I was looking for an SUV that was economical as we drive every weekend to our beach house in Blairgowrie, Victoria. I was working for a media buying company that handled BMW and I could access vehicles off their Press and Executive fleet. As it turned out our vehicle had also been used by Drive and a couple other publications. My budget was $65k and the X3 was my choice. It was the first diesel car that I had owned and I was pleasantly surprised with the torque and cruising ability. The economy was a big improvement on my BMW 330Ci coupe that I had been driving.
We loved the Mineral White colour with the Mocha brown leather interior and also the panoramic sun roof. There was not much that we disliked, apart from my car nut friends who were not fans of diesel cars.
I really like the way that the car drives and I tend to leave it in standard drive as the economy setting is way too sluggish and the Sport setting is very noisy and too jerky and responsive.
The car drives really well and is ideal for cruising, featuring an excellent cruise control system. The engine is well matched with the transmission and it is quite sprightly off the mark. The technology is good, apart from the sat-nav and the connectivity for devices such as music streaming. One very annoying issue has been the front distance sensors which are too sensitive and will go off sometimes due to wet roads or foliage on median strips when stopped on a divided highway - we have had them reset which was an improvement but they are still annoying.
The car has been very reliable and we have only been let down by the run flat tyres on three or four occasions over the six years and 100,000 kilometres that the vehicle has travelled. It is a very comfortable and reliable car with great interior space, flexibility and a good load carrying capacity which works for us.
The only improvements would be sat-nav and the music connectivity, which I have no doubt are up to speed in more current models. The vehicle still looks good on the road and any changes in body shape on later models have been evolutionary, so it still feels contemporary. The run-flat tyre issue is an interesting debate - in my view I would prefer the extra interior and luggage capacity over six years compared to being inconvenienced the three or four times that we have experienced. All in all it's a very reliable and practical vehicle which looks good, performs well and has remarkable fuel economy.
I have also been impressed with the warranty and service costs which have totalled $5,500 over the six years that we have owned the car. I was disappointed with one issue which was a loud click in the sunroof when you traveled over bumps on the highway - I only mentioned it at one service and was told that it would have been rectified under warranty, however the warranty on my vehicle had just expired! I thought that this issue should have been managed as a vehicle recall or rectification.