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Old 01-16-2018, 03:01 PM   #1
robg
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Picked up my new X3 - initial impressions

Picked up my 2017 x3 35i on Saturday and got a chance to do a mix of highway and city driving with it. This was the one vehicle that my wife and I could agree on (the 330 sport wagon, JGC Hemi and Charger Hemi were higher on my list but she wasn't as much of a fan).

What really sealed it was the excellent deal we got on this car (cheaper lease than all but a base JGC Laredo). The biggest downside is that it lacks heated seats (which is probably why we were able to get such a good deal, but wtf was the dealer thinking when they ordered it like that and why does BMW even bother making it an option? Just raise the price by $500 and spare everyone the trouble of remembering the check the box). Even dumber when you consider that the majority of these cars are leased anyway and this would have only a few $ impact on payment. Doesn't have the m-sport package either, so it has the regular seats and thinner steering wheel (also not a big fan of). Upside is that it doesn't have the horrific front-end bumper they used on msport x3s. If I really wanted to, I could probably find an msport wheel for a few hundred and install it.

Coming from the standard seats in the e83 (which I found extremely comfortable), these aren't as good. I think the seat cushion is a bit shorter and the backrest is slightly harder. Plus the headrests can't be adjusted for tilt (weird since the F30's can). They aren't bad, but I haven't taken a long enough trip yet to really render a verdict. The back seat also isn't as good- feels like they made it lower so it's not as supportive. Rear legroom is better but not as roomy as I originally thought (F30 wagon seemed roomier).

Despite those downsides, it's just such a slick car. The n55 engine is smoother than it was in my old 335 and the ZF 8 speed seems to work better with it than it did with the 4 cyl on my f10. Throttle response is instant without any hesitation and there's none of the jerkiness when slowing down that i noticed on the f10. The suspension seems very well tuned-- glides over bumps but doesn't lean much in corners and doesn't feel floaty on the highway. The electric power steering is too light (even in sport mode), but it doesn't have the loose/dead spot on-center that I experienced in my f10. Very precise with a good ratio (not too quick/ not too slow). Overall, I'll adjust to it, but it's odd to me that FCA can make the steering on a Jeep feel more natural than BMW can with their current vehicles (FCA's standard steering wheel is also much nicer).

And, as I mentioned before, I really love the latest iteration of i-drive. Everything just works so well. Voice recognition is fast and flawless, they've done away with the annoying "Are you sure" type prompts, and all compatible phone apps automatically appear (even over bluetooth). Haven't managed to stump it yet. In the past, you had to manually start an app (such as Pandora), plug it in and then you could use it via i-drive. If you're not driving and want to do something else on your phone simultaneously it doesn't stop the app from working. Now you just get in, and it's there. Really nice, and less fussy than CarPlay. BMW seems to be the best at control placement and center-stack design. Everything is clean, easy to read, and feels high quality. Anything that should be a button is a button.

This is also the first car I've had with passive entry and a kick-to-open rear hatch (which apparently the msport f25 x3s lacked). Both seem to work perfectly and, with a toddler, make life a little easier. Having a super-clear backup camera and very detailed PDC graphics are nice too. Pano roof is larger than my old e83 (this was the first thing my 3 year old noticed and actually commented on). Anything that makes him happier to be in the car is a win so that's good.

The looks are starting to grow on me as well. Headlights definitely have an "angry birds" vibe to them, but overall it kind of works. My car is black metallic so that helps too. Turns signals are all regular bulbs which look a bit cheap/outdated. Weird that they bothered making the fog lights (which you rarely use) LEDs but not the turn signals.

Last edited by robg; 01-16-2018 at 03:15 PM.
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Old 01-16-2018, 03:14 PM   #2
bren
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robg View Post
Throttle response is instant without any hesitation
Sounds like they've made some adjustments in the last 5 years. Ours has a ridiculously maddening hesitation when pulling away from a stop.

Ours has also been kind of a maintenance nightmare, so good luck with that!
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Old 01-16-2018, 03:18 PM   #3
robg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bren View Post
Sounds like they've made some adjustments in the last 5 years. Ours has a ridiculously maddening hesitation when pulling away from a stop.

Ours has also been kind of a maintenance nightmare, so good luck with that!
Yeah they must've tweaked it. As final year model, hoping this doesn't have too many problems. No initial quality issues to speak of so far. What types of issues did yours have?
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Old 01-16-2018, 03:25 PM   #4
bren
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Ours was fine until the warranty ran out. Heh

The last ~18 months:
Suspension computer
Water pump/thermostat
(3) LED Tailights
(2) window regulators
Water leak from sunroof drains
gas door wouldn't "unlock"
glove compartment trim falling off
oil filter housing gasket leak

This is on a 2012 with under 50k miles.
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Old 01-16-2018, 03:27 PM   #5
John V
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With how badly the newer BMWs drive, I don't see a reason to buy them anymore. It used to be the driving experience was so much better than anything else it made up for the maintenance headache. Now that they offer as much engagement as a Lexus, might as well just buy a Lexus and get something that's actually reliable.
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Old 01-16-2018, 03:45 PM   #6
bren
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With how badly the newer BMWs drive, I don't see a reason to buy them anymore. It used to be the driving experience was so much better than anything else it made up for the maintenance headache. Now that they offer as much engagement as a Lexus, might as well just buy a Lexus and get something that's actually reliable.
Sadly, they are pretty much the game for suv's with any oomph at their price point. I've been virtual-shopping Macans and the AMG GLC, but haven't figured out how to pay for them yet.

And, yeah, no way:

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Old 01-16-2018, 03:58 PM   #7
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congrats
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Old 01-16-2018, 04:22 PM   #8
robg
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Picked up my new X3 - initial impressions

Quote:
Originally Posted by bren View Post
Sadly, they are pretty much the game for suv's with any oomph at their price point. I've been virtual-shopping Macans and the AMG GLC, but haven't figured out how to pay for them yet.

And, yeah, no way:



Right - you have to pay a lot more to get a meaningful improvement in performance / driving engagement.

Even in its last year of production, the x3 (in 35i form) makes a compelling case for itself.

And yeah,Lexi are too ugly I consider. Personally Id lease any of these cars. If buying, Id go for something older with less electronics.
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Old 01-16-2018, 04:57 PM   #9
John V
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I mean, I'd never buy them. Their commercials are sickening enough that I couldn't ever give them money.

But I firmly believe for 99% of people it's the right product.
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Old 01-16-2018, 05:01 PM   #10
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If I were just buying some sort of appliance car, I'd go for the Honda/Acura version of whatever. With the possible exception of a 4Runner/Tacoma thing.
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