I had to buy an AWD SUV for constant trips over the Santiam Pass. I went to multiple dealerships, and this vehicle fit my budget, and was AWD SUV. I bought the vehicle for $9,500 with 120,000 miles. Unfortunately during the entire process, my phone was broken, so I couldn't really research much. Afterward I found out the vehicle at the time was worth a little over $6k, but I have had no buyer's remorse. It gets about 19-23 MPG, which is to be expected on a 2004 SUV. As of Feb 2017, and in Springfield Oregon, it costs me about $45 to fill up my entire gas(premium) tank. The gas tank is 17.7 gallons. The steering is very "tight" feeling, as opposed to other cars I've driven. This took me about an hour to adjust to how tight the steering really is, and now I will prefer tight steering going forward. This car is very comfortable, and easy to ride in. It is really spacious, and NOT cramped at all. Men over 6' have plenty of head space/leg space in the front. In the back, they have the same amount of head space, and plenty of leg space depending on who they are sitting behind. I have almost NO blind spots. The visibility in the vehicle is incredible. I have had 1 incident with this car in Dec 16: the original 2004 starter(the starter was labeled 2004 BMW) went out. So far, no other issues, and I wouldn't really say that a 12 year old starter going out was an issue, it was time! My boyfriend and father were able to diagnose that it was the starter, and they were able to remove the old starter and install the new one for the cost of the starter at $150, from O'Reilly's. I do know, however, that it was difficult for them to do the work, and it took them several hours, as the starter is located in a hard-to-reach spot. I use 5W-30 full synthetic and have the oil/oil filter regularly changed. I use premium gas, as the manual states to do so. My particular model doesn't have a nav system, it only has the "business stereo" which is pretty basic, but not too shabby. There are steering wheel controls: radio/cd and cruise control. Excellent heated front seats. A full sunroof, that extends to the back seat. The back trunk isn't too large, but works well for me, and if I need to haul something that takes up more room, I just put the back row seats down. The battery is very accessible. The battery is located in the trunk area under the floor board, and there are charging posts by the battery in the trunk and under the front hood, so you can be jumped (if necessary) by front or back. Also, the back cargo door can not be opened without the battery in or if it is completely dead. If you have to open the back door, you must climb in the back, lift the back floorboard. In the door there is a small rectangle opening in the middle. Stick a screw driver in the hole and slide it over, then the back door will pop open. My seats are leather, and have no cracking as of Feb 17. There are a few spots(high-use areas) where the leather dye has warn, but not much, and not noticeable at first glance. This car does have an auto-headlight feature, and sensor windshield wipers. The auto headlights work 100% of the time. I haven't quite figured out the windshield wiper sensors, nor have I put time or effort into that.
Love the BMW. Although the car starts out as pricey, $35,000 at the time, I don't think I have spent more than $5000 in the time I have owned it, 12 years! Not a very high price to pay to drive such a responsive automobile. The quality is there and all my standard options are just starting to become standard on new cars today. You feel real good driving such a beautiful car. I think there is an elegance that is unique to a BMW owner when driving this vehicle. This is a SOLID vehicle that took a hit from a 20 ton drilling truck and suffered $5000 in body damage. The car has been checked and given a thumbs up as to any major, structural damage. This was three years ago. Seems Sarasota Drilling Company does not believe in maintaining their equipment as I do. Their BRAKES went out and the driver warned his supervisor...Go figure. They also do not put drivers with a CDL behind the wheels. It is truly a driving machine. Do NOT skimp on tires. The better the tire, the better the handling. Sound system is outstanding. Visibility is excellent unlike other SUVs I have driven. NO Blindspots! It is just a Nice Car and my 3rd BMW. I have also owned the 2000 X3 and a 1988 740i. These cars are excellent investments as based on the resale value that they hold. Assembled in Austria and the Engine is from Germany. Lots of PEP in this little car! My favorite things about this BMW is the HUGE sun roof and the XENON headlamps that turn with the vehicle.
While our X3 hasn't been completely trouble-free over the 11 years and 184,000 miles we have owned it, it has remained a joy to drive. It has adequate cargo space and the interior and exterior have held up very well. Our son took it to college when my wife bought her 2009 328i, but after a year she took the X3 back and gave our son the 3er. We fully expect to keep it until it hits 200,000 miles- at which point we will probably replace it with a CPO X1.
The steering has a very heavy feeling, not sure if this is common to this vehicle type. The interior has faded, which is to be expected in an older vehicle, but evidently BMW uses different types of material that may have all been the same color when it rolled off the line, but now some elements are totally different colors. Also, the seats are a bit hard and unsupportive - I expected more in this class of vehicle. Those things being said, I am happy overall with the vehicle, but I haven't had it that long. Update: I have now had this vehicle for just over a year. In that time I have had to have the fuel pump replaced, the water pump replaced and now my mechanic says it needs $1150 worth of repairs to solve the loud vibrating noise when driving above 20 mph. Evidently it is the drive shaft u-joints, and since it is 4-wheel drive, this will be a complicated fix. I will have over $13,000 invested in a vehicle that is now worth about half that amount. I am extremely disappointed in this vehicle and will get rid of it as soon as I can. Two year update: Have had very few people interested in this vehicle when I have listed it for sale. Now it needs a new battery and the dealer wants $700 to do it. Found one at a battery shop for $205, but the owner says that installation in a BMW is tricky. I am probably not doing myself any favors in the sales department by writing an honest assessment of this vehicle, however, when it is running well, it is a great vehicle with a solid ride and great handling. With all the safety features, I would put my child behind the wheel any day.
I have had my X3 for 10 years and will never purchase another BMW. It started out with having a faulty rim. I then have had 10 window regulators replaced, starting within the first year of ownership. I have also replaced the transfer case and rear differential costing over $6,000. Now the transfer case motor has failed. I have only put 100,000 miles on my car in the 10 years I have owned it. You failed BMW. I will not be a repeat customer.