2012 BMW X3 Long Term Road Test


2012 BMW X3: Ramp Travel Index

February 04, 2012

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Our 2012 BMW X3 is eligible for the RTI ramp treatment because it is equipped with AWD and is SUV-shaped. If that's not enough acronyms for you, get a job with the DOD (Department of Defense). When I worked there some years ago I had access to a government/military acronym dictionary that was 3 inches think, containing many 3-layer nested sub-acronyms and initialisms. And yes, "fubar" was in there. Not sure about "RTFM." Had to be, right?

But I digress.

This photo above depicts the upper limit reached by our 2012 X3. The lower valance cleared easily at the bottom but as the suspension compressed it came into very slight contact with the cheese grater that is out ramp's traction surface. No little plastic shavings were produced, however.

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All she wrote.

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Handling-focused stabilizer bars and a moderate amount of suspension travel doesn't add up to all that much articulation. This is still a soft-roader, but the X3 did hike its left front almost 50 percent higher than the Juke.

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Twelve and three-sixteenths of lift translates to 35.63 inches of progress up the ramp. Dividing this by the X3's 110.6-inch wheelbase and multiplying by 1,000 brings boils down to an RTI value of 322.

How does this measure up to other vehicles? We haven't tested many, so the RTI leaderboard is rather short. We have lots of gaps to fill in. At present the X3 is one up from the bottom of the list.

Vehicle Wheel Lift Ramp Climb Wheelbase RTI
2010 Toyota Land Cruiser 24.81 72.55 112.2 647
2012 Jeep Wrangler Sport 18.31 53.54 95.4 561
2011 Lexus GX 460 20.19 59.02 109.8 538
2012 BMW X3 xDrive35i 12.19 35.63 110.6 322
2011 NissanJuke SL AWD 8.75 25.58 99.6 257

Everything shown above is an unmodified stock vehicle. We're keeping track of our Jeep modifications separately.

This finishing order makes sense considering the relative off-road mission and reputation -- not to mention hardware -- of each vehicle. The Toyota and Lexus lead the list in wheel lift thanks to KDSS, but our unmodified base Jeep sneaks up amongst them on the strength of its short wheelbase.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing

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