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Roadfly Magazine
Chef Alton Brown: BMWs, Books, Good Eats & Iron Chef America
Issue Fourteen
November 8, 2004
Alton Brown:
Talks Bikes, Books, & Good Eats
Helmet Guide:
What to Look For
2004 BMW X3 2.5i Sport
2005 Chrysler 300C Hemi
iPod FM Transmitter Review
Coming Next Issue
Chip Foose
BMW 760Li
VW Phaeton W12
Prepare for Winter

2004 BMW X3 2.5i Sport
The Younger X Does BMW Proud


2004 BMW X3 interior is wonderful

We love the sunroof option in the BMW X3

Go to
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Official Web site:
BMW North America
Once inside, we found the X3 bore a striking resemblance to its bigger, older brother. With a relatively high seating position and the familiar BMW dash and instrument configuration, there's no mistaking the X3 for anything other than pure BMW. The interior, as comfortable, spacious and ergonomically correct as it is, did suffer from a bit of a "plastic" feel. The vast amounts of textured plastic, combined with sparse wood accents gave the X3 a slightly cheapened feel. Further confirming our suspicions was the tinny "clank" that the doors made when pulled closed. Call us silly, but we're used to the vault-like thud of older, larger BMWs.

The view from the X3 is superb, and we especially like the large, panoramic sunroof option. It gives the cabin an open, airy feel, especially in the back seats, where shoulder room is at a bit of a premium. Passengers riding in the rear seats will find leg room to be similar to the X5.

On the road, our X3 2.5i Sport was a joy to drive. Handling was typical BMW - spot on, with accurate steering that offered excellent feedback. No matter how hard we charged into a corner, the xDrive and multi-link rear suspension provided endless grip, and gave the X3 a solid, sure-footed feel, with no hint of typical 4x4 understeer. And as great as the xDrive system was at speed, it was even better at slow speeds.

In parking situations, the xDrive system automatically rolls back power to the front wheels to allow for easier low-speed maneuvering. Give the X3 a strong kick at start-up, and the xDrive delivers a nearly perfect torque split to both front and rear axles to allow for maximum grip. At highway speed, the ride is tight and slightly firm, conveying an almost sports-car-like feeling. We experienced none of the jolting or jarring that other publications have complained about.

Taking the X3 off road really allows it to show off. Flying down bumpy, uneven, back-woods fire-escape roads, the X3 rode and drove like an off-road veteran. The suspension handily swallowed the ruts, bumps and other irregularities while the interior remained silent. Perhaps most impressive was how competent the X3 was in slick, muddy conditions, despite wearing 50-series tires that were primarily designed for paved applications. We believe this is a testament to xDrive's capability.

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