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Old 01-09-2006, 11:05 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: X5world
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BMW X3 - First Day Impressions

Contributed by: glenberk

After a 3 months wait since
I placed my order just after Thanksgiving, I now realize more than ever
why I fell in love with this design ever since I first read about it
and test drove it last Fall. Why? Because I just finished driving it
for the past several hours after taking it away from the dealer earlier
this afternoon.



Like many here, I have tried to read nearly every post on this message
board during my wait for my X3 2.5i. Many of the posts back in December
and early January helped influence my choice of colors and options, as
I kept taking in feedback learned from others here and incorporated
that knowledge into my specific order. I realize from this board that
there are 12 different combinations of colors/options that different
people swear by! Personally, I think there are no "wrongs" in the
decisions that each of us who chose to purchase an X3 have to make as
we navigate our way from reading the brochure to having the keys placed
in our hands. So, I hope that others here refrain from making a
critique of the things I now write in the hope that these words may
help benefit others as I know I have benefitted from this site in the
past.



1. Black Bumpers. I happen to live in a city (Boston). Where I live,
bumpers get nicked. They get nicked all the time. Because of this, I am
so glad that the X3's bumpers come in non-glossy plain black. Over the
course of several years of ownership, I am absolutely convinced that
the X3's bumpers will stand the wear of time far better than any of the
painted bumpers. I've read dozens of posts criticizing the black
bumpers as not up to "premium car" standards. Well, I for one applaud
BMW's decision on this one. The black bumpers made me more interested
in the vehicle, not less. The other day I took the dealer's limo
shuttle from downtown to the showroom. A woman was commenting that she
was going to pickup her new 5 series which was having its front bumper
replaced for the 3rd time because of unsightly scratches. Listening to
her made me glad I was about to receive my new X3.



2. Outside colors. I chose Titanium Silver. But frankly, I have come to
conclusion that the X3 looks great in each and every one of the colors
offered. I know that most people here think Silver Grey looks best with
the black bumpers. Others think one of the other colors is better. I
say every one's choice is the right one for them! I chose light Silver
because I plan on holding on to this car for at least 5 years. And I am
convinced based on my prior vehicle that light silver hides scratches
and other imperfections better than any of the other more darker
colors. I think the black bumbers, black interior, dark privacy glass
(ordered option), and black roof rack rails set off against the
Titanium Silver provide wonderful complements to one other. After
spending the past few hours with those choices, I am feeling perfectly
happy with those decisions. And encourage others to just choose
whichever color combos they personally like the best.



3. Sensatec/Leatherette. I decided not to pay for leather after seeing
first-hand what the sesatec/leatherette looked like and felt. Sure, the
leather is wonderful. But I am on a somewhat limited budget, and wanted
to use the savings to fund other options such as the sunroof and heated
seats.



4. Non-premium package. I am part of the definite minority which
ordered a 2.5i without getting the premium package. Although the PP is
definitely worth the bundled price, I decided against it for the
following reasons: (a) I strongly prefer manual climate control over
automatic climate. The knobs on the manual system are easier to adjust
while driving, and provide for far greater control of how much air to
send to the different registers (windshield, chest, or floor); (b) I
didn't need the luxury of power seats as I will be the primary driver
of this vehicle; (c) I didn't want the extra storage bins and nets as I
think the vehicle seems more fancy without the elastic nets on the back
of the front seats and next to the front passenger's left leg; and (d)
I used the money instead to pay for the Navigation option.



5. Navigation option. This option is absolutely fantastic. A friend who
is really into handheld gps navigation was stunned this afternoon by
just how well BMW integrates the navigation system into the vehicle. Of
primary importance, the Z4 and X3 are the only beemers that have the
pop-up screen in the dashboard. This elevated location is far superior
than the lower placed units in the 5 or 6 or 7 or X5 series. You can
almost see the screen without having to take one's eyes off the road; a
slight glance to the center is all that is needed. There is no need to
look "down", to look away from the road as one has to do in the more
"premium" beemers. The display and graphics and integration with the
radio are absolutely superb. The new (as of 2003) dvd based system is
far superior to the old cd based units. The system responds very
quickly, and contains a tremendous amount of very useful information.
This option is the sleeper of all those offered. I strongly suggest
that anyone on the fence to go ahead and get it. Give up on some of the
other "frills" if necessary. The navigation is one of the best of its
kind in any vehicle. Yes, a touch screen ala Lexis would make it
better. But it is great in its current form.



