2005 BMW X3 Preview

Consumer Reviews
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2018
The Car Connection
2018
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Ian Norris Ian Norris Editor
June 20, 2003

Spy Shots: 2005 BMW M5 by Brenda Priddy (6/16/2003)
Five hundred for 2005.

 

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2005 BMW X3

2005 BMW X3

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BMW has issued pictures of its new X3, the SUV trailed at the Detroit auto show in the form of the Xactivity concept. Back in January the Munich firm insisted that the Xactivity was just a design exercise, but the stance didn’t fool too many people. It was obvious it was a production vehicle, and now the pretense has been dropped; the second of what BMW calls its “Sports Activity Vehicles” will go into production later this year after being shown to the world at the Frankfurt show in September.

The X3 moves down a size from the successful X5, putting it in the same range as vehicles like the Ford Escape. Justifying the “premium” tag it has attached to the X3, BMW is using it to launch a new four-wheel-drive system patented under the name of xDrive. According to the manufacturer, xDrive sets new standards in agility for 4x4 traction systems. It works by instantly changing torque distribution from front to rear axles and is claimed to offer “substantial improvements” in stability, driving pleasure and safety.

2005 BMW X3

2005 BMW X3

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2005 BMW X3

2005 BMW X3

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The system is both fully adjustable and infinitely variable. It feeds optimum torque to the required axle at any time, countering understeer and oversteer during cornering in road use. Off-road, it is designed to improve traction by distributing drive forces to the axle with the most grip. As soon as wheelspin threatens, the electro-hydraulic center coupling transfers power to the axle with the greater traction.

2005 BMW X3

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The xDrive system is combined with Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) to give the X3 optimum road handling characteristics using the inbuilt safety measures DSC offers in extreme situations. Off-road, the X3 uses one of the best souvenirs BMC kept as a reminder of the time it owned Land Rover, Hill Descent Control. HDC uses the brakes to control the vehicle on extreme downhill sections and was first used on Land Rover’s Freelander. When BMW sold Land Rover to Ford, it kept hold of HDC for its own 4x4s.

Styling of the vehicle is much more influenced by BMW’s cars than off-road vehicles, and the look is much more crossover than 4x4. One of the styling points BMW stresses is the kick up in the waistline at the rear side window, which makes the window almost triangular. At the rear, there is a tailgate that underlines the X3’s crossover status – it appears to be not much bigger than that of a 5-Series wagon, and is unlikely to swallow the bulky objects more traditional off-roaders accept with ease.

The first engine available in the X3 is likely to be the 230-hp 3.0-liter six, which should give a maximum speed of around 130 mph, extended to 139 in sports trim. The engines for the X3 will not be direct transplants from BMW’s road car range because in the search for a lower center of gravity, the front drive shaft passes through the engine’s oil pan.

2005 BMW X3

2005 BMW X3

Enlarge Photo
2005 BMW X3

2005 BMW X3

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The interior of the X3 is also influenced by BMW’s road car styling, with twin instruments in a binnacle ahead of the driver and luxurious, rather than practical, furnishings. Equipment is top-notch too, with a retractable sat-nav screen, wheel-mounted radio controls and all the usual car-style air-conditioning and comfort items. One thing missing is the company’s controversial iDrive system.

Unlike the X5, which is built in the USA, the X3 will be built at the Steyr plant in Austria. Prices have not yet been released, but a figure of around $40,000 for the base model would not seem to be unrealistic.

 

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December 12, 2016
2005 BMW X3 X3 4-Door AWD 3.0i

The best car I've ever owned.

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Looked at the ML320 before I bought my X3. So glad I got the BMW. It's my first BMW, wish I would have done it a lot sooner. Can't beat the performance and it sounds so sweet. Bought an SUV for the winter... + More »
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