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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
8.7
Out of 10

Based on 70 Ratings for the 2011 - 2017 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.3/10
    Quality
    9.0/10
  • Reliability
    8.9/10
    Performance
    9.2/10
  • Comfort
    8.7/10
    Styling
    8.8/10

My X3 does not handle the way a BMW should.

By on Wednesday, May 18, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,000

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
Not Rated
Styling
Not Rated
Comfort
Not Rated

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

"With any type of strong wind, my X3 is all over the road. I need two hands to grip the steering wheel. What is it going to be like on snow and ice covered roads. I've owned BMW's before. This is a huge disappointment. It's comfortable and has all the bells and whistles, but the handling is horrible."

4 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Sporty, Comfortable, Quiet

By on Tuesday, May 17, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000

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
8/10

Pros: "mileage, cost of fuel, build quality, sportiness"

Cons: "diesel rattles from standing start"

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

"I was tired of filling an Acura MDX over and over with premium fuel, so I looked around for a higher mileage SUV. I just happened on this car at a Chicago dealership, with only 1,700 miles. The diesel engine is powerful and with BMW's transmission, you can have all the acceleration you want. I especially love the mileage: 30 mpg on a 30 minute commute, even with the transmission in Sport mode, and 35 mpg on long trips. Add the cost of diesel fuel, usually the same as, or less than, regular, and it's a real winner. Yes, it costs a bit more than some others, but buy CPO and you save most of the initial depreciation. Be aware that it has more of a sport suspension than most and the diesel (like any diesel) sometimes rattles a bit from a standing start. I am very pleased with this X3 diesel."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Highly Recommend

By on Wednesday, March 23, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000

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: "Safe. Responsive. Luxurious. Fun to drive."

Cons: "Pricey fully loaded."

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

"Have owned BMW's for 20 years and the 2016 X3 does not disappoint! Safe, responsive, luxurious and fun to drive. What more could you want?! I test-drove all the SUVs in this class and found they just can't live up to BMW quality and performance."

9 people out of 16 found this review helpful

Love my X3

By on Wednesday, March 23, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "All around comfortable, great handling vehicle!"

Cons: "No compass except on Navigation"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"By far the best aspect of this sport SUV is the comfort of ride and handling. I is hard to believe that prior user was not happy with the comfort of the seats. Precisely why we decided on this vehicle. Leaning to quickly and efficiently utilize the vehicle's features took some time, however well worth it. Technology is not always intuitive to the over 50 set. Only negative is the rattle of the casing enclosing the the moon roof. So far no solution. Annoying."

Horrible seats

By on Tuesday, March 08, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,500

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "None"

Cons: "Bad design"

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

"I leased the 2016 X3 3.5 X drive for my wife. First issue is very poorly designed seats. Cannot sit in the car for more that 10 or 15 minutes due to the poor seat design. I am not an unusually sized person (6'2", 225 lbs). It was supposed to be our road car. Will now be used to transport dogs and cargo locally. Cannot wait for the lease to be up. In my 50+ years I have never sat in any model of car or truck with uncomfortable front seats. If you review the BMW blogs this has been an issue for some time with the X3. I have no need to learn the highly atypical technology of the vehicle. This is not a user friendly car. You can do a lot better for a lot less money. Thank God we are blessed to have two other vehicles to choose from. I would not recommend this car. If you would like to take over a lease on a high end X3 I have a car for you. I emailed the BMW "geniuses" about this issue and have received no response."

12 people out of 26 found this review helpful

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."

6 people out of 9 found this review helpful

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