2009 X3 New Car Test Drive
The BMW X3 enters its fifth year of production flush with success after a slew of improvements for 2007, but there's more competition than ever among smaller, more fuel-efficient SUVs.
BMW's response for the 2008 model year is the addition of active head rests, a new Sport Activity Package and an upgrade to the Premium Package of features.
The 2008 BMW X3 comes with a 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic. The BMW X3 3.0si is the only model.
The X3's drivetrain is equipped with BMW's xDrive all-wheel-drive system, Dynamic Stability Control and Hill Descent Control, revised for 2007 to give it even better grip and control in foul weather.
The X3 is quick and fast, and almost as fun to drive as a BMW sport wagon. 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 active and passive safety features.
The 2008 BMW X3 comes in one model: the 3.0si with a 260-hp 3.0-liter inline-6. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, while a six-speed automatic with Steptronic is a no-charge option.
The X3 3.0si ($39,425) comes with Sensatec leatherette upholstery; automatic climate control with micro-filter and air recirculation; eight-way power adjustable front seats with two-way active headrests and driver seat and mirror memory; three-spoke leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel with cruise control; two aluminum fastening rails and slip-proof reversible flooring in cargo compartment; split 60/40 fold-down rear seats; Panorama glass moonroof with fully automatic, two-piece glass panels, rain-sensing windshield wipers with automatic headlight control; automatic-dimming rearview mirror; AM/FM/CD audio with eight speakers, a new auxiliary input jack on the back of the center console.
The 3.0si Premium Package ($2,800) upgrades with Nevada leather upholstery, four-way power lumbar support for both front seats, automatic dimming inside rearview mirror, ambient interior/exterior lighting and BMW Assist (with four years of service) with Bluetooth integrated wireless communication system. The Premium Package Seat upgrade ($700) substitutes Comfort seats with lumbar support.
The Sport Package ($2,300) includes an 8x18-inch wheel upgrade; a full body-color aerodynamic kit with body-color side skirts; a sports suspension with stiffer springs and anti-roll bars; 235/50R18 all-season tires; Shadowline exterior trim; a sport steering wheel; and eight-way power adjustable front sport seats with two-way manual thigh support. Big 19-inch wheels ($950) with mixed-size performance tires are available with this package.
New for 2008 is a Sport Activity Package ($1,400), which includes a leather-wrapped steering wheel, privacy glass, Shadowline exterior trim (black window frames), running boards and Star Spoke 18-inch wheels with all-season tires.
The Cold Weather Package ($1,000) includes a headlight washer system; a ski bag; heated front seats and heated rear seats. 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 ($750); privacy glass ($350); premium sound system ($675); and comfort seats with lumbar support ($1,000).
Dealer-installed accessories include a trailer-hitch kit; skid plates; running boards; roof-rack systems; aerodynamic body components; Sirius satellite radio; six-disc CD changer; special shift knobs and handbrake grips; cargo organizer; cargo-area floor net; cargo-area carrier for two bicycles; alarm system; and interface for an iPod.
Safety features include ABS, two-stage front 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. The upgraded braking system now integrates Brake Drying, Brake Standby, Start-off Assistant and Brake Fade Compensation, and the adaptive brake lights signal the urgency with which the driver has pressed the brake pedal. A tire pressure monitor (mandated) comes standard. Optional safety features include side-impact airbags for the rear-seat passengers ($385).