27 Jan 2014

2011 BMW X3: first impressions

I have been driving a 2011 BMW X3 for 3.5 days now. Thought of recording my initial impressions with the car. (I know it’s not technically a car, but calling it a car makes talking about it easy.)
I was driving a rental Chevy Sonic Hatchback until I got the X3. Switching from this puny car, I didn’t like the X3’s handling in the first two days. The car felt massive and heavy. I think I am starting to get used to the bigger car now.
Compared to the Jeep Cherokee I test drove, however, the X3 was nicer to drive. The X3 had a lot less body roll, and the suspension was a lot smoother on the X3. Cherokee screams “utility” wherever you look. It had plenty of storage space; it had a wireless charger in-built; it had a 110V plug point. X3 doesn’t have as much storage space, which is a bit inconvenient at times.
I didn’t get to choose the features of my X3 because it was a used car. But I’m quite happy with the feature set my X3 has. Putting essentials like bluetooth audio streaming, navigation, etc. aside, the first thing I liked about it was keyless entry. I can open, drive, and lock the car with the key in my pocket. I don’t even have to touch the key. This is liberating, and I love it. The next thing I noticed was that it has auto-dimming mirrors. Looking in the mirrors at night is very pleasant. When I was driving inside Yosemite National Park last night, my car’s headlights turned in the direction of the steering wheel so I could see what was on the road before the car turned. This is a nicety that you won’t much notice when you have it, but a pain when you don’t have it. I’m glad my car has it.

The car’s engine response is good. Cruise control is great too. When the car is on cruise control, the speed never fluctuates no matter how the road is. It climbs up or down the hill with no change in speed — very impressive.

In the last two days, the car’s overall fuel consumption has been 27.2 mpg (11.56 kmpl), which is better than the quoted numbers (19 mpg city, 25 mpg highway).
Overall, the car has been good, I am happy with the purchase. Although my plans to try off-roading may not work out well with this AWD car.


  1. Thanks for your frank review..Im in the threshold of buying my first car..or perhaps a second hand SUV..still confused.

    1. I was very confused when I was buying mine too. Fuel economy of the X3 isn't as good, but that's natural since throttle response is amazing. Quickly jumping from around 40mph to 60mph on freeways doesn't make me nervous as the car speeds up in about a second. Overall, I am pleased with my purchase.

      Wish you good luck with your purchase!