BMW X3 Shows Us How it Takes Boredom out of Routine Commuting and Grocery Hauling
If you go to the grocery store in the BMW X3, make sure you have your bags tied down. You can’t drive this luxury crossover without having some fun wherever you find yourself. It makes the boring commute fun during the week and weekend chores become entertaining.
Even though the BMW X3 hasn’t had a major overhaul, it’s not out of date. If you're shopping for a compact luxury SUV, the 2017 BMW X3 is the go-to vehicle for families who want a crossover that ramps up the fun-to-drive meter. It’s also luxurious enough to satisfy both luxury and practical needs. This week we drive the 2017 BMW X3 xDrive 28i.
What’s new for 2017?
The BMW X3 remains relatively unchanged for 2017. It gets a few technology updates, and the options list gets bolstered.
Standard X3 features
The 2017 BMW X3 xDrive 28i ($41,250) comes standard with 18-inch wheels, roof rails, rear privacy glass, automatic headlights, LED fog lamps, automatic wipers, a power liftgate, power-folding auto-dimming mirrors, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power front seats with driver memory functions, "SensaTec" premium vinyl upholstery, a 40/20/40-split-folding rear seat, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, the iDrive electronics interface, and a nine-speaker sound system with a CD player, HD radio, a USB port and an auxiliary audio jack.
This tester came with the Premium Package ($3,200) that updates the X3 with keyless entry, panoramic sunroof, and XM radio. The Technology Package ($2,750) gets you a head-up display, a navigation system (includes a larger central iDrive screen and an upgraded controller that accepts handwritten inputs), an enhanced driver information display in the gauge cluster, smartphone app integration, and BMW Remote Services.
The xLine ($1,500) adds a Sport steering wheel, 19-inch alloy wheels, and wood trim. A Driver Assistance Package ($950) is also offered that bundles front and rear parking sensors with a rearview camera. The Lighting Package ($900) adds xenon headlights. The Cold Weather Package ($950) its a must if you live in a cold climate with the heated steering wheel, heated front and rear seats, and headlight washers. Total MSRP as tested including destination: $54,395.
Stepping inside the X3 reveals a comfortable, somewhat lavish and contemporary cabin. Materials are first class, the fit and finish are tight and there’s plenty of soft-touch surfaces throughout. The cabin is driver-focused with the displays aimed toward the driver.
The front seats are comfy for longer trips, and there are ample head and leg room for taller adults. Back-seat passengers have enough room to be comfortable and there is room for 3 adult passengers out back. A pass-through is standard, while the 40/20/40 rear seat configuration makes it easier to fold seatbacks.
There’s plenty of usable interior space for a small family even with its relatively compact dimensions, and 27.6 cubic feet of cargo volume is enough to carry sports equipment during the week or camping gear on the weekend. The cargo area contains carpeting and metal cargo rails that holds the grocery bags tight and keeps the canned goods from sliding all over the place during spirited driving on the way home from the store.
Engine and fuel mileage specs
The 22017 BMW xDrive28i is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 240 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. It comes mated to an 8-speed Steptronic automatic transmission with sport and manual shift modes. EPA fuel economy estimates are 21/28 city/highway mpg and 24 combined mpg with all-wheel-drive.
As we got underway in the X3 xDrive, it’s reasonably quiet on the road and it feels tight and well put together. The ride is smooth and comfortable and the suspension absorbs rough pavement with ease. You can motor around town in comfort all day, but it’s when you need to move quickly that the X3’s true character is revealed.
Don’t let the 2.0-liter base turbo four-cylinder engine with 240 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque fool you. The powertrain is one of the main attractions of the X3. Acceleration from a stop is quite brisk and the four-cylinder doesn't run out of breath at higher speeds or altitudes where we tested the crossover west of Denver.
We get to test all our vehicles in a mountain environment and the X3 excels in the tight corners near Evergreen. We took a fun route up from C470 through Morrison on a two-lane twisty stretch to really see how it performs. The X3 felt tight and nimble as we pushed it hard through the corners. If you don’t mind the firmer suspension, the X3 will deliver an exceptionally sporty driving experience. It will take the boredom out of the daily commute and make the trip to the store entertaining. Go to Page 2.
The BMW X3 xDrive is a family crossover that offers utility, comfort and exceptionally fun driving dynamics. Performance is impressive, as you would expect in a BMW. An abundant amount of options are available, but the cost of the extras can add up mighty quickly as it did in this tester.
Denis Flierl has over twenty five years combined auto industry and automotive journalism experience that he brings to Torque News readers. Over the thirteen years that he owned automotive business, he worked directly with every major car brand in the auto industry and became familiar with all makes and models of cars. His passion for cars led him to spend the last twelve years in automotive journalism where he brings all that experience to his readers as he writes about the auto industry and the latest test cars he drives. Follow Denis on Twitter at @WRX_STI_News, @CarReviewGuy, @SubaruLegitNews, @Honda_Report and @DenisFlierl.