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2011 BMW X3

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2011 BMW X3 Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.8

The original BMW X3 "Sport Activity Vehicle" debuted in 2003, and was one of the pioneers of the luxury small crossover craze, influencing brands like Acura, Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz to follow in their footsteps. But the years took their toll on the X3. Although it continued to improve year after year, without a full redesign, it began to look a little less fresh compared to the competition's newer crop of vehicles. Here's the good news: That all changes with the 2011 BMW X3. It sports a fresh look, a sporty - but not overly harsh ride, and a host of new luxury and convenience features.

You'll Like This Car If...

If the 3 Series Sedan is a favorite but you'd like something with a hatch, an easier load-in height, and just a hint of ruggednesss, the X3 is worth a look.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Front and rear legroom are not one of the 2011 BMW X3's strongest suits. And, although the last generation X3 offered a manual transmission, this compact crossover only now comes in automatic transmission flavor, potentially upsetting diehard manual fans.

What's New for 2011

The 2011 BMW X3 offers more of everything: It's larger, more refined inside and out, comes with more standard equipment, more power underhood...and, in xDrive28i form, starts for less than the previous generation.

Driving the X3

Driving Impressions The X3, more so in this second-generation, is truly a taller 3 Series Sedan. And we mean that in a very positive way. With a sporty (but less harsh than...

the first generation) ride, great steering feel and the same 2.8-liter and twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6s found in the 3 Series Sedan, this crossover is sure to please the enthusiast in your soul. The manual transmission has been dropped for this generation, but the eight-speed automatic is no slouch, and offers paddle shifters along with Sport and Sport plus driving modes (which also adjust the chassis and throttle/steering responses) for those looking for a little more sportiness in their life.

Driving Dynamics Control
This optional system allows you to modify shock absorber firmness, engine throttle response, transmission shifting characteristics, power steering feel and stability/traction controls to suit your tastes. Choose normal, sport or sport plus to change how the X3 feels based on the road or your mood.

Head-Up Display
Available as an option, this system projects navigation directions and the speed the vehicle traveling onto the windshield, providing the driver with essential information without taking their eyes off the road.

2011 BMW X3 Details
Interior

Inside the 2011 BMW X3, you'll find tasteful wood trim, intuitive audio and climate controls, and comfortable, supportive seats. You'll also notice the standard iDrive and 8.8-inch information screens, an electronic parking brake as well as the same futuristic-looking automatic transmission shifter (you'll know what we mean when you see it) that's been introduced across the lineup. Although the 2011 BMW X3 sports larger dimensions, front and rear legroom isn't exactly generous.

Exterior

Although the 2011 BMW X3 still shares the same wedge shape as the previous generation, this new incarnation sports a much more muscular, rounded look. The headlights and fog lights have been pulled to the sides of the vehicle, the kidney-shaped grille is more robust -looking, and the wheel arches are aggressively flared. To borrow a word from the German product presentations we so often see, the X3 design is an exercise in "dynamism." We couldn't agree more.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Mechanically, the X3 xDrive28i comes with a 3.0-liter in-line six engine mated to an automatic eight-speed transmission and puts power to pavement via a standard all-wheel drive system and 17-inch wheels. Inside, you'll find eight-way power front seats, silver matte trim, leatherette seating surfaces, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, iPod connectivity, Bluetooth, HD Radio and the latest and greatest version of iDrive - which is much easier to use than previous iterations. The xDrive 35i ups the ante with a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged in-line six, xenon adaptive headlights, chrome tailpipes, 18-inch wheels and Siena interior wood trim.

Optional Equipment

You can equip your X3 with niceties like heated seats, a navigation system, premium audio, leather seating and a panoramic moonroof, but perhaps the coolest option is to custom-order your car and watch it being built via a video from BMW. Opting to custom order makes other perks available including interior and exterior color choices not available on dealer's lots and the opportunity to fly to the BMW factory in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and take possession of your shiny new car. If you're feeling ambitious you can also can put your new car through its paces on both a race track and an off-road course across the street from the factory at the Performance Drive Center.

Under the Hood

The 2011 BMW X3 offers two engines: a 3.0-liter in-line six that produces 240 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque, and a 3.0-liter turbocharged in-line six that nets 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque. Both engines are mated to a responsive eight-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode; Sadly, the manual transmission offered in the previous generation is not an option for this new iteration. BMW's third-generation intelligent all-wheel drive is standard across the lineup.

