My wife wanted a mid size SUV which was NOT front wheel drive or front wheel biased.
This pretty much directed us to Audi Q5, BMW X3and Mercedes GLK350.
Each had its strong points, but the BMW X3 had the most useable space and no real negatives.
We're very happy with our decision. Ours was pretty well optioned and had the highest sticker price of the 3, but with USAA and BMW incentives, wound up the least expensive.
The base engine has plenty of zip and is reasonably fuel efficient (not quite up to EPA estimates, but still not bad).
It handles nicely on the road.
If I did not drive a Mercedes E350 Sport, I'm sure I would be more effusive in my praise of the X3.
After 2-1/2 years, my original review is still accurate. I have never had to take the car to the dealership except for routine maintenance. My wife is the principle driver and she loves the car--excellent visibility, crisp handling, super functionality. She uses the car typically as a "grocery getter", but on 4 trips of about 500 mi. each, the car performed flawlessly. We have had no second thoughts about this purchase.
I want to start by saying this was a lease car and i am glad it was a lease i could walk away from. i have had 5 other BMWs before this and with this and My 650 convertible i have switched to Lexus. As far as reliability goes, i never had a problem. it always started and stopped, and ran like it should. My problems were the crazy electronics and dealer handling. 1st problem--it has automatic rain sensing wipers, but unlike other cars with automatic wipers, you have to manually turn them on every time so they will work. so they should be called manual wipers. 2nd problem--the parking sensors have to be manually turned on every time when parking. they automatically turn on when backing up, but if you are parking they don't come on unless you turn them on every time. if you are used to sensors that are automatic on other makes of cars, you can hit something thinking the sensors are working when they are not. 3rd problem. the tire pressure monitors freak out with any change of temperature and when they do, you have to take it to the dealer to get them to reset it(this happens about once every week in oklahoma or so). you will get sick of going to the dealer because you cant reset it yourself and it wont let you go into sport mode with a tire error. it also over rides the backup camera and you can be backing up and the camera will shut off to warn you about the tires which can lead to an accident. 4th problem. 5th problem--while the phone connects automatically (with a long delay) to the car, it often wont connect the audio so you have to go in every time to manually turn it on. this is about 5 screens into a menu. this occurs about 90% of the time 6th problem. the audio never remembers where you left it tuned. it will start up in stations i never listen to or settings that i don't use. i bought it new so these are not the previous owners settings. 7th problem the car on several occasions opened all the windows and sunroof over night(twice when it rained) for no reason. not a pleasant thing to wake up to. 8th problem--the tailgate can be opened on the remote while in drive. if you put a key in your pocket or purse and it bumps the tailgate button, it can open on you while driving. this has happened numerous times at stoplights and drive-thrus and will freak you out and make you get out of the car to shut it manually as a risk of getting run over at a stop light. 9th problem--the run flat tires cannot be fixed, only replaced. they also wear out extremely fast on the X3 you will get about 25k miles before they have to be replaced. the 650 only gets 15k miles between replacements. you have no spare or place to store one so switching to better tires that are not run flats leave you with no spare if you do get a flat 10th problem too many things are settings in the i-drive system. the system is cumbersome and very menu heavy and not intuitive. you have to go through menu after menu when it would be better to have more things on one page and less page changing. 11th problem you have to use the i drive button to accept terms and conditions every time you start the car if you want to use anything on the nav screen. starting my car is a process. i have to hit ok to the disclaimer that will pop up every time i start the car. then wait for the tire pressure monitor warning to come on so i can clear that screen, then i have to go 5 screens into the radio menu to turn the audio from my phone back on(it doesn't work every time and sometimes i have to switch back and forth between radio and bluetooth several times for it to switch on. then i am ready to drive. i have timed this and it takes about 2.5 minutes on average. if you don't think this is a long time try waiting in your car for 2.5 minutes while having a someone honking at at you because he wants your parking space 12th problem--when i first got the car i could turn the car off and it would automatically put the car in park for me. after a software upgrade from the dealer, the car will freak out if i don't place it in park before i turn the engine off. 13th problem. when locking the door from the outside touch button, it takes about 15 seconds to actually lock. you will have to stand with the car to make sure it locks before you walk off and i end up hitting the button about 20 times before it actually locks the doors. there is no delay if i use the remote, but then i have to dig it out of my pocket and that defeats the purpouse of a key fob 14th problem is with the dealer in Oklahoma City. if i have a problem, there is a week delay to bring the car in to get it worked on. if i want the free rental car they offer, there is a 2 week delay to bring the car in for servicing. My local lexus dealer can get me in the same day with a rental car 15th problem. while hey claim everyting is included in the warranty including brakes and oilchanges, they dont include alignment, which had to be done twice
This x3 is an agile and fun ride. Zero to 70 mph in seconds, quiet even after rattling around farm to market roads with farm or remodeling supplies. The color is very nice and even when I might exceed the posted speeds, no tickets so I am (tongue in cheek) thinking it is stealthy too! It is very cool looking and I've had lots of positive comments from both men and women so not much of a "chick ride" in my opinion. Only drawback is the built in safety feature that I dislike... If the driver or front seat passenger doesn't hit the unlock button positioned dead center of the dashboard then your passengers must "double tap" the door handles to open, which roughly translates to them trying to jerk the darn things off of the doors even if you remind them repeatedly!!! I wish that feature could be disabled but my service advisor tells me it can't.
I recently "test drove" a pre-owned 2014 X3. The dealer was very knowledgeable and we ended up driving about 15 miles during my drive. The car had 34K miles on it, yet it still looked new. The leather seats were in great shape. I have read some articles that mention a firm ride. I have been driving for 45 years and the X1 has one of the nicest (and sportiest) rides of the many vehicles I have driven. The ride was certainly not overly firm. In fact, it was downright fun. When the rear seats are folded, there is a surprising amount for room. If you want to have a little fun while driving your small SUV, this is the one to get. I just wish the new models weren't so expensive. Forty-five to fifty-five thousand is a lot of money for a small SUV, regardless of how nice it is. BTW: I did not reply to all of ratings because I did not have the opportunity to try all of them.
Purchased vehicle about a month ago and have driven 2200 miles. Was nervous at first about 4 cyl engine but it has plenty of power. Recently got 27mpg on trip and that was better than Lexus 400h we traded in. Special ordered vehicle just the way we wanted with tech,parking assist, xenons, upgraded stereo and convenience package. Vehicle is very comfortable on long trips and heated steering wheel is a nice on cold nights. Build quality and dealer experience was first rate. We did purchase tire hazard warranty because of the run flats.