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BMW's little SUV is about as understated as it can be. The car focuses on function, along with a good driving experience.
Adaptive headlights come with the high-intensity headlight option.
The X3 isn't particularly tall. A person of average height can look right over the top.
The 3-liter, six-cylinder engine produces 260 horsepower, enough to get the X3 moving, but without dramatic acceleration.
With its small size and clean lines, we found the X3 to work well as an urban car.
Standard all-wheel drive helps the X3 out in slippery conditions.
As a small SUV, the X3 should be adequate to hold the luggage of its occupants.
The interior styling of the X3 is a generation old compared to other BMW models.
The panoramic sunroof option brings a lot of light into the car.
We expect the next iteration of the X3 to get the weird shifter we've seen on the X5 and 535i. This shifter controls a six-speed automatic, and includes manual gear selection and a sport mode.
Other BMW models have advanced to a new steering wheel style, with brushed aluminum accents.
This menu screen lacks any real design, and some of its entries are almost incomprehensible.
The knob and the Tone, Menu, and Sel buttons on the right control most of the infotainment functions. It works once you get used to it, but it's not a very refined system.
We like the resolution of the maps and find it novel that the navigation system shows GPS coordinates.
The nav system has a points-of-interest database, but it's not easy to find. You have to go into an Information submenu when entering an address.
The stereo in the X3, which produces a good, strong sound, allows for lots of tweaking with this seven-band graphic equalizer.
The auxiliary audio input is inconveniently placed behind the center console, facing the rear seats.
Phone integration in the X3 is excellent. The system lets you access your phone book.
The trip computer gives you useful information such as range to empty and miles per gallon. You can also have this information displayed on the instrument cluster.
The X3 isn't much of an off-roader, but it does have hill descent control, which will maintain a slow speed on slippery slopes.