Last post on Oct 11, 2006 at 9:46 AM
You are in the BMW X3 & X5
What is this discussion about?
BMW X3, BMW X5, Performance Mods, SUV
Oct 01, 2006 (3:24 pm)
The X3 was never a truck, it seems very much like a 3 series car, in fact.
Too, it doesn't have the creds to play in the same sandbox as most SUV's even though it does have considerable "all road" capabilities -- indeed I drove up the side of a mountain in an X5 with the chase car being an X3 that walked 10 miles up a non-road to the top of Chimney Rock NC.
Now, with the new 260 HP engine, the 6speed auto or manual at the same price, improved gas mileage and the ability to equip it with virtually all the LPS goodies, it is a true alternative to a 4 door sedan.
The new dash, the new exterior dress up and the switch to very fine grain vinyl makes this "car" at $47K "the BMW of all-road activity vehicles."
It never was, however, a truck.
The X3, when driven by the BMW instructors, literally demonstrates faster track times than an M5 -- the straightaways are a different matter, but the X3 and X5 are able to "run with the big dogs" -- few truck based SUV's can do that. The Jeep SRT-8 loses a great deal of its off road capability in its transformation from trail rated to "drag strip" kingster.
Yesterday, my wife and I got behind the wheel of a new X3, pretty loaded at $47K (everything BUT navigation and Sirius.) It had not been prepped, so we could not drive it -- it seemed nicer (interior wise) than the 2006 X5 loaner we had been given for the day while the X3 was getting a new spring for the ash tray lid.
With the new engine and transmission, this X3 should really be winna!
Test drive results, next week.
#17 of 29 Re: 3 vs 3 [markcincinnati]
Oct 01, 2006 (6:24 pm)
The X3 was never a truck, it seems very much like a 3 series car, in fact.
But it isn't; the E83 weighs over two tons and sits over ten inches higher than an E90. Yes, the X3 handles OK, and it is very nimble for an SUV, but even Munich can't suspend the laws of physics. You see, "almost" only counts in horseshoes and thermonuclear exchanges.
The X3, when driven by the BMW instructors, literally demonstrates faster track times than an M5 -- the straightaways are a different matter
Are you talking corner speeds? Slaloms? What about lap times at the Ring? If the X3 is that good you'd think that they would be the weapon of choice for SCCA and BMW CCA autocrosses. Me, I'll take any ///M car any day over any X3/X5. For an experiment, why not bring your X3 to a CCA driving school and see how many other BMWs give you a point-by? That said, if you need decent ground clearance(as we do-the downside of living on an old family farm) or RWD gives you cold chills, then the X3 is an excellent choice. And, for what it's worth, if you talk to BMW engineers off the record(as I have) they refer to the X3 and X5 as-what else? Trucks.
#18 of 29 Re: 3 vs 3 [markcincinnati]
Oct 03, 2006 (4:45 pm)
sorry to have used the "t" word! Hope I did not offend you or the Mrs.!
In my test drives of the 5, 3 and X3 were pretty much in line with what I have read. The X3 (06 auto) felt quicker and more nimble than i thought it would. The ride quality was not great, but I had just come out of a 525 auto that was quicker than I thought and like "buttah" smooth. The 330i auto was not as roomy as the 5 (naturally) but was really nice and fun to drive. No MT's available to test!
What I am learning is the addiction to max out what is available and the intoxicating effect of shopping for these cars. Some sites chat up how "ultimate" the 335i is but one must consider these participants get angry at amber colored lens and pissed off that the new 335 trumps the less than year old 330i and that BMW really pulled a fast one. Having never owned a BMW and the reputation of "Bimmer owners" not being that great, I can now begin to uderstand what thats all about. One guy paid $1300 for the parts to get clear lens front lights (amberless!) There are many 22 year olds whom are really into this model and the mods are a bit much.
My point is I will likely balance what is available at what price and make an intellegent choice. I hate overpaying but really hope to strike a good deal and order what I want. Its gonna be more than "off the lot", but its gotta be decent.
These are all great cars and I can't go wrong.
#19 of 29 Re: 3 vs 3 [markcincinnati]
Oct 09, 2006 (9:21 am)
The X3, when driven by the BMW instructors, literally demonstrates faster track times than an M5 ... few truck based SUV's can do that.
Let's see. According to BMWUSA.com, when each is equipped with an automatic transmission,
the M5 weighs less than the X3;
the M5 generates 500HP/383lbft torque while the X3 produces 260/225;
the M5 accelerates 0-60 in 4.5 seconds while the X3(auto) takes 7.1;
the M5 has a CD of .31 while the X3 has a CD of .35; and
the M5, unlike the X3, doesn't sit 8 inches off the ground.
So, forgive me if I am skeptical when you say the X3 outperforms the M5 on the track.
#20 of 29 Re: 3 vs 3 [jrynn]
Oct 09, 2006 (9:32 am)
You're forgiven! I was thinking the same thing. We've know for some time mark is a touch smitten by his X3. And it ain't no puppy love!
Oct 09, 2006 (12:07 pm)
The phrase "when driven by the BMW instructors" is key.
At the M5 and "advanced" BMW schools, there are, frequently, participants who have taken many many driving schools and who -- some of them -- are weekend track stars, to boot.
