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2008 BMW X3

Overview
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2008 BMW X3 Review

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BMW's X3 "Sport Activity Vehicle" followed big-brother X5 to market in 2003 and has achieved nearly equal popularity. It debuted BMW's xDrive all-wheel-drive system, now standard on both, and, despite its more compact size, offered slightly more cargo capacity than the larger, more expensive previous-generation X5. Like the X5, the 2008 BMW X3's claim to fame is successfully wedding SUV attributes (aggressive tall-wagon look, utility, all-weather security, "command" seating position) to BMW attributes of performance and fun-to-drive handing agility.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you would be driving a German compact sport sedan, such as a BMW 3 Series, but want or need more utility and all-wheel-drive security, the 2008 BMW X3 is the logical choice.

You May Not Like This Car If...

The 2008 BMW X3 is less powerful and more expensive than others in its class and its ride and handling balance leans toward smooth-road handling. You may be happier with something more powerful, softer-riding and/or more affordable.

What's New for 2008

An available Sport Activity Package adds Star Spoke 18-inch wheels, running boards, leather-wrapped steering wheel and privacy glass. Active Headrests are made standard, while the Ambient Lighting Package is now part of the Premium Package.

Driving the X3

Driving Impressions The 2008 BMW X3 is sort of a tall 3 Series wagon and will entertain enthusiast drivers accordingly. Even without the available Sport Package, it stops, steers and corners like...

a BMW should. Its 260 horsepower is less than that of most rivals, and its ride is slightly stiff-legged, though last year's suspension tweaks create a somewhat softer ride than with previous models. We found our automatic-equipped test vehicle's throttle response a little jerky at times during routine driving, and the single-cupholder console is lacking in places to put things. There is a covered bin at dash-top center, however, and a second pull-out cupholder at the far right of the dash. We averaged roughly 19 miles per gallon around town and 21 mpg at highway speeds.

xDrive Full-Time All-Wheel Drive
With limited ground clearance and all-season tires, the X3 has few off-road aspirations but one of the best all-weather all-wheel-drive systems on the market. It electronically varies front-to-rear torque and traction control to optimize grip.

Optional Xenon Adaptive Headlamps
Automatically leveled and steered in response to steering angle, vehicle speed and turning rate, they light more of the road through curves and dips and are encircled by luminous rings that serve as parking and (if desired) daytime running lights. This option also adds a cornering light feature to the fog lamps.

2008 BMW X3 Details
Interior

The X3's interior has fold-flat second-row seats and tasteful wood trim on its instrument panel and center stack. This wood also decorates gracefully sculpted front door pulls that angle front-to-rear between twin door-storage pockets at their lower ends. The steering wheel has multi-function controls, and a convenient covered storage bin sits above twin air outlets at dash-top center. Non-fans of BMW's iDrive multi-system controller will be pleased that the X3 makes use of previous-generation 3 Series controls. Second-row head and shoulder room are good, but foot and legroom can be tight with the front seats adjusted for tall front-seat occupants.

Exterior

The 2008 BMW X3 retains the slab-sided BMW look in a tall wagon shape. Its signature twin-kidney grilles, smaller than the X5's, sit above a blacked-out over-bumper air intake. Below the bumper, its black lower fascia houses additional air intakes for radiator and brake cooling. Quad round headlamps above round outboard fog lamps are covered by wrap-around clear lenses. In back, a functional roof spoiler houses the high-mounted brake lamp, and twin round exhausts protrude from the left side of the lower fascia. One clear differentiator from the larger X5 is its kicked-up window behind the rear door on each side.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The X3's standard features include a choice of six-speed manual or six-speed STEPTRONIC automatic transmission, xDrive full-time all-wheel drive, variable-assist power rack-and-pinion steering, all-season tires on 17-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, a dual-panel panoramic moonroof, rain-sensing wipers, rear-window wiper and washer, halogen headlamps with automatic control, leather-wrapped tilt and telescoping steering wheel, height-adjustable eight-way power front seats with memory, leatherette upholstery, one-touch power windows, power heated outside mirrors, keyless entry with multi-function remote control, automatic climate control, four-function trip computer and AM/FM/CD/MP3 eight-speaker audio with auxiliary input jack. Standard safety equipment includes Dynamic Stability Control, electronic brake proportioning, anti-lock braking (ABS), Dynamic Brake Control, Hill Descent Control and six airbags: Two-stage front, front seat-mounted side and two-row head-curtain.