6. Panorama sunroof. Simply stated, this option is amazing. All the
harping about X3's v. RX330's v. the 35/45's in my opinion fails to
incorporate a simply fact: if you like sunroofs, if you want a hardtop
that offers 75% percent of the benefits of a convertible than the X3 is
currently the only game in town.



7. Overinflated tires/harsher ride. Thanks to others who helped teach
us recently that over inflated tires may have much to do with the
overly harsh ride that many experienced during test drives. Sure
enough, my dealer over inflated my tires by almost 5 psi. We lowered
them to normal levels and the ride all afternoon felt great. It felt
great even on dozens of new england roads that have potholes/ruts due
to the winter months. Personally, I think all the talk about too stiff
a ride is way overblown. And I am not used to "sporty" rides...I traded
in my five year old Honda CR-V!



8. Standard stereo. After much debate, I decided to go with the
standard stereo, and, after one afternoon I can testify that the sound
is simply fantastic as is. I am sure the Premium Stereo is worth the
extra $650.00. But don't pay for it simply to get a great sound,
because the standard stereo already fits that bill nicely. The head
units (the knobs and dials and display in the dash are identical
between the two; the separate amplifier in the back left side of the
cargo area is the main difference. To clarify some misperceptions, both
systems come with two subwoofers: one located under each of the front
seats. Both systems come with tweeters and midrange in the front doors.
Both systems come with midrange in the rear doors; but the premium
stereo adds an extra tweeter in the rear doors. I am 99% sure the
wiring and housing is there for standard stereo owners to add the extra
tweeter in the rear doors after delivery, as the two systems have the
same (identical) wiring harness within the entire vehicle.



9. 2.5 v. 3.0 horsepower. For those who want to pay for it, there is no
doubt that the X3 3.0 with 225 horses is a phenomenal combination. And
I like many others here was very concerned about ordering the 185 horse
version without the ability to test drive it. Reading the intitial
ownership posts starting about 3 weeks ago eased my concern. And that
concern is now completely unfounded based on this afternoon's driving
on both local and highway roadways. The horsepower to weight of the X3
(185 hp/4000 pounds) is almost identical to the similar ratio for the
X5 3.0 (225 hp/4700 pounds). The X5 3.0 is a "best seller". Hardly
anyone complains that the X5 3.0 is underpowered. I am now convinced
that the X3 2.5 is something we simply should all stop being worried
about. This afternoon I insisted on "test driving" my vehicle to simply
prove to myself that the 2.5 had ample juice before I agree to hand
over the cash. Within 15 minutes I headed back to the dealer to
complete the deal. If you want a screamer, then get the X3 3.0. If you
want something that is more than good enough, well, the X3 2.5 is more
than good enough.



10. X3 price too close to that of the X5. I personally think this
"debate" is terribly misguided. Sure, the X3 3.0 price with options
comes fairly close to the X5 3.0. But that is comparing apples to
oranges in that the X3 3.0 engine provide far greater performance
(again, horsepower to weight ratio) than the X5 at 3.0. The fair
comparison of an X3 3.0 is placing it against the X5 4.4. And the X5
4.4 costs a great deal more than the X3 3.0.



11. Miscellaneous. For the curious, the X3 2.5i non-premium package
does come with: (a) the center console and armrest; (b) two cupholders,
one in the center console and one on the passenger dash underneath the
right side vent, and (c) four lashing points in the rear cargo area.
The only difference with the premium package 2.5 and the 3.0 is that
these lashing points are fixed rather than sliding.



12. Time to delivery. My VIN # was set in mid-January. The vehicle
finished production on Feb. 5. The vehicle arrived in the states at the
NJ port on Feb. 25. The vehicle stayed at the Vehicle Processing Center
(at the port) from Feb. 25 until March 7. Just slightly over 4 weeks
from finish of production to arrival at my local dealer.



Hope the above info is useful to some. For those who read this site and
have decided against buying the X3, good luck to you. For those here
who have decided to go with an X3, I encourage you to keep the faith
which will be rewarded within the first day's worth of driving!

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