Hot in the Lot
Justin Pryor’s BMW X3NEIRAD enilno edition
If you ever arrive at the school parking lot at 6:30 AM, you might see senior Justin Pryor’s 2006 X3 backed into the first parking space before the Student/Faculty divide. (He gets to school quite early.) The BMW X3 looks like an X5, just scaled down and consequently slightly awkward. The X3 is considered a “cross over,” a term the auto industry developed as a way to cosmetically combat higher gas prices and be more ‘eco friendly.’ See, SUVs are frowned upon by being, well, gas guzzling terrorists, extremely big, extremely inefficient, and extremely American. So, what auto groups decided to do to cope with the energy crisis that hit in the early 2000’s was take their flagship full-sized SUVs, and squish them on all angles, decreasing the height, the length, the width, and the wheelbase – the result, a small(er) vehicle, and everyone knows that small cars equal efficiency… right? Well the new term ‘crossover’ was cordially accepted by the public, the media, and the government, as an eco-conscious median between SUV’s and hatchbacks. The problem however, is that most people fail to realize that just because a car is smaller, doesn’t mean it is more efficient, even though this misconception probably helped BMW’s X3 sales when it was introduced in 2004. For example, the BMW X3 has the same engine as the BMW X5, a 3.0 liter naturally aspirated inline six cylinder. Keep the same engine, all wheel drive, and off-road capability, and the overall benefit of the downsizing effort is a whopping 2 MPG (mile per gallon) gain of the X3 over the X5. Go green!
But in all fairness, the X3 is a good car, SUV – I mean crossover. (Actually for the redesigned 2011 model BMW is calling it an SAV. Is that German? Nope, it stands for Sports Activity Vehicle. Good one BMW!) The X3 handles and performs almost as well as the 3 Series, and for a ‘crossover’ that is quite exceptional. The steering is quick and the chassis and suspension are tight and composed. Justin’s 2006 X3’s 3.0 liter engine makes 225 horsepower at the top of the rev range, and 214 ft/lbs of torque in the middle. All X3s have all wheel drive but the customer can choose between a 5 speed automatic and a 6 speed manual. Justin’s is equipped with the automatic.
The X3 was introduced in 2004 and stayed relatively unchanged until 2010, with a minor facelift in 2007, all the while staying close cousins to the renowned 3 series. Outside of the astounding fuel efficiency motive, the X3 is a great alternative to the X5 or a sedan if someone is looking for a quick, compact vehicle that is confident carving turns, that also allows he or she to easily throw all their stuff in. The X3 is an uncompromising compromise, a truthful paradox of explaining the essence of the X3. It is part sports sedan, part SUV; it has performance and handling capabilities, yet it is capable of handling nearly anything you want to put in it. The X3 is the ultimate compromise vehicle between large and small, fast and slow, and pleasurable and utilitarian. Yet, it is uncompromising in its composition; the independent four wheel suspension and 3 series alleles allows it to handle in a way it should not be physically capable of. BMW’s Xdrive all-wheel drive and elevated ride height makes the X3 eager to take on any weather conditions with ease. Everything the BMW X3 does, it does incredibly well, and call it what you want, but that, my friends, is a rarity in every segment.