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4 ⁄ 5 stars
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2012 BMW X3 Overview
Overall User Score
Based on 1 review
Except for a few minor cosmetic touch-ups, the 2012 BMW X3 stands pat after a complete 2011 overhaul. This 5-passenger luxury midsize crossover ute sports the agility of its sedan cousins, plus nearly 70 cubic feet of cargo space and a comfy, feature-laden cabin, not to mention V6 power and efficiency. A choice of either the base xDrive28i or turbocharged xDrive35i again constitutes this cool ute’s trim lineup, with both featuring full-time all-wheel drive (AWD), split-folding rear seatbacks and the new-for-2011 8-speed transmission. Called a Sports Activity Vehicle by Beemer, the X3 won’t take to the outback real well, but handles wintry roads and back-country lanes just fine and looks good doing it.
Competition includes Acura’s surprisingly versatile RDX, Audi’s potent Q5, the venerable Cadillac SRX and Infiniti’s oddly contoured EX35. Alas, the Beemer’s pricier than all of them, though performance, ride and refinement are about even across the board. If it’s European flair and agility that’s wanted, however, the X3 should fit the bill nicely.
Both X3 trims sport a 3.0-liter V6 powerplant and the aforementioned 8-speed shiftable automatic transmission. The xDrive28i settles for the normally aspirated six-banger, which puts out 240 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque, while the xDrive35i’s turbocharged version of the V6 slams down 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque. The 8-speed shiftable automatic common to both trims boasts descent control and a brake hill holder, while a locking mechanical center differential ensures power to all four wheels all the time. Towing is maxed out at 3,000 pounds on the xDrive35i and then only with the proper equipment, and mileage is in the vicinity of 19 mpg city/26 highway. The normally aspirated xDrive28i, meantime, is estimated at 19/25.
Scads of standard appearance, comfort and convenience features are, as is traditional, a major part of the X3’s cachet. Both trims boast 18-inch alloys, a rear spoiler, power glass sunroof, fixed rear sunroof and heated power-adjustable mirrors just on the outside. Inside look for leatherette upholstery, power-adjustable front seats and a folding rear armrest, as well as leather and alloy cabin accents and a leather steering wheel. Standard gizmos include remote power door locks, power windows, telescoping tilt-wheel steering, cruise control, automatic dual-zone climate control and memory for driver's settings. Entertainment is provided by a 205-watt, MP3-compatible single-CD player with 12 speakers, bolstered by an auxiliary iPod/iPhone interface, with Bluetooth technology and the available BMW Apps smoothing communications.
Options in both 2012 X3 trims include the Premium Sound Package, with 600 watts of audio power, surround sound and satellite radio, as well as a Cold Weather Package, with heated front and rear seats. A Dynamic Handling Package, featuring electromagnetic shock absorbers and driver-selectable suspension firmness is also available to both X3 trims, as are standalone options like a power liftgate, head-up windshield display, hard-drive-based navigation and a panoramic power moonroof. Finally, power-adjustable sport bucket seats, a universal garage door opener, power folding outside mirrors and upgraded 18-inch alloy wheels are all additional options available in various packages.
Beemer’s snazzy 2012 X3 is equipped with standard 4-wheel ABS, traction and stability control, front and rear head airbags and side-mounted airbags. Additional standard safety features include front fog/driving lights, daytime running lights, a post-collision safety system and a remote antitheft alarm. Automatic high beams, front and rear parking sensors, a rear-view camera with Top View, and xenon high-intensity discharge (HID) headlights are each among the X3’s optional safety offerings.
A number of owners think little of the 2012 X3’s rather tepid mileage, hefty price tag and overall build quality, while others have a problem with turbo lag and some noticeable hesitation in the 8-speed automatic at low speeds. The potent turbocharged V6, however, combined with a finely wrought interior, wealth of standard features and out-of-this-world handling – as well as the BMW cachet – all combine to draw lavish praise from those fortunate enough to drive this handsome, Euro-styled crossover.
by Eric Tallberg
Talk about the 2012 BMW X3
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