With a 300-horsepower turbocharged inline-6 hooked to an eight-speed automatic, the 2011 X3 is so quick it borders on fast. Power delivery can be abrupt at low rpm, but is smooth once the turbos kick in.
Even though it's a crossover, the X3 is still a BMW and it has the precise steering and solid chassis we've come to expect from BMW. All-season tires lack grip, however.
Thanks to adjustable suspension, the BMW is just as good a luxury crossover as it is a sporting one.
It's admirably quiet inside. Road and wind noise are muted and seem far off. The impression of a tight insulated cabin is palpable, especially when cruising.
Now that BMW has ironed out the kinks with iDrive, the X3 has a logical, easy-to-use cabin that is designed with the driver in mind. Most functions are simple to use without having to look away from the road.
Visibility is good, but like most vehicles in this segment, rear visibility is limited. A rearview camera, park distance control and good mirrors help with this.
Seat Access & Space
The seating position in the X3 is high, but entry/exit is easy. Interior space is good especially for taller drivers.
Cargo & Storage
The BMW X3 has fold-flat second-row seats and a nifty system of rails and latch points to securely hold cargo.
The design is minimalist, but materials are high quality and assembled expertly.