2013 BMW X3 xDrive28i vs. 2012 BMW X3 xDrive35i Track Test

Four Cylinders vs. Six in BMW's Compact Crossover


  • 2013 BMW X3 xDrive28i - Action Front 3/4 - 1

    2013 BMW X3 xDrive28i - Action Front 3/4 - 1

    This X3 has the M Sport package. | November 06, 2012

11 Photos

Edmunds tests hundreds of vehicles a year. Cars, trucks, SUVs, we run them all, and the numbers always tell a story. With that in mind we present "Track Tested," a quick rundown of all the data we collect at the track, along with comments direct from the test drivers. Enjoy.

Our long-term 2012 BMW X3 xDrive35i is, to put it simply, a beast. Armed with a 300-horsepower turbocharged inline-6, our six-cylinder X3 has "more motor than you'll ever need," and that's exactly how we like things.

And while not everyone shares our penchant for "More, bigger, faster!" BMW's new base engine offering in the 2013 X3 is no slouch.

The 2013 X3 xDrive28i comes with a slick, direct-injected 2.0-liter inline-4 that's being boosted to 240 hp and 260 pound-feet of torque. This mill replaces the naturally aspirated inline-6 that also made 240 hp. The name of the game here is efficiency, and the 2013 xDrive28i returns 28 mpg highway/21 city and an EPA combined rating of 24 mpg compared with 19/26/21 from the xDrive35i.

Picking the 28i over the 35i will save you $5,000 for the 2013 model year, but what do you give up? We took one to the track and compared it with our long-term six-cylinder X3 to find out.

  2012 BMW X3 xDrive 35i 2013 BMW X3 xDrive 28i
0-30 (sec.): 2.1 2.4
0-45 (sec.): 3.7 4.2
0-60 (sec.): 5.8 6.8
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec.): 5.5 6.5
0-75 (sec.): 8.3 10.1
1/4-mile (sec @ mph): 14.1 @ 97.0 15.0 @ 90.8
     
30-0 (ft): 31 33
60-0 (ft): 123 127
     
Skid Pad Lateral Accel (g): 0.80 0.83
Slalom: 64.4 63.3

Vehicle: 2013 BMW X3 xDrive28i
Odometer: 1,671
Date: 10/23/2012
Driver: Chris Walton
Base Price: $39,395
Price as Tested: $52,095

Specifications
Drive Type: Front-engine, all-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Eight-speed automatic
Engine Type: Turbocharged, direct-injection inline-4
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 1,997/122
Redline (rpm): 7,000
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 240 @ 5,000
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 260 @ 1,250
Brake Type (front): 12.9-inch ventilated disc with single-piston sliding caliper
Brake Type (rear): 13-inch ventilated disc with single-piston sliding caliper
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): 4,179

Test Results

Acceleration
0-30 (sec): 2.4 (3.0 w/ TC on)
0-45 (sec): 4.2 (4.9 w/ TC on)
0-60 (sec): 6.8 (7.4 w/ TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 6.5 (7.0 w/ TC on)
0-75 (sec): 10.1 (10.8 w/ TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 15.0 @ 90.8 (15.4 @ 90.9 w/ TC on)

Braking
30-0 (ft): 33
60-0 (ft): 127

Handling
Slalom (mph): 0.83 (0.79 w/TC on)
Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 63.3 (63.0 w/ TC on)

Db @ Idle: 42.2
Db @ Full Throttle: 66.3
Db @ 70-mph Cruise: 60.7
RPM @ 70: 1,900

Comments

Acceleration: Plenty of torque down low, but a fairly lazy launch nonetheless. Plenty of gears to keep engine on the boil and smooth/rapid upshifts. Same results from Sport and manual-shift mode, as it auto-upshifts regardless.

Braking: First stop was the shortest, and the remainder were tightly grouped and slightly longer. Firm pedal and it remained so throughout.

Handling:

Skid pad: Very slight advantage in dynamic (Sport +) mode here, but still very little interference from ESC either way. Steering is precise but vague-feeling. Effort and build-up feel manufactured. Doesn't self-center the way it ought to.

Slalom: Nondefeat ESC on a BMW?! Non-linear steering response, combined with firm chassis provides a threshold that's hard to predict. Best way through was slow-in/fast-out to maintain progressive throttle — seems to keep ESC at bay. Dreadful steering that doesn't provide intuitive response given the input.

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-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
RPM @ 70 mph: 1,900

Comments:

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 (nondefeat) 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.

The manufacturer provided Edmunds these vehicles for the purposes of evaluation.

Leave a Comment
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Have a question? We're here to help!
Chat*
Chat online with us
Email
Email us at help@edmunds.com
*Available daily 8AM-5PM Pacific
Phone*
Call us at 855-782-4711
SMS*
Text us at ED411