close to the X3 handling.
Got mine three years ago - Sports pkg, premium pkg, winter pkg. Sapphire black metallic with black interior, 18" all- weather tires (didn't want to have to swap summer tires every winter). Handles like a sports sedan, cargo area more than a wagon, great road visibility, excellent build quality. The sports pkg can be a rough ride, but I like it. Probably not the best family vehicle, because it feels more like a sports car. No mechanical issues, but I notice BMW has a software update regarding its AT problem that some people have experienced - I prefer driving in manual mode, to me it's the best of both worlds. Tons of fun with superb handling!
M Sport steering wheel and suspension, shifter is silky smooth, panoramic sunroof, self-leveling headlights work wonders on back roads at night.
Aux audio access should be at front console, not back behind driver's seat. Sport suspension could be a tad softer.
Now with the odometer rolling past the 50,000 mark, my compliments to the chef. I hate numb steering, overweight and too-big SUV's. This SUV really is a 3-series with a lot of road clearance and a big boost to the rear storage space. It does suffer from a higher center of gravity over the lower riding 3-series but that can be offset with a Sport Pkg option that helps to reduce the suspension give and body roll. Also, the sport seats are the best with what may be the best in the industry. In a nutshell, the X3 is clearly the most fun to drive in this segment. It is almost 1,000lbs less in weight than its X5 brethren and only 4 cu ft less in cargo--the 3.0 is the perfect small SUV.
Gas mileage, 26-28 on the highway thanks to the 6-spd. Sport seats make long distance fun. Handling is remarkable and totally atypical for a SUV. Sport steering wheel is purely M design and a nice touch. Tires went 50K before replacement and never were rotated! 8" ground clearance avoids snow.
Maybe a bit wider in the cabin but with no weight penalty since the motor is perfectly suited for moving this weight. Better wiper blades but that can be said of most vehicles. Lose the silly rocker molding of the sport package and replace with the great rubber nubbed rocker panel option.
It's really a good car and all of a driving experience. I work home-office so do not use the car a lot - only 7,500 miles per year average, however, it is quite enjoyable to drive it every time I go the airport and go to pick up the kids at school.
Power and sound system.
Sometimes an annoying noise coming from the engine comes up.