3.0-liter in-line 6
240 horsepower @ 6600 rpm
221 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2600-3000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/25

3.0-liter in-line 6 Turbocharged
300 horsepower @ 5800 rpm
300 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1200-5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/26

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2011 BMW X3 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.8
Out of 10

Based on 65 Ratings for the 2011 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.4/10
    Quality
    9.1/10
  • Reliability
    9.0/10
    Performance
    9.2/10
  • Comfort
    8.9/10
    Styling
    8.9/10

Very Good Condition

By on Monday, January 25, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 79,800

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Very good vehicle in very good shape."

Cons: "High miles"

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

"Vehicle has a clean record of no traffic collisions, no body damage,, no fluid leaks, and new tires, brakes and drive belt at 70,000 miles. Completed regular maintenance as required. Runs great and looks fantastic. Single driver. No pets and no kids."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

20,000 miles & loving it!!!!!

By on Sunday, January 17, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,030

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "blast to drive, good mpg, SC built"

Cons: "sunroof rattles, some quality issues"

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

"I love this suv. its truly amazing. it drives great, handles great & great gas mileage. very comfortable for long trips. the base stereo is awesome!! things in the car just operate with a certain grace. I love the way the buttons feel and the way the door souds when it shuts. on the down side my x3 baby has been to the dealer a couple times for warrenty issues, deformation of a trim piece drivers upper door, sunroof rattles, rearview camera stopped working. those issues were all fixed except the sunroof still makes a rattle noise every now and then. all in all this is a truly great suv and I love it to pieces. I would have no problem recommending this x3 to any one!!!!"

Surprised at how much I enjoy this car

By on Thursday, December 31, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun to drive, reliable, decent fuel economy"

Cons: "Price when adding options, interior color choices"

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

"I never thought I would get a crossover or SUV but some how I was talked into looking at them. So far I am pleasantly surprised at how well this car has turned out for me. It's not quite at three series like some say it is however the driving dynamics are not matched in this field my other competitors. The options add up quickly and if I had the options to pick again I would choose Xeon headlights and heated seats and forgo the navigation. Although with the navigation you get a top-down camera which works really well. I have not had any issues with this Carsons I owned it and if you're coming to me is a horrible however it's not as good as a sedan or economy car by any means. If you're in the market for A crossover you'll enjoy driving every day and won't beat you up I would definitely go for the x3. Maybe you'll be as pleasantly surprised as I was."

Very Concerned

By on Saturday, December 19, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 800

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Comfort"

Cons: "Problems from day one!"

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

"Just purchased a new 2016 X3 xDrive28i. Less than 800 miles we get a drivetrain malfunction error. Can't drive over 20MPH and won't shift. Very disappointing to have such a serious issue with a brand new BMW. Traded out of a GMC Acadia that was just a service nightmare. Hopefully this is a one time thing but from what I have read, it seems to be relatively common. We shall see......"

6 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Great Performer, but Uncomfortable

By on Wednesday, October 14, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
5/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
1/10
Comfort
1/10

Pros: "Perfected engine, transmission, suspension"

Cons: "Too much wind noise, very uncomfortable seats"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"Pros: 1.) The inline six is perfected and has way more power than is needed, while getting 28 MPG on mostly highway driving. 2.) The X3 handles and performs exceptionally. The transmission is perfect - it is always in the right gear. 3.) Very nice styling. Cons: 1.) The standard seats are very uncomfortable (no lumbar support on a $50K car?). For short trips it is fine, but after 45 minutes, it's better to rent a Kia. 2.) There is always a lot of wind noise in the car. 3.) HIDs are too bright and other cars are always flashing. 4.) No spare tire (so don't venture too far from civilization) BMW spend most of the engineering dollars perfecting the engine, transmission and suspension, but spent very little on interior comfort or air leaks."

27 people out of 39 found this review helpful

Better than 2012 Audi Q5 2.0T

By on Tuesday, August 04, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,000

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
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Fun to drive."

Cons: "Radio volume placement."

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

"Traded my 2012 Q5 2.0T for BMW X3. Transmission is smooth and no jerking like the Q5. No issues at all. Run flat tires still have life at 21K. No squeaks and rattles. Towing hitch is completely removable. Everything about this car is great. Service and sales experience have been great. Two small improvements would be nice: I phone 6 does not connect to car for e-mail and texting. Cup holder with radio volume knob position causes you to put car into N. You will only do this once..."

15 people out of 23 found this review helpful

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