We recently had a chance to test drive the 2015 BMW X3 xDrive35i Sports Activity Vehicle on a trip to Carlisle Import and Kit Nationals.
The X3 xDrive35i is meant to be a tightened, more sporty version of the often picked on X3. A small rather quick SUV is a pretty popular idea and there's definitely a market out there for it, so grading the X3 comes down to how well they pulled it off.
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This vehicle has everything we want except one thing: towing capacity. We love this BMW. It handles well. It rides well and it is even priced about $10,000 less than the equivalently powered X5.
But it's rated to tow only 3000 pounds when its bigger brother is rated to tow nearly 6000 pounds. That seems kind of strange when the two vehicles have the same 300 horsepower 3-liter turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine. The real difference in size between the two is the X3 is ten inches shorter and 2 inches narrower.
The more compact size and much smaller price tag make the X3 a very appealing choice in the compact sport utility market segment.
Our test vehicle came fully equipped with the excellent Cold Weather Package, the driver assistance package, the Premium Package and the Technology Package. The Cold Weather Package—an additional charge of $950—includes heated front and rear seats and steering wheel. The Driver Assistance Package—also a $950 charge—includes a back up camera and annoying sensors that beep every time you get near something. We probably would have been okay without this option. The Premium Package—$2200—included satellite radio, lumbar support and keyless entry. We love satellite radio but would otherwise skip this expense. We would also skip the Technology Package—$3150—which includes a less-than-intuitive navigation system and heads-up display.
On the highway, the X3 is poised and comfortable. You sit above most traffic, but the handling inspires confidence. There is plenty of passing power and the turbocharged engine is silky smooth. At an average of 75-80 mph on the highway, we achieved and very respectable 24.7 mpg.
In town the X3 is easy to maneuver, park and fit in tight spaces.
The X3's interior is very comfortable and the fit and finish is fantastic. There are no issues and no creaks or rattles. This vehicle is rock solid.
We had five passengers in the X3 and everyone was comfortable.
Overall, we are big fans of the X3. If you need the towing capacity to tow a race car you will have to up your game and your expenditure to enjoy BMW luxury, but if you don’t, the X3 makes an excellent daily driver.
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