2012 BMW X3 Long Term Road Test


IL Track Tested: 2012 BMW X3 vs. 2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

March 20, 2012

tracktested_x3-vs-evoque.jpg

With a starting price of $43,595, our 2012 BMW X3 xDrive35i is a nice way to make a statement. The BMW says, "I'm here. I put a high priority on style and function."

But what about a car that just puts a high priority on style? You know, a car that was designed with influence from Posh Spice? A car that just might be redundantly named the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque. With its rising beltline, smallish cargo hold and the ability to be had in a two-door body style, the Evoque's practicality (or lack thereof) makes our X3 feel like an Enclave.

And yet even if the Range Rover has a leg up off the beaten path, both promise slick moves at your neighborhood test track. In a straight line, it's hard to imagine our BMW X3 xDrive35i with its 300-horsepower turbocharged inline-6 losing to the Evoque and its 240-horse turbocharged inline-4. But what about braking and our handling tests? Read on.

2012 BMW X3 2012 LRRR Evoque
0-30 (sec.): 2.1 2.7
0-45 (sec.): 3.7 4.8
0-60 (sec.): 5.8 7.4
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec.): 5.5 7.1
0-75 (sec.): 8.3 11
1/4-mile (sec @ mph): 14.1 @ 97.0 15.5 @ 89.8
30-0 (ft): 31 29
60-0 (ft): 123 118
Skid pad lateral accel (g): 0.80 0.83
Slalom 64.4 62.9

Vehicle: 2012 BMW X3 xDrive35i

Odometer: 3,694
Date: 03/06/2012
Driver: Chris Walton
Base price: $42,700
Price as tested: $53,845

Specifications:
Drive Type: Front-engine, all-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Eight-speed automatic
Engine Type: Longitudinal, turbocharged, direct-injected inline-6
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 2,979/182
Redline (rpm): 7,000
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 300 @ 5,800
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 300 @ 1,300
Brake Type (front): 12.9-inch ventilated discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Brake Type (rear): 13.0-inch ventilated discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Suspension Type(front): Independent MacPherson struts, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent MacPherson struts, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): 245/45R19 (102V) M+S
Tire Size (rear): 245/45R19 (102V) M+S
Tire Brand: Goodyear
Tire Model: Eagle LS2
Tire Type: All-season, run-flat
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 4,225

Test Results:

Acceleration
0-30 (sec): 2.1 (2.5 w/TC on)
0-45 (sec): 3.7 (4.1 w/TC on)
0-60 (sec): 5.8 (6.3 w/TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 5.5 (5.8 w/TC on)
0-75 (sec): 8.3 (8.9 w/TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 14.1 @ 97.0 (14.4 @ 96.9 w/TC on)

Braking:
30-0 (ft): 31
60-0 (ft): 123

Handling
Slalom (mph): 64.4 dynamic mode ( 63.0 w/TC on)
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.80 dynamic ( 0.78 w/TC on)

Db @ Idle: 41.6
Db @ Full Throttle: 73.7
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 64.7

Acceleration: Holy guacamole! This was an utter surprise to me because I hadn't looked at the ungainly badge on the side of the X3 (xDrive35i). Strong AWD launch, but then at 4,000 rpm the afterburners light and the X3 really comes alive. Default/first run in Drive + Normal mode; subsequent in Sport Drive + Sport Plus. The close-ratio gearset keeps the engine in the sweet spot after each velvety upshift (with spark retard or some such) exactly at (or slightly over) redline. Holds a gear past redline (to 7,300 rpm) and also performs matched-rev downshifts.

Braking: Medium-travel medium-firm pedal never wavered. Moderate-to-light dive, straight and steady with slight increase in distance in middle runs that disappeared by the last.

Handling:

Skid pad: Dynamic-mode (non-defeat) ESC was virtually nonexistent on the skid pad, allowing the X3 to pile on gentle-yet-terminal understeer at the limit. Good balance and tractability but no chance of rotation. Steering goes light as understeer builds (as it should). Slight difference with ESC on, where it imperceptibly bled throttle.

Slalom: Again, dynamic-mode ESC is rather lenient unless yaw and steering are crossed for too long. If this happens, the run is scrapped anyway, so it's really an "Oh sh*t" safety net. Good front-end bite and quick to react in transitions. Very trustworthy so I was able to coax some lift-throttle rotation to snub understeer when approaching the limit. With ESC on, it used the brakes sparingly to maintain smooth arcs between cones but wouldn't allow lift-stab-lift-stab. Remarkable speed and agility for something this size.

Vehicle: 2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

Odometer: 788
Date: 11/22/2011
Driver: Mike Monticello
Base price: $41,145
Price as tested: $59,670

Specifications:
Drive Type: Front-engine, all-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Six-speed automatic
Engine Type: Transverse turbocharged, direct-injected inline-4
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 1,999/122
Redline (rpm): 6,850
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 240 @ 5,500
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 251 @ 1,750
Brake Type (front): 11.8-inch ventilated discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Brake Type (rear): 11.9-inch ventilated discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Suspension Type(front): Independent MacPherson struts, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent MacPherson struts, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): 245/45R20 (99V)
Tire Size (rear): 245/45R20 (99V)
Tire Brand: Michelin
Tire Model: Latitude Sport
Tire Type: Asymmetrical summer
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 4,015

Test Results:

Acceleration
0-30 (sec): 2.7 (3.1 w/TC on)
0-45 (sec): 4.8 (5.2 w/TC on)
0-60 (sec): 7.4 (7.7 w/TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 7.1 (7.3 w/TC on)
0-75 (sec): 11.0 (11.2 w/TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 15.5 @ 89.8 (15.7 @ 89.8 w/TC on)

Braking:
30-0 (ft): 29
60-0 (ft): 118

Handling
Slalom (mph): 62.9 dynamic mode ( 62.4 w/TC on)
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.83 dynamic ( 0.79 w/TC on)

Db @ Idle: 43.8
Db @ Full Throttle: 73.4
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 64.1

Acceleration: Definite turbo lag off the line, and the brakes aren't strong enough to hold the Evoque in place for proper power braking at launch. Once to 3,000 rpm the engine feels quite strong. Some lag with each upshift. Shifts are quick but a bit abrupt. Manual shifting via steering wheel paddles (no console lever, just a knob). Sort of blips the throttle on manual downshifts. Will not hold gears to limiter.

Braking: The Evoque's first stop of 118 feet is actually pretty good considering it weighs 4,000 pounds. But by just the third stop the brakes were smoking heavily, and by the fourth stop we called it quits. For that, it gets a Poor rating.

Handling:

Skid pad: Good feel from the steering and reasonable grip from the tires. Chassis is responsive. There's a major difference here between ESC on and off (unlike in the slalom, where they felt the same). With it "off" the system didn't jump in at all. With it on, it massively cut the throttle to the point you could just keep your right foot planted.

Slalom: A real shame that the ESC system cannot be defeated, even in "DSC off" mode. The Evoque has surprisingly quick steering and a competent chassis with good damping, but if you get at all aggressive with it around the cones it cuts the throttle and adds brakes. It's counter-intuitive to have such quick steering, then right after you turn in, the stability system freaks out and cuts all your speed. Let this thing breathe and it would put up a respectable time.

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