Reviews

2013 BMW X3 Walk Around

The lines of the latest BMW X3 are crisp and familiar. Up front is the usual forward-leaning BMW kidney grille, and the headlight assembly is large and emphatic. BMW says the twin round headlights combined with the round fog lamps form a triangular light pattern that is characteristic of BMW's Sport Activity Vehicles. The upper edge of the headlight assembly is accented by a chrome trim, and BMW's signature Corona Rings are again used as the daytime running lights. When equipped with the optional xenon high-intensity discharge headlights, the Corona Rings and daytime running lights are provided by bright white LEDs.

The profile of the BMW X3 is characterized by flared wheel arches and short front and rear overhangs. Three creases in the car's side add detail to the silhouette, with the X3's signature upper contour line (at door-handle level) rising steeply from the front wheel arch area, then tapering toward the rear light clusters. This line is echoed by two subtle lines following the contour line above the wheel arches.

Horizontal lines abound at the rear, with contrasting angles at the rear glass and lights providing perspective. The designers have used concave planes and a recessed license plate area to alter the reflective dimensions, adding a sculpted effect. The taillights are positioned well to the outside, and have a distinctive mushroom shape that allows the outboard lenses to be substantially larger than the shapes in the tailgate. LED light bars are intended to create a distinctive BMW nighttime design signature.

Interior

The interior of the BMW X3 is welcoming, with tasteful surfaces and a tidy arrangement of components. Dark dashboard moldings contrast with lighter lower sections and carpet colors. High-grade wood trim accents are used sparingly on the center console, door cappings, and above the glovebox.

The view out the windshield is commanding. Big mirrors provide a good spread of rearward visibility to deal with the inevitable blind spots that occur in cars with vertical D-pillars.

A fourth-generation iDrive multi-media controller keeps control-button proliferation to a minimum, and the dashboard looks tidy and organized.

Anyone with a passing acquaintance with BMW ergonomics will have everything working within seconds; strangers may take a few minutes more, but they'll doubtless appreciate the quality feel of the switches and controls. A fat-rimmed three-spoke steering wheel incorporates various satellite switches for the audio system and cruise control, and the ambiance is at once functional and luxurious. Storage compartments and cupholders are present at every turn.

The navigation system uses an 8.8-inch high-resolution display featuring a trans-reflective screen said to be the largest in the vehicle segment.

The rear cargo area provides 19 cubic feet of space with the rear seats in place, or 56.6 cubic feet with the rear seas folded down. Rear-seat backrests split 60/40 and can be folded separately or together. The rear seats that come with the optional ski pass-through have three segments (40/20/40) that can also be folded down individually.

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