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Subject: 2021 BMW X3 - Owner's Review - First Impressions
I got some time to spare so thought I'd share my personal thoughts on the 2021 BMW X3.
M Sport Package - Premium Enhanced Package - Executive Parking Package - Vernosca Leather Seats - 21" wheels - Wireless Charging - HK surround Sound - Pythonic Metallic Blue - Black exterior contents
The X3 is equipped with standard suspension, personally I like the adaptive suspension, but I would not get the fixed m-sport suspension. I test drove both an X1 & X2 with M-Sport suspension and while the drive is very lively, it's borderline too stiff when you're on extremely rough roads with potholes. My recommendation is to get either the standard suspension or the adaptive no matter the model you're choosing.
The X3 has BMW's traditional RWD platform and does not share a platform with any other brand. This might matter to you and it might not. Having test driven an X1 & X3 back to back, I'll say 100% that the differences are minimal when you're getting the AWD variant. I also haven't driven enough BMW's to really feel a difference, so I think the whole thing of people crapping on the X1 for sharing the same platform as a mini is bs to me. It might be different if you're getting FWD , but if you're going for the xDrive, seriously what difference does it make lol
The X3 can handle sharp turns pretty well for an SUV, and the turbocharged 4 cylinder gives you some fun acceleration on the highway when overtaking other drivers. If you're looking for something with power, then 100% go for the M40i, you get a lot more power, but at the cost of poorer fuel economy. Fuel economy for the 4 cylinder variant is great, and while the X1 offers 4 mpg more on the highway, I still found the X3 to do very well in eco pro mode on the highway.
The Parking assistance and executive parking package seemed a little bit overboard, but it wasn't until I watched my car park itself that my jaw dropped, or being on the highway and your car is able to stay in it's lane, and slow down and pick back up in traffic. Awesome.
Verdict - 8.5/10 - For an SUV it drives great. It can handle turns pretty well at high speeds, road noise is minimal, and the standard suspension really helps to absorb all the cracks in the road. If you push all the way down on the accelerator, you feel a button click which shoots your RPM and jolts you forward, very practical for those who constantly overtake slower cars. Road tripping is going to be a lot of fun in this car.
This may be a little bit biased as it comes down to the taste of the buyer, but I think the X3 looks gorgeous. Between the X1, X3, and X5, I think they are the most good looking models in BMW's SUV lineup. The pythonic metallic blue looks beautiful with the BMW badge on the front, especially in the sun it looks super sharp. The snow really makes the color pop. Personally for me, I think BMW's nicest colors are sapphire black, alpine white, metallic grey, and pythonic metallic blue.
This particular X3 comes equipped with BMW's traditional halo headlights, and along with the black kidney grille, it really makes the car pop. The ambient lighting at night looks incredible, and the 21" wheels was worth every penny as it just really makes the car pop, and honestly looks higher off the ground with 21" wheels which I'd say is a perk.
Verdict - 9/10 - While the X5 looks a lot bigger, and the X1 looks more nimble, the X3 seems to be a perfect balance between the two. I'm very happy that BMW has yet to redesign the front of their X series models, as I think the 2nd generation looks incredible and way better than this new phantom look on the grilles of the newer 2022/2023 cars.
Getting into the X3, the interior space feels almost exactly like the X1. Which really caught me off guard considering how big the price difference is between the two. I believe it was because of how the X1's engine is implemented, which allows more overall space on the inside. To my surprise, I discovered the X1 has slightly more head room and slightly more rear seat leg room. It took me almost an hour getting in and out of both cars to really understand that both cars are almost exactly the same in terms of interior space. Where the X3 differs from the X1 is the added shoulder width space. Which I immediately noticed as I currently drive a 340i, and the shoulder width felt more like the X1 vs the X3 that I felt you have a little more space separating you and the passenger.
As for interior finishes, the X3 blows the cheaper models out of the park. I think BMW really starts giving a shit about the interior finishes from the X3 models and higher. I do love the X1 a lot as well, but it felt like BMW cut a few corners in terms of interior luxury in the X1 & the X2, and it almost threw me off as I expected BMW premium quality in all their models no matter the price tag.
Vernosca leather seats are beautiful and smell so nice, but that of course comes with maintenance every 3-4 months or so, you need to condition your seats or they will 100% crack in the near future, being why leatherette is so popular for it's low maintenance. Leather is more comfortable though by far.
Ambient lighting on the inside looks beautiful at night, and with the Panorama sunroof you can get a really cool view of the stars on nicer nights.
Heated back seats is just a nice bonus to have when I'm taking a group of friends up to the mountains for snowboarding, and they pass out like babies in the back lol.
The infotainment system is incredible, it's big enough, and the touch screen is very responsive like an iPhone. I prefer BMW's navigation over maps any day of the week, and the overall system is just so easy and well organized to navigate through. You also get digital odometers which I think should have been a standard thing since 2018, but also very nice to have. You can customize the middle of your digital odometer to display many things like your navigation, car info, and even music. The heads up display is also a treat to have for long road-tripping. Blind spot monitoring is standard too thank the lord.
