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Avg. Price Paid:$14,499 - $14,499
Original MSRP: $38,600 - $38,600
MPG: 18 City / 26 Hwy
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2008 BMW X3 Interior

This interior review was written when the 2008 BMW X3 was new.

Most critics praise the overall comfort, layout, and materials in the 2008 BMW X3, noting that it is nicely upgraded from prior models. Many note that the small SUV interior now seems to be of the same quality of materials and fit of other BMWs. BusinessWeek calls it "well-made and elegant."

The five-passenger crossover vehicle boasts "impressive" cargo room, according to Automotive.com, and the two-row, two-panel panoramic sunroof "bathes the cabin in daylight" according to Car and Driver. Edmunds calls the décor "more sophisticated than opulent," and Automotive.com agrees, noting "there's no mistaking the X3 for one of BMW's luxury sedans."

Though most like the interior materials, Consumer Guide points out that "some testers feel they're not as rich as they should be given the X3's lofty pricing." As evidence of this, they add, "Note that the standard upholstery is vinyl instead of leather, which is optional here but standard on most class competitors."

Seating

The 2008 X3 offers ample room, according to most reviewers, despite the fact that there is no third-seat option. Car and Driver appreciates the "impressive interior layout that yields a nearly perfect driving position," while at the same time "offering rear passengers the kind of legroom they might expect in a one-size-bigger ute." Edmunds observes (perhaps not surprisingly) that the "best seat in the X3 is the driver seat." With its standard eight-way power adjustment, the driver's perch "has lots of travel in all directions" according to the reviewer from Cars.com, who also notes that with the telescoping steering wheel, "there should be adequate room for drivers of all sizes."

The X3 has available Sport seats which feature adjustable thigh support. About.com says they are "firmer, more supportive and with better side bolstering than the standard X3 seats," but Automotive.com disagrees, saying the standard seats are more comfortable and "quite adequately restrain occupants' posteriors when the road begins to wind."

Most agree that rear passengers are treated to adequate legroom and headroom, though Cars.com complains that "a prominent center hump means passengers can't spread their feet out." Kelley Blue Book warns that in the rear seats, "foot and legroom can be tight with the front seats adjusted for tall front-seat occupants." Reviewers concur that the seating in the back is less than comfortable, with Automotive.com calling it "quite firm and virtually flat, like a church pew."

Interior Features

Reviewers like the X3's interior appointments, with Kelley Blue Book commenting on the "tasteful wood trim on its instrument panel and center stack." Armrests are now wrapped in either standard leatherette or the newly optional Nevada leather covering.

The driver's cup holder is in the center console, rather than popping out of the dash to the left of the steering wheel, as it does on some Bimmers. BusinessWeek calls this "a blessing," because dash-level cupholders "always seem to splash beverages on your left knee during hard driving in a small vehicle like the X3." The front passenger can access a retractable dash cupholder. Second-row passengers are treated to an auxiliary jack for MP3 players mounted on the back of the center console, which Cars.com notes "makes for a long reach for drivers."

Navigation

The consensus on the optional navigation system is that BMW needs to go back to the drawing board, with many critics lashing out at the design and utility of the system. Cars.com calls it "a bear to use -- even without BMW's much-maligned iDrive system" and Car and Driver labels it "a joke." Consumer Guide explains that it is "difficult to program, with cryptic markings and fussy controls." The system "sprouts out of the dash pad" according to Edmunds, anytime you turn the ignition key.

Cargo

The rear seats of the X3 fold down, expanding the relatively small back cargo area to a more usable size. "Cargo area, at 71 cubic feet, is impressive," according to Automotive.com, and the Boston Globe agrees, saying "a couple cruising the Maine coast on a Sunday afternoon would have plenty of room for antiques or overpriced lobster-trap coffee tables."

The cargo hold comes standard with a retractable cover, velour carpeting and side trim, with an auxiliary power outlet along the wall. An available cargo net can be positioned in different ways to separate cargo and seating areas. The Chicago Tribune notes that a small convenience container in the corner of the cargo hold "probably would carry a quart of milk."

Review Last Updated: 2/17/09

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