Go Back   Team-BHP > BHP India > Team-BHP Reviews > Test-Drives & Initial Ownership Reports


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 28th January 2018, 19:57   #1
BHPian
 
Hayek's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Bombay
Posts: 794
Thanked: 2,102 Times
Default Yet another BMW X3 20d on Team-BHP : One Year / 10000 km of joy

As some of you may know, I picked up a BMW X3 20d xline about a year ago. I thought of starting a thread on this car right away, but felt that given the presence of truly exceptional BMW X3 threads such as Santosh Bhat's Magnum Opus and A Raje's now dormant but equally high quality thread, there was not much value I would add to the forum by starting a thread on my car. But now that my car has completed one year, I was bitten by the bug of posting my thoughts and experiences, and so here goes

The Selection Process

As those who had followed my previous thread know, I picked up a VW Vento for my wife back in December 2012. At that stage, my Superb was about 30 months old, and while I briefly toyed with the idea of getting a luxury car for myself (and passing the Superb onto my wife), that option was pretty quickly vetoed (by you know who), and I decided to stick to the Superb for as long as possible. By late 2016, my Superb was over 6.5 years old, and while I loved driving the car, my ownership experience had been a mixed bag. Further, with the Vento about to complete 4 years, I was now in a position to get a new car under my company's car scheme.

This time, I was clear - it had to be a luxury car. Why? I was 43, arguably at the peak of my career, and at that stage of life where you start getting sick of delayed gratification. Almost all my friends at work, and several college / school friends had moved on to luxury car brands. And with my 6-7 year upgrade cycle, if I did not buy a luxury car now, I would have to wait till 50 to get one. What made the decision easier was the lack of alternatives in the high end, non luxury car segment. The Camry was still around, but hugely over-priced, and with rather mediocre interiors. The new Superb had also been launched, and while it looked good and was a significant upgrade compared to the 2009 model, it was easy to convince my better half that another Superb would not be a wise gamble. The Kodiaq, Passat, Tucson etc had not yet been launched. So apart from the luxury brands, the only options worth considering were the Fortuner and the Endeavor. They were pretty quickly dismissed as trucks that were not suited for someone who wanted to drive himself (no offence intended).

So it came down to a simple decision - which luxury car should I buy?

Fortunately, the consideration set in this case was a relatively small one. When you are used to a Superb, you NEED decent rear seat leg room. While 80%+ of my driving hours are logged with only me in the car, we often have 5 people in the car on weekends, or on our occasional (2-3 times a year) drives out of town. That automatically ruled out the entry level luxury cars - a C, 3, A4 or XE would be a material downgrade compared to the Superb. After my experiences with the Superb and the Vento (which has also given the odd niggle), I was not keen on yet another VW AG car, and decided to pass on Audi. So it boiled down to mid level offerings from 3 marquees - Mercedes Benz, BMW and Jaguar Land Rover.

Test Drives

Having, narrowed the consideration set down to just three brands, I decided to start evaluating the products. The first showroom I visited was the Auto Hangar Mercedes showroom at Prabhadevi. On reaching there, I found that the old E Class was on the verge of being phased out, but they were not certain when the new long wheel base E would be available. Needless to say, there were very attractive discounts (Rs. 10 lakhs without any negotiation) being offered on the old E - but choices were limited since production had almost stopped, and hence one was limited to available inventory and a limited set of kits still available at the factory. I had been in the E several times, and felt that it had started looking a little tired and old. What seemed more interesting was Mercedes' new medium SUV, the GLC. However, even a display piece of the GLC was not around - and I soon found out why. Mercedes was holding a customer event at the Mahalakshmi Race Course, and most of their vehicles had been sent there. Hence they were not in a position to offer us test drives, but they gave us an invite to the event. My son was immediately enticed by this, and our plan for test driving cars was put on the back burner - and we went to the Race Course where we were taken up a ramp and shown the off roading capabilities of the GLS, and also driven a wild speeds towards some bollards to demonstrate the braking abilities and pre-safe functions on the E. We had a nice afternoon, but had not made any progress towards buying a car.

