INTRO: One year out from a complete redesign, the 2012 BMW X3 luxury crossover retains the brand's performance oriented "Sport Activity Vehicle" formula that incorporates upscale features with solid construction and contemporary design elements.
The compact 5-passenger X3 uses current BMW design cues including a twin-kidney shaped grille and halo style headlamps. Privacy glass is standard and contributes to the overall elegant styling.
Available X3 models include the xDrive28i and xDrive35i. Our xDrive28i test model came equipped with the optional Sports Activity Package that includes 18-inch alloy wheels, roof rails and the x-line exterior trim package that features satin finish side skirts and aluminum side-window trim.
PERFORMANCE: The X3 uses a 3-liter inline 6-cylinder engine. The xDrive28i gets a naturally aspirated version that makes 240 horsepower while the xDrive35i gets a turbocharged version producing 300 horsepower. Both models send power to BMW's xDrive full time all-wheel drive through an 8-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode.
FUEL ECONOMY: Here are the highest and lowest EPA estimates for fuel economy:
FEATURES: The spacious 90 cubic foot cabin gives all passengers ample head and shoulder space. Meanwhile, aiming to fulfill its utility objective, the X3 manages 56.5 cubic feet of cargo with rear seats folded. Standard features in our test model include 8-way power adjustable seats, a 12-speaker, 205-watt stereo and a leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel with controls for audio, Bluetooth hands-free calling and cruise control.
Using the latest version of BMW's iDrive information and entertainment interface, the X3 provides an easy and intuitive way to operate Bluetooth connected smartphones, the audio system with connected USB devices and many other vehicle functions.
The Premium package is a good value for the 28i, adding features that are standard on the 35i such as wood or brushed aluminum interior accents and a panoramic sunroof. On the 35i, the Premium package adds a power tailgate.
SAFETY: Standard safety features include dynamic stability control, antilock disc brakes with automatic brake drying, active head restraints, and a full array of front and side impact airbags.
PRICING: Base MSRP for the 2012 X3 xDrive28i is $37,100. An xDrive35i model starts at $42,700.
WARRANTY: The X3 is backed by a standard BMW no maintenance 4-year, 50,000-mile warranty that is transferable to subsequent owners.
CLOSING: With sophisticated styling and technology, coupled with crossover versatility and all-weather performance, the 2012 BMW X3 has evolved in a compelling direction.