2012 BMW X3 Long Term Road Test


2012 BMW X3: Oh, Yes, It Has Passing Power

August 11, 2012

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It's easy to forget the 2012 BMW X3 xDrive35i has 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque, because BMW has made such an effort to downplay all that. The turbo six idles like a diesel (and not a quiet diesel), and you can hear the bah-bah-bah of the eight-speed automatic short-shifting to the highest possible gear once you're out of the parking lot.

But the mid-range acceleration is pretty insane for a crossover. Give it half-throttle or more coming down an entrance ramp or passing on a two-lane road, and it moves out so much more quickly than you'd ever expect -- especially given how sensible and not fast it looks. Yeah, I see the luxury badge, but it's the color of tree bark and it weighs a not insubstantial 4,200 pounds.

But it's very quick. And the engine sounds great starting around 5,000 rpm. And I don't have any complaints about the throttle response. Maybe it's not quite as sharp as I'd like in D, but it isn't bothersome enough that I felt like I had to be in Sport mode to be happy. The only time I used it for any sustained period was on NF 25 in Washington.

This might be my favorite application of the N55 single-turbo inline-6 I've sampled to date. But really, it just reinforces in my mind that everyone should experience the free-revving character of a BMW inline-6 (with or without forced induction) sometime in his lifetime.

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Erin Riches, Senior Editor

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