A couple of weeks later, we were back at the Auto Hangar showroom. This time, display pieces of the C, E, GLC and GLE were all available. My wife and kid examined all of these. While my son liked the E, my wife felt that it was not very different from the Superb (I know, some of you will be screaming, "Sacrilege"), and was not very keen on it. Further, we were told that manufacturing had completely wound down, and we would need to pick from a limited inventory. My memory fails me, but I also think that either the E200 or the E220d was no longer available.

The C was a complete washout (as we had expected) - rear seat room was non existent - it would be difficult for even the three of us to fit in, leave alone when we had guests or luggage.

The GLE was spacious, but seemed a bit too bulky, and spending a 7 handle ex showroom price did not appeal to me (and was promptly vetoed by her honor)

We then sat in the display piece of the GLC, and immediately liked the car. It seemed very well put together, the interiors felt fresh and nice, and there was plenty of practical rear seat room (thanks to the high Crossover Seating). I had of course read the Team BHP review of the GLC, and checked if any of the Edition 1 pieces were still around (other than the display piece). Unfortunately, that was not the case. The CKD GLC missed a number of features, ranging from the absolutely basic (why on earth Mercedes thinks that memory seats are a luxury feature, I can't imagine) to the esoteric (the automatic boot closing, and the offroad drive modes). The only worry was that the GLC did not have a place in the boot for the spare tire, and more importantly, did not come with run flats either. There was a space saver strapped into the boot, but it did seem to take up a lot of space. We worried that it may be difficult for us to fit our luggage into the boot with the space saver in there, and decided that we would need to test the car with our usual out of town luggage before buying it. Nevertheless, we asked for a test drive, only to be told that the test drive car was not available, but they could send it home if we booked an appointment.

Last edited by Hayek : 10th February 2018 at 14:18.
Hayek is online now   (13) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 10th February 2018, 15:08   #2
BHPian
 
Hayek's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Bombay
Posts: 794
Thanked: 2,102 Times
Default re: Yet another BMW X3 20d on Team-BHP : One Year / 10000 km of joy

Test Drives (Contd.)

We then headed down the road to the BMW Infinity Motors showroom at Worli. Here, we had display pieces of the entire range - the 3, the 5, the X1, X3, X5 and the 3GT (There was also a 7 but we didn't go near it). As always, we started by stepping into the cars to check rear seat room. Based on the rear seat room test, the 3 and 5 were eliminated - surprisingly, the 3GT and the X1 remained in the fray. We debated whether to consider the X1. However, when I sat in the car, it felt built to a price, and the gear lever seemed very plain Jane compared to that in the other BMWs. I decided that a BMW without the ZF gearbox was not a real BMW, and decided to drop the X1. We then asked for test drives, and were told that the X3, the 3GT and the X5 were all available - the first two in 20d guise, and the 3rd was of course a 30d. We were also told that there were substantial discounts available on the X3 and X5, Rs. 8 l on the X3 20d (bringing its ex showroom Bombay price to Rs. 50 l, and Rs. 10 l on the X5 (which meant the 5 seater mid version would cost Rs. 65 l ex showroom).

The BMW X3 20d

I got into the X3, and immediately liked the way everything came to hand. It was easy to find a driving position, and there was plenty of rear seat room even behind my driving position (I am 5'10.5", but a bit of a daddy longlegs, and hence keep my seat quite far behind). We set off towards Worli sea face, and the Bandra Worli sea link. Traffic was light, and while we did not feel any kind of rush of acceleration (even in Sport mode), I looked at the Speedo and found that the car was already at clearly illegal speeds. I decided to slow down, and found the braking very effective, and linear. The audio quality was good but not great (I felt, and still feel that the Superb had better sound), and the air conditioning effectiveness was very good as well. We opened the large panoramic sun-roof, which proved a hit with my son (no, he was safely strapped in, and did not do loony stuff like sticking his head out). This seemed like a good car. We got back to the showroom, and found (to our shock) that the X3 came without a spare in the boot. I had been under the impression that BMW had started providing space savers with all cars, but found that was not true - for some reason, the X3 did not have a spare included. The other niggle was the interiors - while better than the X1, it was not as nice to sit in as the GLC. I also asked about the X3 30d. I was told it cost Rs. 10 l more, and was out of stock - it would need to be produced against a firm order and no discounts were available. In short, if you wanted a 30d, the X5 was cheaper than ordering an X3.

