2006 X3 New Car Test Drive
The BMW X3 enters its third year of production flush with success. In its first year, the X3 sold almost as well as the larger X5, doubling BMW's impact on the SUV market, and there's little sign of the trend toward smaller, more fuel-efficient SUVs cooling off any time soon.
The 2006 BMW X3 is available only with the 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine.
The X3's drivetrain is equipped with BMW's xDrive all-wheel-drive system, Dynamic Stability Control and Hill Descent Control, all designed to give it tenacious grip and secure control in less than favorable conditions.
The X3 is quick and fast, considering its heft. The xDrive puts it at the head of the class when weather or road goes north. It's roomy, both for passengers and cargo. And just as important, it's replete with safety features, both active and passive.
For 2006, the BMW X3 comes in one model, the 3.0i. (The 2.5-liter model was discontinued.) The X3 3.0i sports a 225-horsepower 3.0-liter inline-6 hooked to BMW's xDrive all-wheel drive.
A six-speed manual transmission is standard, while a five-speed automatic Steptronic is a no-charge option.
The 2006 X3 3.0i ($36,800) is stuffed with standard equipment. Cockpit amenities include automatic climate control with micro-filter and air recirculation; Sensatec upholstery; eight-way power adjustable front seats with two-way manual headrests with driver seat and mirror memory; four-spoke leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel with fingertip cruise control; front center console armrest; storage nets on front seatbacks, in front passenger footwell and cargo compartment; two aluminum fastening rails and slip-proof reversible flooring in cargo compartment; split 60/40 fold-down rear seats; vehicle and key memory; remote entry, including two-step unlocking and remote tailgate release; Panorama glass moonroof with fully automatic, two-piece glass panels, power slide and lift control, wind deflector and power interior sunshade; tilt/telescopic steering wheel column; rain-sensing windshield wipers with automatic headlight control; automatic-dimming rearview mirror; power front windows with one-touch up/down and power rear windows with one-touch down; front-rear map-reading, footwell and visor-mirror lights; locking glovebox with rechargeable take-out flashlight; dual cupholders in front and rear; AM/FM/CD audio with eight speakers, wired for portable music players; Service Interval Indicator with miles-to-service readout; flat tire warning system; a four-function on-board computer; pre-wiring for cellular phone, garage-door opener, 6CD changer and auxiliary input.
The 3.0 Premium package ($1,800) adds Montana leather upholstery, four-way power lumbar support for both front seats, automatic dimming inside rearview mirror, and BMW Assist integrated wireless communication system.
Also available: a DVD rear-seat entertainment system ($1,995) and Sirius Satellite Radio ($325).
For 2006, the Sport Package ($1,800) now includes a new 8x18-inch wheel upgrade; a full body-color aerodynamic kit including body-color side skirts as well as bumpers; and a newly designed three-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel. The Sport Package includes a sports suspension with stiffer springs and anti-roll bars; 235/50R-18 all-season tires; Shadowline exterior trim; and eight-way power adjustable front sport seats with two-way manual thigh support.
The Cold Weather Package ($750) includes a headlight washer system; heated front seats; and a ski bag. Other options include Servotronic steering ($250), Xenon adaptive headlights with auto-leveling ($800), front and rear Park Distance Control ($700), 18-inch double-spoke alloy wheels ($300); 18-inch Star Spoke alloys ($500); heated front seats ($500); heated steering wheel ($150); cargo net ($150), Navigation system ($1,800); BMW Assist with Bluetooth technology ($675); satellite radio prep ($74); and privacy glass ($350). Dealer-installed accessories include two choices of aerodynamic kit; a car cover ($210); a roof box ($520); a hitch bike carrier ($425); a hitch ski/snowboard carrier ($169); cargo area bicycle rack ($275); rubber floor mats; all-weather cargo liner ($70); auxiliary input adapter cable ($40).
Safety features include ABS, two-stage frontal airbags, front door-mounted side-impact airbags and curtain airbags for front and rear seat head protection, front safety belts with automatic tensioners and force limiters, all standard. Adaptive brake lights signal the urgency with which the driver has pressed the brake pedal. Optional: side-impact airbags for the rear-seat passengers ($385). The X3 comes with good seat belts. Wear them. They're your first line of defense in an accident.