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2013 BMW X3

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2013 BMW X3 Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.7

BMW doesn't want you to mistake its X3 for an SUV. This 5-passenger compact utility vehicle is, according to the German automaker, an SAV, for "sports-activity vehicle." It's tempting to sneer at that marketing lingo, but one drive in the 2013 BMW X3 proves this isn't just hype. In a segment that has grown since the X3's introduction in 2004 with an onslaught of luxury rivals like the Mercedes-Benz GLK, Audi Q5, Acura RDX, Cadillac SRX and Infiniti EX, the X3 stands out with a dynamic nature that makes it feel more like a sports sedan than a cumbersome SUV. After a recent refresh, the 2013 X3 is more fuel-efficient thanks to a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that replaces the larger, thirstier 6-cylinder of past base models. For those who seek more power, a turbo 6-cylinder is still available.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're looking for a premium carryall that truly puts the "sport" in sport-utility vehicle, the 2013 X3 is hard to beat. With AWD standard, the X3 is also a good choice for drivers who need extra traction in inclement weather.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Aesthetically, the 2013 X3 isn't as viscerally exciting as some competitors. The iDrive command module and gearshift lever may confuse some drivers, and when optioned up the X3 can reach around $60,000. Here, even paint colors cost extra unless you're okay with non-metallic black or white.

What's New for 2013

2013 sees the introduction of a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that replaces the naturally aspirated (non-turbo) inline-6 in past xDrive28i models. Although this engine is smaller, it creates the same amount of horsepower and more torque than the former 6-cylinder engine, while attaining better fuel economy: up to 28 mpg on the highway.

Driving the X3

Driving Impressions The first thing you notice about the 2013 BMW X3 when you press the accelerator pedal? It's fast. And that swiftness isn't just reserved for the more powerful engine. Even...

the base 4-cylinder can propel this vehicle from 0-60 mph in the mid-6-second range. Step up to the more powerful 6-cylinder, put the transmission into the second of two "sport" modes, and you're looking at the same sprint taking place in the 5-second range, comparable to a sports car. In the real world, this translates to effortless on-ramp sprints and prodigious passing power. But speed and agility in corners aren't the only high points here. The X3 is also a comfortable, quiet vehicle that eases the rigors of long commutes. Purists may decry the lack of a manual-transmission option, but we take solace in the buttery smooth 8-speed automatic that's standard.

POWER AND EFFICIENCY
With the newly installed turbo 4-cylinder engine, those two traits are no longer mutually exclusive. This bulldog of a powerplant easily propels the AWD X3, yet the BMW still attains up to 28 mpg.

INTERIOR FIT AND FINISH
From the metallic, sliding cargo hooks in the hull to the available wood-grain trim up front, the 2013 X3 is one polished vehicle.

2013 BMW X3 Details
Interior

Clean interior design and today's technology are easy friends in the 2013 X3. Indeed, fine materials and lots of gee-whiz tech are in no shortage here, but keep in mind that they'll likely cost extra. That means if you want the Fineline Wave Wood trim, heated front seats or, yes, just leather instead of "Leatherette" upholstery, you'll have to check off the options boxes. If you're prepared for the extra costs, though, it's easy to appreciate the X3's comfortable amenities. Most functions work well, but the jet-fighter gear shifter and iDrive command module can still prove baffling. Rear legroom is adequate and the seat folds for added cargo space.

Exterior

Rounded sheetmetal and athletic creases define the BMW X3's outer suit. A head-on view presents a rather sinister vehicle with BMW's familiar grille. The sides and rear of the 2013 X3 are more conservative yet still attractive thanks in no small part to deep side creases that stretch from the front wheel arches to the taillights. These lines give the X3 an athletic stance and visually split the car into parts, akin to what a good belt does with the right pair of slacks. In back are twin tailpipes tucked neatly beneath the lower-left bumper and minimal badging.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

A base 2013 BMW X3 xDrive28i comes with AWD, 8-way power front seats, automatic climate control, power-operated tailgate, rain-sensing wipers, and 12-speaker/205-watt audio system with AM/FM/CD player with HD Radio and auxiliary input. The higher-trim xDrive35i model has a more powerful 6-cylinder engine, xenon headlights and panoramic moonroof. Like other new, 2013 BMWs, the X3 comes with complimentary maintenance for the first four years or 50,000 miles. Roadside assistance is offered for the first four years, with no mileage stipulation.

Optional Equipment

Options are aplenty when it comes to configuring a 2013 X3. But keep in mind that some features require packages that cost thousands of dollars. Among the add-ons available are leather seating, navigation system, heated front and rear seats, a 40/20/40 folding rear seat, heated steering wheel and lane-departure warning. For audio buffs, a 16-speaker, 600-watt sound system is available. Those seeking better performance can opt for packages that tighten the handling and employ larger wheels. Speaking of wheels, specialized BMW M 20-inch varieties are available, but can cost up to $6,000.

