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2013 BMW X3

Overview
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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
8.8
Out of 10

Based on 40 Ratings for the 2011 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    9.3/10
  • Reliability
    9.0/10
    Performance
    9.2/10
  • Comfort
    9.0/10
    Styling
    9.2/10

Very Very Nice Vehicle

By on Monday, June 16, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great Vehicle with excellent storage space"

Cons: "second seat don't recline. my only complaint"

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

"This vehicle is amazing. I like the fact that I was able to custom order my vehicle at no additional cost. I had to wait a month before it was delivered but it was worth it. I opted for the xdrive 35i over the 28 and I'm glad I did. This thing screams. It has on the move drive modes so I can switch between comfort and sport which I believe engages the turbo. It also changes the shift ranges of the transmission. My daily driver is a 2007 Infiniti M45. When I compare driving pleasures, I think that the X3 without question is faster on take off because you can feel the all wheel drive of the X3 pulling but the V8 of the M45 pens you to the seat. Both have the ability for burnouts. That is both from standstill and roll.But I think the M45 would take the X3 in a head to head. I also opted for the painted trim. Money if you ask me well spent."

3 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Drives like a sports car. Great power, handling!

By on Thursday, May 29, 2014

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
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "FUN, FUN FUN to drive."

Cons: "NAV software needs to be scrapped and reworked"

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

"This a terrific all around vehicle. I've had several BMW's but this is my favorite. The Sport+ program makes this SUV drive like a high end sprts car. Could not be happier with this ourchase. Heads up display is really useful. Only complaint is the Navigation system is cumbersome and the Voice recognition software basically doesn't work. It's more frustrating than anything else."

3 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Great to drive - feels like a sports car

By on Wednesday, April 30, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,000

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: "Gas mileage - Handling - Looks - Looks"

Cons: "None"

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

"This is my first BMW. When I was shopping for a vehicle with these options, I found the price of the BMW was just a little more than most "American" SUV's. After driving the X3, wow - I wanted this car. Almost forgot: I get an average of 30 miles to the gallon - 4 cycle."

9 people out of 12 found this review helpful

excellent driving vehicle-engine is terrific

By on Saturday, April 19, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 42,000

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
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

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

"Excellent car with perfect quality so far-easy to drive with excellent engine performance. Interior design is excellent."

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Solid, handles great

By on Thursday, April 10, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun to drive, very quick"

Cons: "none so far"

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

"Very solid performer. Comfortable seats, intuitive electronics. Great leather, paint and storage. Plenty of room on back seat for tall people. Impressive MPG... been averaging 22 in town."

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Solid, handles great

By on Thursday, April 10, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun to drive, very quick"

Cons: "none so far"

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

"Very solid performer. Comfortable seats, intuitive electronics. Great leather, paint and storage. Plenty of room on back seat for tall people. Impressive MPG... been averaging 22 in town."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

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