Verdict - 9/10 - While the overall interior space for the driver and the passengers is slightly greater in the X1, they feel almost exactly the same. With the X3 having slightly more shoulder width, and a more elevated seating position. So if you're looking for more an SUV type of elevation, the X3 is for sure the one to get. The luxurious finish in the X3 with all of it's very ergonomic features and the leather seats, really helps me to justify the premium price tag. Everyone who has came for a ride thus far certainly agrees with me on this.
The X3 boasts more cargo space than it's little brother the X1, but it's not by a mile. Where it really differs is the size of the trunk. The overall trunk door is larger, and the boot can fit more space. So it becomes more ideal for those who pack a lot of stuff on road trips, or who expect to fit a bike in the trunk with the back seats down (although I'd recommend getting the bike rack). It has the same under storage in the trunk as the X1, and the back seats can fold down 3 different ways so you have many options for car-packing.
If you're a heavy packer than the X3, X5 or even the X7 are all better options than the X1 and X2, however that being said, the X1 still has incredible storage capacity and you can almost certainly make do with the X1 as well. It really comes down to your lifestyle, as well as how much money you're happy to spend.
Verdict - 9/10 - While the X3 doesn't have a HUGE difference in cargo space vs the cheaper models, it gives you that extra more to suffice. The X3 is also larger than Audi's Q5 model, and Volvo's CX60, and is almost the exact same size as Mercedes's GLC 300 which is almost 10k more brand new. The X3 is just very well rounded, and will offer a ton of storage for all of your trips.
Entertainment & Tech
The X3 I purchased came equipped with the HK surround sound audio. Which today is very rare due to the chip shortage and BMW not being able to get HK surround sound in even the more premium models. I went into the dealership and couldn't believe a 2022 X6 only had the 12 speaker version of the HK in it. The car I currently have now has the HK surround sound (16 speaker) and I wouldn't have it any other way. Personally I think Bose is the best sound system ever, but HK does an incredible job, and I think HK does better for song clarity, especially acoustical songs. The surround sound is also incredible, it really feels like you're being surrounded by the song like you're on a stage. Toggling it on and off and it's a night and day difference. I've also never been able to turn it up to full blast, usually in all my other cars it's at full blast 24/7, but you'll literally blow your eardrums with the HK surround sound, the bass literally feels like it's in your chest. Great way to mute out the gf's voice when we're driving for a long time LOL
The hands free voice commands is awesome, she can understand anything whether I want to change a song, or navigate myself somewhere, she hears it and bam you're set. The voice recognition in my older mazda 3 was a nightmare in comparison.
Wireless carplay is incredible, and the touch screen on the infotainment system is so easy to use it makes me feel like the tablet in the car turns into an iPad. I purchased the mirror play so my girlfriend can watch a movie on netflix when we go camping.
The wireless charging is a game changer, and I hope to never have another charger cord in my car again. The wireless charging pad is massive and located in the front cupholder area rather than in the center console like most older models. My iPhone 13 pro max can fit no problem and that's with the otterbox defender case on. In my 340i I have now, the wireless charging in the center console is so small that it won't fit my iPhone even without the case, so sadly I've never had the chance to experience it. Very glad that they changed the location of the charger in the X3.
Like stated earlier, the driver and parking package is awesome. The X3 can find a spot in a packed parking lot and park itself, which at the moment I don't really trust that much, but I'm sure I'll warm up to. The cruise control on the highway is wicked, and the car being able to stop on the dime by itself is so cool. Surround view parking is also a huge bonus, as you get a sweet birds eye view of the car. And when you get super close to another car or an object, it zooms into the birds eye camera so you can literally get your car as close as possible.
Memory seats and driver profile is also fantastic. I can have my father or girlfriend take my car for the day and in one push of a button, all of my preferences come right back, my seating position and my mirrors.
Verdict - 10/10 - I haven't been in too many newer futuristic cars to really compare this X3 to, but I'll say that this X3 is way ahead of it's game right now in terms of tech. You get into the X3 and you can tell right off the bat that this car was made in the last couple of years. The HK surround sound kicks ass for all those audiophiles out there, and the tech surprises me more and more every day. I'm still reading through the ownership manual and there's things I didn't know the X3 could do. Certainly blew me away.
FINAL THOUGHTS - BUY ONE!!!
The X3 literally checks off on everything that you would want and expect from a high end luxury SUV. It is significantly bigger from the exterior than the X1, but only has a little bit more trunk space.
If your budget is anywhere from 65k-75k (CAD) and you don't want to spend close to 100k on an X5, then the X3 really is the perfect choice. I think it's only real rival would be the GLC 300 or Porsche Macan.
That being said, if you have a budget closer to the 50k mark, then the X1 will offer plenty of the things that the X3 can, at a much lower cost. Budget = X1 - Best = X3.
This is really one of those cars that I'm almost positive you won't get tired of driving for years to come. One of those car's you'll pray lasts 10+ years and drives till the very end. Love the X3.
Hope this helps with your buying decision :)
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