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You'll Like The 2010 BMW X3 If...

If you would be driving a German compact sport sedan, such as a BMW 3 Series, but want or need more utility, ground-clearance and all-wheel-drive security, the 2010 BMW X3 is the logical choice.

You May Not Like The 2010 BMW X3 If...

The 2010 BMW X3 is less powerful and more expensive than others in its class and its ride and handling balance leans toward smooth-road handling. You may be happier with something more powerful, softer-riding and/or more affordable.

What's New

For model year 2010, the Panoramic Moonroof becomes a stand alone option or can be had by ordering the Premium Package.

Interior Features

The X3’s interior has fold-flat second-row seats and tasteful wood trim on its instrument panel and center stack. This wood also decorates gracefully sculpted front door pulls that angle front-to-rear between twin door-storage pockets at their lower ends. The steering wheel has multi-function controls, and a convenient covered storage bin sits above twin air outlets at dash-top center. Non-fans of BMW’s iDrive multi-system controller will be pleased that the X3 makes use of previous-generation 3 Series controls. Second-row head and shoulder room are good, but foot and legroom can be tight with the front seats adjusted for tall front-seat occupants.

Exterior Features

The 2010 BMW X3 retains the slab-sided BMW look in a tall wagon shape. Its signature twin-kidney grilles, smaller than the X5’s, sit above a blacked-out over-bumper air intake. Below the bumper, its black lower fascia houses additional air intakes for radiator and brake cooling. Quad round headlamps above round outboard fog lamps are covered by wrap-around clear lenses. In back, a functional roof spoiler houses the high-mounted brake lamp, and twin round exhausts protrude from the left side of the lower fascia. One clear differentiator from the larger X5 is its kicked-up window behind the rear door on each side. The design is beginning to show its age, however, especially when placed beside the new Mercedes-Benz GLK or Land Rover LR2.

Driving Impressions

The 2010 BMW X3 is sort of a tall 3 Series wagon and will entertain enthusiast drivers accordingly. Even without the available Sport Package, it stops, steers and corners like a BMW should. Its 260 horsepower is less than that of most rivals, and its ride is slightly stiff-legged, though recent suspension tweaks create a somewhat softer ride than in previous models. We found our automatic-equipped test vehicle’s throttle response a little jerky at times during routine driving, and the single-cupholder console is lacking in places to put things. There is a covered bin at dash-top center, however, and a second pull-out cupholder at the far right of the dash. We averaged roughly 19 miles per gallon around town and 21 mpg at highway speeds.

Pricing Notes

Alone in its class with an in-line six and standard manual transmission, the 2010 BMW X3’s Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts just shy of the $40,000 mark and tops out around $53,000 fully loaded. Fair Purchase Prices that represent prices that consumers are actually paying at any moment can differ substantially, so click on the Fair Purchase Prices to compare. The X3’s pricing compares favorably to the Lexus RX 350, Lincoln MKX and Mercedes-Benz GLK350 4Matic, all with V6s and standard automatics. The X3 falls mid-pack when it comes to resale, however, with higher five-year residual values than the Lincoln MKX or Land Rover LR2, but slightly lower than the Lexus RX 350 and Mercedes-Benz GLK350.

Notable Equipment

The 2010 BMW X3’s standard features include a choice of six-speed manual or six-speed STEPTRONIC automatic transmission, xDrive full-time all-wheel drive, variable-assist power rack-and-pinion steering, all-season tires on 17-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, rain-sensing wipers, rear-window wiper and washer, halogen headlamps with automatic control, leather-wrapped tilt and telescoping steering wheel, height-adjustable eight-way power front seats with memory, leatherette upholstery, one-touch power windows, power heated outside mirrors, keyless entry with multi-function remote control, automatic climate control and AM/FM/CD/MP3 eight-speaker audio with auxiliary input jack. Standard safety equipment includes Dynamic Stability Control, electronic brake proportioning, anti-lock brakes, Dynamic Brake Control, Hill Descent Control and six airbags.

Notable Options

The X3 offers Cold Weather, Premium, Sport Activity and Sport packages, the latter adding 18-inch wheels and sport suspension, seats, steering wheel and exterior trim. Stand-alone options include a selection of optional wheels and tires, xenon adaptive headlamps with auto leveling, Panoramic Moonroof, front and rear Park Distance Control, heated front seats and steering wheel, Servotronic power steering, navigation system, dual power lumbar seat adjusters, premium audio system, leather upholstery, HD Radio, privacy glass, rear side-impact airbags and BMW Assist Safety Services.

Favorite Features

xDrive Full-Time All-Wheel DriveWith limited ground clearance and all-season tires, the X3 has few off-road aspirations but one of the best all-weather all-wheel-drive systems on the market. It electronically varies front-to-rear torque and traction control to optimize grip.Optional Xenon Adaptive HeadlampsAutomatically leveled and steered in response to steering angle, vehicle speed and turning rate, they light more of the road through curves and dips and are encircled by luminous rings that serve as parking and (if desired) daytime running lights. This option also adds a cornering light feature to the fog lamps.

Under the Hood

The 2010 BMW X3 is powered by a 260-horsepower dual overhead camshaft (DOHC) 24-valve 3.0-liter in-line six with lightweight magnesium/aluminum construction. Like BMW’s V8 engines, it features Valvetronic electronic valve actuation and Double VANOS variable valve timing for better-than-expected fuel efficiency.3.0-liter in-line 6260 horsepower at 6600 rpm225 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2750 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24

Editors' Notes

BMW’s X3 "Sport Activity Vehicle" debuted in 2003 and has undergone a steady series of improvements year after year. Equipped with BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system, the X3 offers all the safety and security of the larger X5 in a smaller, more nimble package. Like the X5, the 2010 BMW X3’s claim to fame is successfully wedding SUV attributes (aggressive tall-wagon look, utility, all-weather security, "command" seating position) to BMW attributes of performance and fun-to-drive handing agility.

Road Test Video Reviews

2010 BMW X3 Owner Reviews

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BMW is the way to go. Built for either road conditions.

2010 BMW X3

This x3 is a great ride, fuel efficient, luxury good size, comfort, sporty price is right. I mean I would not trade it for anything but another one or an x5. I do know when buying tires you "must" buy two at a time or all 4 and it must be the correction size. Other than that I haven't had any serious issues besides the key /remote going out of whack at times.

- Steve S

My car is very good for student drivers.

2010 BMW X3

It has lots of power while maintaining great handling. It'll take some time to get used to the sensitivity of the accelerator and the brake. It also only has one cup holder which I do not like, but that is obviously not a deal breaker. I have the base model so I do not have any upgrades, but I do not feel like I need them either. The car works very well.

- Luka C

It's a good car. Good value, reliable, good performance, comfortable, and stylish. Great for the whole family.

2010 BMW X3

My BMW X3 2010 still looks good and is made of high quality material. It drives well. Fast acceleration and fairly comfortable to drive. It's age is showing though and the front seat makes a constant squeaking sound. Also the mileage isn't that great.


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