First generation X3, a true BMW. Probably too firm for most American drivers but I'm very sure footed easy to park compact SUV. Great for changing road conditions. Never loses traction with the great X drive
2009 BMW X3 with full options - I bought this car used in March, 2017 with 83,000 miles on it to replace a 2007 BMW X3 with 165,000 miles which was the nicest car I had ever owned. This one is better. The transmission on the 2009 is smoother than the 2007, this one has the upgraded stereo and it sounds better, but also just the tuner knob is nicer and easier to use. It could be just my perception, but it seems more stable in corners at speed. Gas mileage is great on both - I get 21 or 22 mixed, and 26 to 28 highway in the Rocky mountains between 50 and 80 miles an hour. MPG is one of the best features, and it comes from a powerful engine that is ready to pass anything, anytime even going up a mountain. Front seats are fully adjustable and very comfortable. Drive noise is quite minimal, making it hard to drive anything less insulated. The over all size is small, which I like for fitting through traffic and parking, and I find the cargo space to be large for the size of the car. Traction control with Michelin X-Ice tires is excellent on snow, frozen hard surface snow, and good on clear ice. Braking is crisp and tight, as is the steering. The ride is firm, but I found I like it better than Mercedes ML350 and ML 550 that I test drove. Driving it really does feel like a sporty car - much better visibility than a Porsche Cayenne, and the Porsche and Mercedes 550 felt too tight in the cockpit for me. I'm 6'3", and my only real complaint is that the transmission box is wide in the X3 and pushes my right foot in at an odd angle that makes my knee and hip feel tweaked. It bugs me, but when my 2007 got totaled by a friend, and I had to replace it, after looking at the Mercedes and a Mazda CX-7, this one is just soooo fun to drive (and the gear shift is useful and fun) and gets such good mileage, that I couldn't get as excited about anything else. **If you get one, you must rotate tires regularly. Irregular wear on tires will confuse the traction control and transmission and make you think it's a junk car, but it's your tires and/or suspension**
Due to an old back injury I needed something with more supportive/ comfortable seats that was easy to get in and out of. I tried almost everything out there until I found BMW's X3. The seats and height were absolutely perfect so I ordered the car based heavily on those two things and relied on BMW's reputation for the rest. I certainly was not disappointed. It goes and stops like nothing I have ever driven and if you don't watch your speed it will easily creep into triple digit territory. It corners like it's a car and although firm, it rides like a dream. The fit and finish is top notch and the cabin is quiet. It has great head and legroom and everything is where it's supposed to be.
Comfort, speed, braking, handling, fit, finish and quality. The silky smooth engine! It has a spare. It can tow 3500 lbs. Gas mileage for a 4000 lb vehicle is great (I seem to average about 25 mpg no matter how I drive it).
Other than better iPod integration I can't think of anything.
My wife was tired of her Camry and wanted to sit high in traffic. Looked at the RX350, the E35 and even the new GLK, but nothing matched the driving dynamics of the X3. I don't even like SUVs, but I really enjoyed driving this one. Brakes are even stronger than in my Mercedes, and perhaps the best highway ride of any car we've owned. Only complaint is the stereo controls are small and look alike, which is a common problem in BMW interiors. We got a very basic X3. Vinyl seats, base stereo, no nav and no option packages. Ours has the automatic, heated front seats and privacy glass; no other options. What is amazing is that even without any of the packages the car looks and feels great.
Handling, acceleration, braking and ride. Interior is extremely well designed.