The BMW GT 320d

I stepped into the GT 320d next. Compared to the X3, it felt like I was sinking into a sports car. One think I immediately noticed was that the parking brake was a plain old mechanical stick, unlike the electronic brake and auto hold function that the X3 had. I started the car, and it took off like a rocket. It felt like the difference in weight between the GT and the X3 was substantial - and this seemed to make a bid difference to the handling. We took this car up and down the sea link once again. Rear seat room was good, and discounts were available on the non LCI (viz non refreshed) version. I also liked the frameless rear doors, and the practicality of the hatchback boot (which has a space saver in it, however). However, I somehow felt that my right foot was rubbing against the body while accelerating, and I didn't quite find as good a driving position. This was a good car, with adequate leg room, and better acceleration, but to my mind, it didn't feel as good as the X3.

By the time we got back to the showroom, we were a bit tired, and my son was keen to go home. Net result, we did not end up testing the X5. We had seen it - interior space was more than the X3 (but nowhere close to the GLE), it had space for a proper spare in the boot, and had a good fit and finish. But the question was whether it made sense to pay Rs. 15 l extra for this car. Sometime later in the buying process, I decided to cap out my spending, and ended up not testing the X5. Who knows what would have happened if the GT 320d had not been around, and we had ended testing the X5 instead.

The Mercedes Benz GLC 220d

Auto Hangar were true to their word, and ended sending me the GLC 220d test drive car a few days later. The car came to our residence, and hence we decided to drive towards the Eastern Freeway to test it. I had been a little nervous about Mercedes' gear selector location, but got used to it quickly, and did not have the problem of hitting it instead of the turn indicators or wiper switches. In Comfort mode, the GLC felt fairly sedate, and it seemed like the difference in power between the 170 bhp Mercedes engine and the 18x BHP BMW engine was obvious. But put the GLC in Sport mode and it was a different story. The difference between Comfort and Sport on the GLC was much greater than that in the X3. It seemed like a completely different car, gave me the pushed back feeling while accelerating, and seemed to be moving much faster. However, given the difference in the road I was testing it on, I was not able to record a clear head to head against the X3. The instrument cluster felt much more modern than that in the X3, and the interiors seemed much nicer. By the end of the test drive, the GLC had inched up to the favorite position for my next car. I had asked Auto Hangar to also send me the petrol GLC 300, but their car was not available, and the test of that car had to wait. I also asked about pricing, and was told that discounts were not available as this was a new model - the GLC 220 d would cost about Rs. 53 l, and the GLC 300 about Rs. 54 l (all ex showroom Bombay)

The Land Rover Discovery Sport HSE Luxury 20d

A few days later, I had a meeting at Shivsagar Estate, and took some time out to test the Discovery Sport. The test drive car was a HSE Luxury Diesel - viz, the fully equipped, 170 BHP top end version, whose ex showroom price was close to Rs. 60 lakhs. The car felt great to sit in - and had more rear seat room than either the X3 or the GLC (or for that matter, the Audi Q5 we had driven in Australia earlier that year). It also had a proper spare tire which did not eat into the boot. While its not obvious from looking at it, the Discovery Sport comes much closer to being a full blown SUV than either of its rivals. The seating position was higher, and it had a very sophisticated terrain management system (which was not an option on the X3, but had been there on the GLC Edition 1). I took it for a test drive down Worli sea face and the Bandra Worli sea link. Very quickly I realised something - this was much more SUVish than car-like, the acceleration was materially below that of either the X3 or GLC (now I don't know if that is correct when you measure it, but it felt that way) and there was also a lot of body roll - not as much as in a Fortuner, but too much for my comfort. Discounts were not immediately available (though a friend told me they would negotiate once you established serious intent). The cheaper versions came with a lower state of tune - only 148 bhp (if I remember right). I decided to rule this car out, without giving either my wife or son the opportunity to try it.


