Car Review: BMW's luxury crossover SUV has it all

If you love the BMW brand, you’re going to especially love the 2012 X3. Photo: 2012 BMW X3

DALLAS, August 20, 2012 — Most people love something about the BMW brand, me included. I particularly happen to like the 2012 BMW X3, one of which I recently drove, finding a sporty sedan feel in the package of a crossover SUV.

Mostly unchanged in 2012, the BMW X3 did add a few new features if you are looking for little things. It remains a major player for its market, where the competition includes the Infiniti EX35, Mercedes-Benz GLK350, Audi Q5, and the Volvo XC60.

The 2012 BMW X3 is for buyers looking for a compact luxury crossover. It is offered in two trims that also match up to two specific engines: the xDrive28i and the xDrive35i.

The standard features for the 28i include 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, fog lights, automatic wipers, eight-way power front seats, tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, and BMW’s iDrive electronics interface. There’s also a 12-speaker sound system with all the goodies.

If you opt for a 35i, you get 18-inch alloy wheels, adaptive xenon headlights, a panoramic sunroof and a wood interior, as well as the 28i features.

To add onto that, there are a number of packages to choose from, like the Sport Activity package with 18-inch or 19-inch wheels (depending on trim), roof rails, sport front seats, a sport steering wheel, and a sport mode-equipped transmission with paddle shifters (35i). There is also the M Sport package, which adds different wheel styles and a blacked-out exterior trim with chrome exhaust.

The Premium package for the 28i trim adds power-folding/auto-dimming mirrors, panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery, and front seat power lumbar support. The 35i version adds keyless ignition/entry, a power tailgate, and rear window sunshades.

The Technology package includes a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, and a navigation system with voice commands. 

There is also the Dynamic Handling package with adaptive suspension dampers, variable-ratio steering, and three driver-selectable drive modes. The Convenience package adds adaptive xenon headlights, keyless ignition/entry, a power tailgate and rear window sunshades, while the Cold Weather package adds heated front seats and steering wheel and a 40/20/40-split rear seat.

Under the hood you’ll find a 3.0-liter inline-6 engine for both X3 models. The engine in the xDrive28i offers 240 horsepower with 221 pound-feet of torque or the turbocharged option xDrive35i with 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque. There is an eight-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift and AWD in both.

Safety features include antilock disc brakes, automatic brake drying, front, front-seat side and full-length side curtain airbags, active front-seat head restraints and stability, and hill descent control.

The interior is your typical BMW styling with the classic gauges and a clean ergonomically correct layout. Of course, the material is quality too as is the iDrive electronics, intuitive to a fault. 

Plenty of room for all five passengers inside with more than enough room for passengers in the front seat and lots of legroom in the rear as well.

Plus the drive feels good with the weight distributed about equally on the front and rear axles. Overall, the 2012 BMW X3 handles just right with on-the-mark speed-sensitive steering so when you take the road in this one you own it. 

Should You Need to Know: With so many package options you can literally customize anything you want on this one.

Miles Per Gallon: The 2012 BMW X3 xdrive35i that I drove came in at 19 miles per gallon in the city and 26 miles per gallon on the highway.

Cost: This same trim was price tagged at $55,845 with the Technology and Premium package additions.

 Rita Cook is a writer/editor with has over 1000 articles to her credit in the past 13-plus years. She is a frequent auto and travel contributor on a radio show in Los Angeles called Insider Mag Radio at KPRO 1570 am on from midnight to 12:30 a.m. Monday mornings. 

She also contributes travel and auto to the Anthony Duva show, which can be heard live from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. EST every Sunday at

Cook is a member of the Texas Auto Writer’s Association, writes for the Dallas Morning News Green Living Section as well as artist profiles and www.greensourceDFW and spends much of her time on the road traveling or working on books.

Her latest book releases are both “Haunted Dallas” and “Haunted Fort Worth” from Her third book in the Haunted Series will be released in October “Haunted Bartlesville, Oklahoma.”  Follow Cook at Twitter at @ritacook13. 

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Rita Cook

Rita Cook is a writer/editor with over 1000 articles to her credit in the past 10-plus years. She is the co-host of a radio show in Los Angeles; Insider Mag Radio at KPRO 1570 am and is on from midnight to 12:30 a.m. Monday mornings.  Cook is a member of the Texas Auto Writer’s Association and also writes an eco-friendly column for the Dallas Morning News.


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