November 23, 2012
Usually the front passenger gets the bum deal in that their seat doesn't get all the bells and whistles the driver does. And if there is some adjustability there, it's usually manual. But not so with our 2012 BMW X3! Case in point, driving on the 10 West toward the setting sun, when the huge visor can't block out the sun, just quickly adjust the height of the seat. And there's no ratcheting of it, it's power-adjustable.
October 19, 2012
The BMW X3's sun visors do not extend. They should. As the photo shows, there is a significant gap between the visor and B pillar that is easily exploited by our nearest star. I imagine this is made worse by the fact I sit so far back.
At this price point, this is a disappointing missing feature.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor
October 16, 2012
Yesterday I got hit with a raging headache, and needed to check out of the bright office lights for a bit. Grabbing the key to the BMW X3, I took refuge in the basement of our parking garage.
Never having had an occasion before to recline the seatback as far as possible, I was pleasantly surprised to find it could go nearly horizontal.
And so could I.
Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 17,731 miles
October 4, 2012
Sometimes I feel the BMW X3 was designed for me. Its larger sibling, the X5, is too big for me to have everything I need within reach. The petite X3 has everything in Donna size. With that said...
Despite the many ways you can configure the driver seat in the 2012 BMW X3, I can never seem to get it just right. You probably remember the time that I got my fingers stuck in the manual seat cushion lever. Well, I learned to not do that again.
It's the power controls I've been fussing with lately. They allow you to move the seat forward, back, up, down, tilt, etc. You can adjust the width of the back support separately from the lumbar support. It does so many things. BUT, I can't get the back of the seat cushion to go low enough for me so I can reach the pedals properly. I lower the seat as far as it can go and then I can only tilt it forward to make it go lower. The back of the cushion won't budge. I have to compensate by tilting the backrest further back.
I can get myself into a safe driving position but it's not as comfortable as I would like. I wish the back of the seat cushion could go a little bit lower. BMW has thought of everything except the shortness of my legs.
Nice three-level heat, though ;)
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @ 17,048 miles
August 08, 2012
The weather has been really hot and unpleasant here this week. But it makes for great sunsets.
And now for my beat-a-dead-horse A/C review. I wish the air conditioner in the BMW X3 was stronger and quicker acting. It's been the same in most recent BMWs we've had come through here. It just doesn't blast in your face the way most Americans want it to. Well, at least the way this American wants it to. Yes, it cools off the car...eventually. But not quick enough for my hot blood. I can't stand the heat and I like instant gratification.
This is one area where our domestic automakers will always win in my book. We know how to make a strong, cold, Arctic-blast A/C.
July 04, 2012
As you may have read, I was in Arizona this past weekend checking out a new potential Long Term car. On my way there the temperature hit triple-digits right around 11am and didn't drop below that until something like 8 pm.
During this time I stayed on the throttle keeping up with the notoriously quick Arizona traffic. The good news is that, despite keeping the AC on full blast, the BMW's temp gauge never moved.
The bad thing is that despite the AC being on full-bore, max, recirculate the entire time, we were still hot the entire time. The "we" in this situation means me and my "I'm always cold no matter what and these seat heaters aren't warm enough" girlfriend.
The X3 may drive great and pull hard, but it can learn a lot from your average GMC Terrain about how to keep Americans cool.
Mike Magrath, Features Editor, Inside Line @ 10,400 miles
July 02, 2012
Over the past couple of weeks, in roughly four trips, I've put some 1,100 miles on our 2012 BMW X3 and the (manually) adjustable thigh support made it is relaxing and pleasant as possible.
Too many cars today have annoyingly short seats that make you feel like you're sitting on a step after about 20 minutes behind the wheel. This solution probably doesn't cost a ton (compared with electronic ones), but is worth every penny.
April 13, 2012
Two snowboards, three occupants, snow gear, bags, beer, food -- everything needed for last weekend's snowboarding trip all fit into our longterm 2012 BMW X3 with ease. We folded down the far-right backseat for the 'boards -- that way, the backseat occupant had as much space as possible. No roof rack. Fine by me since roof racks leave your pricey gear conspicuously on display. (Oh, and pardon the grainy image above, please.)
As for the ride quality, some thoughts -- it's firmly damped. Not harsh. It has very good control. I seems to have limited suspension travel, so on broken, nasty pavement it loses some composure. However, it makes great use of the travel it does have. Within those bounds it's sharp and nimble without being punishing.
Summary: Great roadtrip vehicle. Would drive again.
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor
April 09, 2012
This weekend we drove the long-term 2012 BMW X3 up to Mammoth Lakes in Central California. Editor JayKav did all of the driving so I'll leave those impressions, plus trip fuel economy, to him. But here's what a front-seat and backseat passenger think of the compact SUV over 600 miles.
Front-seat passenger (me): In terms of seat comfort, honestly I didn't find it especially comfortable. The taut seat leather doesn't have much give so it's kind of hard to sit on for a long period of time. And the side bolsters get in the way of relaxing arms, as they do in most cars equipped with them. Maybe it was just problematic for someone of my stature where the bolsters fall just so, pushing the upper arms forward. And naturally, this is fine for a driver who has both hands on the steering wheel, but for someone who just wants to lie back, it wasn't the best as I kept trying to find a comfortable way to sit.
I did like the fact that as a passenger, I can plug in destinations into the nav system even while the car is moving. Especially crucial when there's no phone signal to access Yelp and you need to find the nearest rest stop.
And since the driver and I tend to disagree on what's a comfortable temperature, dual climate controls were greatly appreciated.
Overall the ride was smooth and quiet.
Backseat passenger: My friend Esther shared the backseat with a couple of snowboards poking in from the cargo area but had nothing but nice things to say about her experience back there. "The seatback is at the right angle to be comfortable. Usually backseats that don't adjust tend to be too upright for me," she said. And since she's 5'4" she enjoyed plenty of legroom and even stuck her big purse in the footwell.
Having rear controls was also nice as she could adjust fan speed and temperature via the handy dandy dials located behind the front center console.
But she ended up storing her small water bottle in the door bin instead of the fold-down armrest with the cupholders, for more elbow room.
Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 6,355 miles