The American Solution - 2012 BMW X3 Long-Term Road Test

2012 BMW X3 Long Term Road Test

2012 BMW X3: The American Solution

February 13, 2012


It's a long way to here from Germany, but the 2012 BMW X3 shows that the guys there finally know the way. Remember when they were so lost, we thought they'd never get here with the right kind of sport-utility?

Like the very first BMW X5, which was a spectacular hot rod, but had a passenger cabin smaller than a BMW 5 series wagon and a tendency to find a ditch whenever it snowed.

Or the first Mercedes-Benz ML, which was (please don't tell anyone), a minivan concept until sport-utilities got popular in the middle of its development cycle so it got dressed up in SUV clothes.

Or the first Porsche Cayenne, which had a dual-range transfer case because those well-meaning engineers at Weissach R&D were sure that every American really wanted to drive his $70,000 SUV with the $3,000 pearlescent paint option to the top of some pillar of red rock in Moab, Utah.

Instead the new BMW X3 is exactly what Americans have wanted all along, an all-weather wagon with a little room to spread out inside. It's quiet, nice and yet speedy, and so far it doesn't seem like it'll find the ditch when it snows.

It's understandable that the Germans didn't realize that we need a specialized vehicle for this sort of all-weather mobility, since they drive in weather even more fraught than ours in plain old cars. But that's just how we are in America, and it's so far from Germany that you need a pretty big set of binoculars to figure out what's happening from Munich or Stuttgart.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, @ 2,282 miles.

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