The Mercedes Benz GLC 300

A few days later, I got a call from Auto Hangar stating that the GLC 300 test drive car was available at the Hughes Road showroom. I headed there one day after some meetings at Nariman Point. I took the car up and down Marine Drive, in reasonably heavy traffic at about 730 on a weekday evening. While on paper, this car should have outperformed the GLC 220d, it did not seem to do so in real life. Of course, I did not give it the distance to stretch its legs that would have been available on the Sea Link or Freeway. But what shocked me was the fuel efficiency reading - the display showed something in the low 5 kmpl zone. I don't drive that much, but it did seem like this would be a fuel guzzler, and I had not seen the power of the turbo petrol engine. This was promptly ruled out.

So it was now down to a straight fight between the GLC 220d and the X3 20d. I was about to buy my first diesel car.

When I tried to assess the pros and cons of the two cars, they came down as under:

Mercedes GLC 220d

Pros
  • A much newer model - the GLC had been launched earlier in 2016
    The interior fit and finish was much better, even if the seats were Artico "Leather" instead of real leather
    Even the CKD version had a mechanically adjustable under thigh support in the front seat, which did add value
    The instrument cluster with its large colourful MID was much more attractive than the plain Jane one in the X3
    Despite the lower on paper specs, the car had been very peppy in Sport Mode

Cons
  • Missing features compared to the Edition 1 - no offroad modes, electrically adjustable under thigh support, electronically activated hatch, memory seats
    A space saver in the boot, and no option of leaving it at home as the car did not come with runflats
    Maps were an add on - which cost Rs. 40000
    No discounts offered upfront
    Would the service packages (Star Care) be as good as BSI, which friends swear by?

BMW X3 20d

Pros
  • A tried and tested model, with a very attractive hassle free 5 year extended warranty and service package
    More power in theory - and hadn't the car accelerated exceptionally quickly on the sea link (even if in an unobtrusive manner)
    Genuine leather seats - Artico may look good but wasn't it a fancy version of a Rs. 5000 leatherette cover?
    Some extra features compared to the GLC on the xline - adaptive dampers, Hill Descent Control (yes, I will never use it - but shouldn't an SUV have it), and memory seats (an exceptionally useful feature, especially as I have to given my car every day to a valet in my office building for parking)
    Run Flat Tyres - I can do at least airport runs without a spare eating up half the boot space

Cons
  • An old model - due for replacement in about 9 months globally and 18 months in India
    Interiors were not as nice as that in the GLC - the MID in particular was mediocre, and inferior to that even in the Superb
    Not as nice looking as the GLC

I spoke to my wife, and we decided that a spare tire was a must, but we should check the luggage room in both cars to see if it was acceptable. My wife's view was that if the cars had so little luggage room with a spare that we can't ever go on a long drive, it makes no sense to buy either of them. I had to agree - after all, you get the pleasure of driving only when you go for a long drive, and we don't want to be forced to use the Vento for that due to lack of luggage room. The theoretical luggage room of both cars was 550 litres, but somehow, the boot of the GLC looked smaller to me than that of the X3.

We therefore asked both dealers to send the cars, fitted with a space saver in the rear, to our place, so that we could load some suitcases in them and check the luggage room for ourselves.

The results are shown below:

Mercedes GLC 220d

Yet another BMW X3 20d on Team-BHP : One Year / 10000 km of joy-img_2470.jpg

BMW X3 20d

Yet another BMW X3 20d on Team-BHP : One Year / 10000 km of joy-img_2469.jpg

Both these cars had less luggage room than the Vento. But the X3 could take one bag more than the GLC. You may find it astounding, but this swung our choice set towards the X3. Some online research later solved the mystery of the lower space in the GLC - Mercedes counts space under the boot floor as part of the luggage room, which BMW does not do. Of course, with a space saver fitted, space under the boot is completely useless. I remember GTO's thread about BMW's spare tyres. All I can say is that Mercedes has surpassed their stupidity. You can argue about the merits or otherwise of runflats. But having tubeless tyres without the space for a spare in the boot just makes using even a large car very impractical for long distance travel in India.