Optional Equipment

The X3 offers Cold Weather, Premium, Sport Activity and Sport packages, the latter adding 18-inch wheels and sport suspension, seats, steering wheel and exterior trim. Stand-alone options include a selection of optional wheels and tires, xenon adaptive headlamps with auto leveling, front and rear Park Distance Control, heated front seats and steering wheel, navigation system, dual power lumbar seat adjusters, premium audio system, leather upholstery, HD Radio, privacy glass, rear side-impact airbags and BMW Assist Safety Services.

Under the Hood

The 2008 BMW X3 is powered by a new 260-horsepower dual overhead camshaft (DOHC) 24-valve 3.0-liter in-line six with lightweight magnesium/aluminum construction. Like BMW's V8 engines, it features Valvetronic electronic valve actuation and Double VANOS variable valve timing for better-than-expected fuel efficiency.

3.0-liter in-line 6
260 horsepower at 6600 rpm
225 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/23 (manual), 17/24 (automatic)

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2008 BMW X3 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.0
Out of 10

Based on 254 Ratings for the 2004 - 2010 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.1/10
    Quality
    8.4/10
  • Reliability
    8.4/10
    Performance
    8.7/10
  • Comfort
    8.2/10
    Styling
    8.5/10

This is the least reliable care I have ever owned.

By on Tuesday, December 16, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 126,000

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
3/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Fun to drive when it runs."

Cons: "This car is a repair nightmare. Dump before 100K"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"It was a fun good care until it hit 100,000 miles. I now have 126,000 and have dropped 9K on repairs. I have had 3 BMWs and this is my last. They do not make cars to last and then pork you for repairs. I am done and never buying a BMW again."

For sale my BMW X3!!!

By on Saturday, November 15, 2014

I owned and sold this car
Reason: Travel overseas

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "good price but we can talk!!!"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"condition: good 2005 bmw x3 3.0i odometer: 126500 paint color : black size : sub-compact type : SUV drive : 4wd fuel : gas transmission : automatic title status : clean For sale my BMW X3 Rare Black on Black Version sport pack 3.0i, powerful and runs great with clean title and carfax available. asking 10600 OBO below kbb."

7 people out of 14 found this review helpful

Ultimate Driving Machine ???

By on Thursday, November 06, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Handles well, feels solid, some nice features"

Cons: "Electronic interfaces a terrible PAIN to use"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"Bought CPO and immediately had a problem while on road stranded with failed fuel pump. All towing, repairs, etc covered, but we waited almost 3 hours for a flatbed tow thru BMW Assist (in car like OnStar). Had to rent a car to get home, etc. After repair gas gauge is erratic sometime reading full immediately after a fill up, sometimes taking 1/2 hr or more to show correct fuel level. Also the car is very slow to respond to accelerator input. Press accelerator, count to 3, car goes. We find car difficult to drive smoothly, and have for the 2+ years of ownership. Definitely not as polished and poised as a $50K + SUV should be. Finally, we found dealer service to be VERY expensive."

6 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Perfect small SUV

By on Monday, October 13, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 85,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Excellent handling, roomy interior, compact size"

Cons: "Non-intuitive cruise control"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"We have had this 2007 X3 since it was new. It has been a reliable workhorse and fun to drive. Handling is excellent for an SUV, and the size is perfect for hauling lots of stuff."

11 people out of 17 found this review helpful

We love this truck.

By on Saturday, October 04, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 102,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
8/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"always taken care of this vehicle. My wife just wants to drive a new Audi Q-5 so we are trading it so someone else can get another $100,000+ great, reliable, BMW miles out if it."

7 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Love my BMW 2008 X3 3.0si. Handles wonderful.

By on Friday, July 18, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 62,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "GREAT machine and FUN TO DRIVE"

Cons: "Premium gas."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Love my 2008 BMW X3 3.0si. Great feel and holds the road great!! A great driving experience. Had a 2006 325i and loved it too! I don't care what anyone says, there is nothing like driving a BMW, they are great cars. Only down fall is that I have to put premium gas in and now a days, it's really hitting my pockets."

7 people out of 11 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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