BMW would call it a Sport Activity Vehicle (SAV) although the vehicle is essentially a crossover sport/utility vehicle (SUV) or XUV. But does the name make the BMW X3 something special? What does the BMW X3 have to offer that is not yet present in most conventional SUVs that we have today? And what more can the vehicle do than what BMW sedans and station wagons already do?
The BMW X3 is a Sport Activity Vehicle, the second vehicle of its kind manufactured by BMW after receiving enormous praises and success with the BMW X5. Introduced in 2004, the X3 is basically an offshoot of the BMW X5, although the X3 is a bit larger, lighter, has more interior and cargo space, and offers a whole new range of innovative features that were not available on previous models of the BMW X5 (although most of the features of the new X3 are also available in the new X5). Currently, the vehicle is available with two engine options: a 2.5-liter 195 hp I6 and a 3.0-liter 231 hp I6. A 6-speed manual transmission is standard on both options while a 5-speed automatic transmission is optional.
With all the new and innovative BMW X3 parts and features it is equipped with, the new BMW X3 SAV is capable of doing some things that most other vehicle types can't do. The vehicle's xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive system allows the vehicle to perform capably on the road and off the road, something that most conventional SUVs, sedans and station wagons can't do. Other features that aid the BMW X3 in its functions are the dynamic stability control (DSC) and the Hill Descent Control (HDC) features.
With on-road and off-road capabilities, is there anything more that you can ask for with the BMW X3? Well, probably more of the said capabilities. While it is true that the vehicle can cruise on the road and traverse the off-road track, its performance on either path is acceptable at the most. There are definitely a lot of areas to improve on, especially if BMW want the vehicle to perform like a competitive SUV off the road and a smooth cruising sedan or station wagon on the road.
The sunroof of my BMW X3 got stuck, and it only moves a couple of inches whenever I push the button. Should I take it to the dealer already, or is there a quick fix that I can do at home?
Before you bring your SUV to the dealer, you may try to reset it first. To do this, turn your key to position 2. Press the sunroof button "up" instead, and hold it. Do not start the car. Wait for about ten seconds, and the sunroof will open and close entirely. Let it finish opening and closing as you hold the button. Once you're done, the sunroof has been reset. If it still doesn't work, you may bring it to the dealer already. There might be a problem with the system, and it needs an expert to fix it.
I just bought a new BMW X3, and I wonder if it is good for off-roading. Should I risk it?
As a sports utility vehicle (SUV), your X3 is built to perform in rough roads. Although it is a luxury SUV, its technical features enable it to be your perfect vehicle even in worst roads and hilly areas. With its robust body structure and good clearance, it will surely deliver. It is inevitable to feel the bumps here and there, but its rear wheel drive and superb suspension will balance the experience, and leave you in awe. Just keep your vehicle away from scratches due to tree branches. You can apply polish or wax after to keep its paint intact.
I recently had my oil changed, and since then, I smell something burning whenever I'm driving. What's wrong with my vehicle?
Your valve cover gasket might be leaking, especially if your SUVs' mileage is already 60,000. This burning smell comes from the engine compartment, and is usually complemented with oil drips on the ground. When this happens, you need to check the gasket for signs of wearing out. Replace it immediately with a new one to avoid compromising your engine. Inspect the other parts as well for leaks.
I was driving my X3 until it overheated. I'm worried that my engine might get damaged. What can I do?
Your coolant might be leaking from your expansion tank, which can cause your engine to overheat. When this happens, you should take your vehicle to a car specialist to inspect your cooling system. Some of your cooling system components might be failing, and are set for replacement. You should be wary of overheating as it may result to engine damage, which is expensive. When your engine overheats again, bring it immediately to the repair shop.
Whenever my windows are fully up, I can hear a squeaking noise coming from the top of the front and rear doors. What is happening?
This is a common observation especially when your vehicle is already more than five years old. The noise is due to the decaying material on the door seals. You may replace the door seals, or use a special lube to eliminate the noise. Otherwise, it will continue squeaking and may even let water to come in your windows.
BMW X3: The SAV
Dubbed as a
sports activity vehicle (SAV), the BMW X3 is one of the more unique vehicles from the German automotive giant. The term
sports activity vehicle was coined by BMW as a means to brand its crossover vehicles, which combine the qualities of SUVs and regular cars. The first SAV model line, the BMW X5, debuted in 1999. The X3 arrived four years after as BMW looked to expand its line of SAVs.
2004: A Rough Start
The world got its first glimpse of the BMW X3 at the Detroit Auto Show in 2003. The X3 was based on the brand’s annual best-seller, the BMW 3 series. It utilized the said platform in order to provide passengers with the 3 Series’ trademark comfort and drivability. But since the X3 is a crossover, it also had a spacious interior and the rugged features of an SUV.
Despite being only
half an SUV, the X3 was heavily marketed as an off-road vehicle. Its off-road capability was boosted by BMW’s xDrive, the brand’s trademark automatic four-wheel drive system. A variety of quality engines provided the X3 with an ample amount of horsepower. It was also loaded with an assortment of deluxe features. But despite those, the original X3 was panned by critics for having limited off-road usage, being too minimalist, and being composed of parts that were mostly made of plastic. The fact that it was also on the expensive side didn’t help matters.
2005: The Overhaul
As a response to the rather lukewarm reception that the X3 received, BMW overhauled the SAV for the 2005 model year. The 2005 X3 got a new set of powerful engines, an improved suspension system, an upgraded stability control system, and enhanced brakes. The X3 shifted away from plastic as most of its components were now composed of better materials. Of course, there were also new luxury features such as automatic climate control and heated seats. All of these changes improved the X3’s standing among automotive consumers.
2007: Significant Updates
2007 marked the final year that the BMW X3 would be significantly updated before the debut of the second generation. The 2007 X3 received a new set of engines (similar to those on the 3 Series), an improved xDrive system, and various suspension upgrades. The exterior and the interior were also restyled.
2010: The Second Generation
The second-generation BMW X3 arrived in 2010 (as a 2011 model). The latest incarnation of the X3 features major updates in both design and performance. It‘s now a much better off-road vehicle and looks far sleeker than it was before. The X3 has definitely gone a long way from its rather shaky start; today, it’s regarded as one of the better crossovers in the market.