Last edited by Hayek : 10th February 2018 at 18:08.
Hayek is online now   (16) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 10th February 2018, 17:33   #3
BHPian
 
Hayek's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Bombay
Posts: 794
Thanked: 2,102 Times
Default re: Yet another BMW X3 20d on Team-BHP : One Year / 10000 km of joy

Negotiating the Purchase

While we were still undecided on which car to buy, we had commenced more serious negotiations with both the Mercedes and BMW dealers in Bombay. One advantage of being based in Bombay is that you have 2 dealers for both Mercedes and BMW in the city - and hence the ability to try for some discounts. Further, a number of my colleagues had picked up luxury cars under our company's car scheme, and hence I did think we should get some kind of loyalty discount. I started talking to the Mercedes dealers on my own - and while they were both unwilling to give large discounts, it being late November, they were willing to offer small corporate discounts - of about Rs. 1 lakh, plus throwing in the maps for free. Surprisingly, the sales guy at Auto Hangar claimed that he would need "evidence" that our organisation owns more than 4 luxury vehicles purchased in the last couple of years to give this discount - needless to say he didn't hear from me after that. (The funny thing is we have probably bought more than that many cars from Auto Hangar itself in that period).

As I was talking to the BMW dealers, I found out that 3 or 4 other colleagues were also looking at the X3. 4 or 5 X3s in November / December was too much for the dealers to resist - and we ended up getting a massive discount (which was matched by both dealers even though we ultimately split the order based on some personal relationship considerations). I suspect that the price I paid for my X3 (in the pre GST, cum Octroi world in Mumbai) was less than what you could get one for even at the post GST lows.

At that time, the X3 20d came in two models, the Expedition and the xline. I was always focussed on the xline - for its adjustable dampers, leather seats, navigation, rear camera etc. Around the time I was finalising my purchase, BMW added the navigation and rear camera to the Expedition, which made it a much more attractive proposition. And a few days before I placed my order, they launched the X3 28i, with the same Petrol engine as the original 328i. (BTW, I never figured out why the X3 comes as a 28i when all other BMW Petrols have moved on to the 30i). However, I decided not to get distracted, keep the great offer I had got, and had my company process the order for X3 20d.

Choice of Color

The one disadvantage of having negotiated in bulk for the cars in November / December was that these offers were available only on cars in BMW's existing inventory. I had been keen on a Brown car (not sure what BMW calls that), but I was told that they had no cars in that colour available, and that I would have to choose between White, Black and Deep Sea Blue. In Deep Sea Blue, they had the choice between Beige and Saddle Brown Interiors. I was sick of Beige interiors and decided to go in for a Deep Sea Blue car with Saddle Brown interiors. I was allotted a car made in October 2016 - which was not too bad given the kind of discount I had received. As part of the negotiation process, the dealer also agreed to throw in a Space Saver and tool kit.

Payment / Delivery / Add Ons

I pushed my company to process the payment as quickly as possible, so that I could get the car before leaving for my Christmas vacation. Unfortunately, that was not to be. I agreed with the dealer that I would get my car as soon as I was back. But while on my vacation, I was told that there had been some hiccups, and the car would take at least 5-6 days more to be registered and delivered. At this point, my wife pushed me to wait for the auspicious day of Pongal / Sankranti for delivery, and we delayed the delivery to that day. There were a few hiccups with regard to the registration as we approached the delivery date - the Andheri RTO had some new online registration system which was allegedly not working properly. But fortunately, the dealer managed to get the number allotted, and keep my delivery date,

We landed at the dealers at about 11 am on January 11. We were given a few small gifts - a BMW T Shirt and cap, a couple of key chains, and a logo display lens fitted in the front doors. They also showed me the spare tyre fitted in the boot, and the tool kit - and did a quick demo on how to use it. Finally, I was also given a set of BMW branded diesel additives, and asked to use it either for every tank full or at least every month. This was followed by a traditional Puja and the handover of the keys.

A few of pictures from the time of delivery are below:

Yet another BMW X3 20d on Team-BHP : One Year / 10000 km of joy-img_2596-v2.jpg

Yet another BMW X3 20d on Team-BHP : One Year / 10000 km of joy-img_2597-v2.jpg

Name:  IMG_7208 v2.jpg
Views: 24060
Size:  63.5 KB

A very cool party trick - the BMW Logo gets projected on the ground when you open the front doors - it never fails to impress

Yet another BMW X3 20d on Team-BHP : One Year / 10000 km of joy-unnamed-2.jpg

The car was handed over with about half a tank of fuel and 72 km on the odo. We then took the car to the Siddhivinayak Temple (which has become a tradition of sorts for all our cars), and then headed out to my in laws place for our Pongal lunch.