Part of the experience at the school includes timed track runs with all cars on the track at once.
The instructors, driving X's, will literally run rings around even the most experienced folks who are behind the wheel of an M5.
Both the X3 and the X5 outperform the M5 when the X's are driven by the instructors and the M's are driven by the students.
This was a point being made, NOT so much by the instructors, but by the "advanced" students themselves who, over lunch at the BMW cafe, were remarking to those of us in the "X" class that being lapped by an X (when you are driving an M5) is a humbling experience.
We, mere mortals, are, generally unable to tap the potential of even the highest performance cars.
That is why the instructors said that a 530xi (when driven by a mere mortal) offers an unfair advantage over a 530i.
I do not think, per se, that the instructor was suggesting that "FOR THEM" a heavier AWD vehicle would be their first choice. They were saying that for "us," we would be able to produce "faster, higher, safer, better, improved, and more controlled" laps around the course with the 530xi than with the 530i because the 530xi takes "less skill." Of course they are sooo smooth that they don't resort to pointing out our obvious lack of high performance driving skills. Somehow they get the message across without telling us we are but "mere [driving] mortals."
Any port in the storm.
I'm sorry if you thought I claimed the X3 or X5 is able to perform better than an M5 under all conditions.
The point was and remains, that were WE to become better drivers (as good as the instructors, that is), we could make the SAV outperform the M -- were the M driven by "mere mortals."
#22 of 29 Pros v. amateurs
Oct 09, 2006 (1:44 pm)
So, if I understand you correctly now, you are saying.
"A fulltime professional driver in an X3 can go faster than an amateur driver in an M5."
#23 of 29 Re: Pros v. amateurs [jrynn]
Oct 09, 2006 (3:54 pm)
Well, I thought I said that the first time; and, although I suspect the "amateurs" would bristle at that characterization, considering the investment in driving schools that they have made, you are essentially correct.
The point remains, ability/skill trumps technology in this case.
Moreover, another point is that technology -- at least with respect to the X vs non-X comments made by the instructor -- can make up for amateur's deficiencies.
I am an amateur -- as I suspect most of us posters here are. So I will now consider the merits of a "modern" automatic transmission in a weight balanced AWD sports sedan.
At this stage, it is highly unlikely that I will become a pro driver.
I'll take all the advantages I can afford.
Right now a 335xi (and I might consider one with a stick, if it is still offered) seems to be about the best of all worlds.
Now, however, with a magic wand, an X3 with the same "35" engine and Audi's DSG transmission might be nirvana.
#24 of 29 Re: Pros v. amateurs [markcincinnati]
Oct 09, 2006 (4:19 pm)
...although I suspect the "amateurs" would bristle at that characterization, considering the investment in driving schools that they have made...
So your opinion of "amateur" driving schools is based on attending one "professional" school?
If I couldn't catch a "professionally driven" X3 with an E46 330i ZHP I'd hang up my helmet and driving gloves.
#25 of 29 Re: Pros v. amateurs [div2]
Oct 10, 2006 (7:03 am)
This was my fifth. I didn't say the driving school was amateur, I assumed you were suggesting that the folks in the "advanced" M classes (most of them their on top of multiple previous attendance) were amateurs.
The BMW and the Audi schools -- the two sponsors of the schools I have attended -- are professional schools. The folks in the "Advanced BMW -- 'M' schools" seem to be in training to become "pro-am" drivers.
I am not.
The focus of all the driving schools I have attended (each being 2 days) has been similar: get the car into an "out of control" situation and apply instruction and exercise in order to regain control, followed by continuing the exercises over and over at higher and higher speeds until once again, the threshold is crossed and once again control is lost. Then, during the out of control portion of the instruction, you learn how to counteract the out of control attitude of the vehicle and bring it back into control.
The "rinse lather repeat" school of high performance driving where the focus is on maintaining control or regaining control is what I have attended 4 times in Austria and once in South Carolina.
The "Advanced M high performance school" seems to have, as its primary focus, driving on a closed track in competition.
I have been through some of the same things as part of the on-road instruction I mentioned above -- I have NOT been on the path that trains students to either race in amateur road races or to become pro drivers.
The BMW Advanced M students were, IMHO, far from amateurs was a key point in my post.
Another point is that the technology MAY (it CAN) make a fair driver into a pretty good driver and so on.
Not being the pro, personally, I simply say I'll take all the technology advantages I can get.
Finally, were we as individuals to spend the money on training that we spend to "move our cars up the performance continuum," we would be able to "do more, go faster, be safer, etc." with lesser technology.
It makes me think my lowly Audi A6 3.2 could keep up with an Audi S6 V10 were I to spend $25,000 on training myself rather than on the upcharge reflected in the MSRP of these two vehicles.
Yet, were I to want to spend the extra $25K, I imagine I would spend it on the S6 instead of more training.
Perhaps YOU are already a professional driver, but the things our instructors could do with X3's and X5's typically would mean that the X's would be showing the M's their tail lights. Of course the straightaways did allow the M's to catch up with the X's.
In conclusion, the new X3 with the new 3.0 engine, tho. . . well driving that will give all but the most jaundiced pause -- the new 2007 X3 3.0 is (relatively) a screamer.