I've always wanted a BMW, ever since visiting the BMW outlet in Munich, Germany... it was just a matter of what model. And when.
I have always hunkered for an M3 – but the practicalities versus cost equation did not add up.
When the F25 X3 model was released, I grabbed a brochure and stuck a few photos on the fridge... this was in 2012.
Roll on 2016. My situation was that I was looking for an update to my 2007 Subaru Outback 30R with all the fruit – a terrific vehicle in its day – but it was starting to age and connectivity was a bit behind current offerings.
A new BMW X3 30D was looking to be around $85k and while it had most of what I was looking for, cost was still an issue for this not-so-wealthy person! So I considered a good second-hand model might be to go.
After a period of time, the car that is now mine became available from a local WA dealer and after some discussions, we agreed on a $41k exchange.
And I love it – a 30D in an X5 was a great motor – but put the same engine in a lighter frame and there is not much that can stick with it, especially in sport mode. And with the terrific fuel economy, the best of both worlds.
Since purchase (15,000km later), I am averaging 7.4 litres per 100km and quite often get over 900km from the tank. That's almost double what I was getting in the Outback 30R – which needed Premium to run well!
The sports pack is a must for me – for the hugging seats, 19-inch wheels, drive modes and handling. I love that I can open the boot with the remote, love that Bluetooth connectivity works a treat (navigation system professional), thus making it safer and I have been told the voice transmission through the inbuilt mics is super (one on each driver and passenger sides).
The eight-speed gearbox is a charm... unless you're purposely looking at the tachometer, it is hard to notice the seamless changes.
The brakes? Simply superb.
To date, there have been no reliability issues. The car feels solid with no squeaks and/or rattles even after 110,000km. It is generally quiet on the road, though the larger tyres do roar a little on course bitumen, but, compared to my old wheels, it is a more cosseted and comfortable ride. It's brilliantly smooth on smooth surfaces.
The bi-xenon lights are super and the head-up display means I rarely need to look at the dash to keep my speed in check.
There is really not much to fault with this car for my current requirements. The back seat is a bit tight if the front seats are fully back, but if I wanted space, I would have grabbed an X5.
I don't miss the fact I don't have a sunroof (I had one in the Outback, but with the WA sun, I hardly ever used it(, so the weight saving is welcomed.
Possibly the only sacrifice is the sound system. I had a wonderful 11-speaker McIntosh system in the Subaru, but now have the standard system (two woofers under the seats and four further speakers) – but given this – it is not that bad. It certainly doesn't have me rushing for an upgrade – that would be costly.
So the new 2018 model has surfaced. I might wander into the dealer and grab a brochure for the fridge. Dream visualisation is powerful tool, it seems!