Under the Hood

The base engine in a 2013 BMW X3 is a turbocharged 4-cylinder that makes 240 horsepower – the same figure as the outgoing 6-cylinder. In the higher-trim xDrive35i is a 300-horsepower 6-cylinder. Both are connected to a smooth-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission (a manual transmission is not available), and offer all-wheel drive as standard. To conserve fuel, the 2013 X3 features automatic engine start/stop, which shuts down the engine when the vehicle is stopped and instantly restarts it when the driver's foot is lifted from the brake pedal. Premium gasoline is recommended for both engines.

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
240 horsepower @ 5,000 rpm
260 lb-ft of torque @ 1,250-4,800
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/28 mpg

3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6
300 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm
300 lb-ft of torque @ 1,300-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/26 mpg

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2013 BMW X3 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.9
Out of 10

Based on 59 Ratings for the 2011 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.5/10
    Quality
    9.3/10
  • Reliability
    9.1/10
    Performance
    9.3/10
  • Comfort
    9.0/10
    Styling
    9.0/10

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..."

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Superb driving experience...long or short drives.

By on Thursday, July 23, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000

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: "Quick, fast, safe, fun and comfortable."

Cons: "For a golfer, tight boot, but the seat goes down."

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

"I've been driving BMW's for 33 years, beginning with a wonderful 320, continuing with 5-series and now my second X3. What surprised me most was the improvements over the past couple years. The 2015's and the 4 cylinder, the added length and width, the amazing electronically-assisted steering and a few others. The car is incredibly zippy, almost snapping your neck when quick action is needed, and without the slight pause into overdrive. Safety features are superb and the comfort level is unsurpassed. Our one long road trip took us almost 4,000 miles. Rather than fly, we wanted to experience the car. I've been behind its wheel for 14 hours at times, enjoying every minute. My long time experience with BMW's has shown me how trouble free the cars are, and how they are so thoughtfully built for both driver and passenger. Special features are everywhere, all adding to the comfort, safety and enjoyment."

6 people out of 14 found this review helpful

BMW all the way!

By on Monday, July 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 175

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Comfort,Handling, Accelleration and Fuel econony"

Cons: "No Posted Speed Limit included With Navigation"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I find the shifter to be odd but once you are familiar with it - it works well. The most annoying thing that may not be an issue for most is the navigation will not display the posted speed limit. This is quite surprising since it is a $1900 option. If I had known this I would have bought the technology option although I think this common item should be included in any navigation system. My $99 Garmin had it Our VW Golf Has it? The car is otherwise a BMW all the way that's is why I would like them to have this in their navigation system."

8 people out of 11 found this review helpful

Love the car. Picked it up at factory in Scarolina

By on Saturday, July 11, 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
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "EVERYTHING."

Cons: "Pricey, it is a BMW and the rest aren't."

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

"Wish it took regular rather than Premium gas but, most luxury cars require it. The X3 can handle everything the road dishes out. Snow, ice, rain not a problem. Believe it or not, we took it over a obstacle course at the factory, bolders, running streams, hills, etc and it handles as well as a Jeep! Maybe better..We were surprised.. on a total sheet of ice driveway at my son's in NY,it went up a hill like it had claws."

9 people out of 14 found this review helpful

Perfect size for me. Best vdhicle I've owned.

By on Monday, June 15, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 38,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "practical, quick, comfortabe, economical."

Cons: "wish I would have bought the diesel."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Very practical car. Fast enough. Big enough, but not too big. Fast enough and the mileage is better than expected. I had a Mercedes 500ML before this and this is soooo much better in every way without the ostentation."

15 people out of 26 found this review helpful

Automatic is not automatic

By on Wednesday, May 13, 2015

I owned and sold this car
Reason: Rubbed me wrong

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Sporting capabilities"

Cons: "Interior, so called auto features, terrible GPS"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3

"I really wanted to love this car, but I just never did. There were just a ton of things that rubbed me wrong. Those include: Doors that require 2 pulls to open, automatic wipers that have to be turned on every time you want them to operate, cruise control that needs to be turned on every time, and an interior that is just plain boring. When my seat heater went out in the dead of winter, it took them nearly 4 weeks to get the issue resolved. Lastly, this car has to have one of the worse GPS systems I have ever used. It never got me to the destination. The best thing about this car was it's performance, but you only get that in sports mode and you have to turn that on every time you start the car. Definitely a premium priced car with a poor customer experience."

12 people out of 20 found this review helpful

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