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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
8.8
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."

2 people out of 2 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."

26 people out of 38 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..."

14 people out of 22 found this review helpful

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