A few days later, I purchased the 5 Year, 60 K kms extended warranty and BSI package - it cost Rs. 5 l +. I know lots of people think itís very expensive but my view was better safe than sorry.

One interesting fact - as you can see, I focussed on the ex showroom price of the car, since my company takes care of registration and insurance costs. But the MH RTO's registration costs on Company owned cars are truly ridiculous, since they levy a 20% charge on the headline ex showroom price, and not on the actual price that is paid for the car. In this case, the registration cost therefore came to Rs. 11.6 l - almost Rs. 3 l more than what should have been charged based on what we paid for the car.

Last edited by Hayek : 13th February 2018 at 11:04.
Hayek is online now   (13) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 10th February 2018, 20:58   #4
BHPian
 
Hayek's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Bombay
Posts: 794
Thanked: 2,102 Times
Default re: Yet another BMW X3 20d on Team-BHP : One Year / 10000 km of joy

Two weeks after we purchased the car, I got the opportunity to take it on a first long drive over the Republic Day long weekend (ok, I converted it into a long weekend by taking the Friday off). As we bundled ourselves into the car (4 adults + 1 kid + our weekend luggage + games / cricket bats / badminton rackets), I was glad I picked the X3 over the GLC - I doubt we would have fitted everything in the boot of the other car. The car proved quite comfortable, both with 2 adults and a kid in the back, and also on occasion when my kid (he was 9.5 then, and about 4'8") sat in the front and three adults had to manage in the back.

The outbound journey to Panchgani started with the car having covered just 400 km. Consequently, I drove out in run in mode, without pushing the car too hard. However, I did experiment with a mix of the driving modes - Eco Pro, Comfort and Sport. Sport was indeed fun, and one could make out the difference in the acceleration, not only when one was behind the wheel, but also as a passenger. I must say that after some amount of experimenting, I switched back to Comfort mode, which probably accounts for 90% of my total mileage to date. The one surprising thing I found on this trip was that the built in Navigation system was far better than I had expected. It was easy to use the Point of Interest function to identify the location of our hotel in Panchgani, and the route guidance (which includes a display both on the iDrive screen and on the MID) was spot on. Since then, I have found that the Point of Interest function includes not only Hotels and Tourist spots, but also large apartment blocks and office buildings in Bombay. Of course, navigation by address just does not work - and Google maps traffic feature is far superior - but I have found myself using the built in navigation much more often than I had originally anticipated. Some pictures from the Panchgani trip (including a side trip to Pratapgad) are below:

Yet another BMW X3 20d on Team-BHP : One Year / 10000 km of joy-img_2646-v2.jpg

Yet another BMW X3 20d on Team-BHP : One Year / 10000 km of joy-img_2663-v2.jpg

Yet another BMW X3 20d on Team-BHP : One Year / 10000 km of joy-img_2697-v2.jpg

Yet another BMW X3 20d on Team-BHP : One Year / 10000 km of joy-img_2698-v2.jpg

Driving in the ghat roads, too and from Mahabaleshwar and Pratapgad was great fun too. The steering was spot on, and the car gave me the confidence to push it. Body roll, even in the ghat roads, was contained, which made me feel good that I had made the right decision.

After that trip, I have unfortunately not been able to go on too many long journeys - the furthest I have been is Lonavala. So my thoughts on the car are based almost exclusively on urban driving, largely in peak hour traffic.

What I Like
  • Powerful diesel engine, which is fairly refined while cruising on highways / the sea link, but has the ability to be pushed when you want it
    Spot on steering, and great suspension
    Minimal body roll for an SUV
    The ride height, which gives you the confidence to navigate Bombay's oft flooded monsoon roads (of course, I have been very conservative about this - but thanks to this car, exiting BKC was a breeze on both the high flood days last year)
    The Fuel Efficiency - I have had some terrible runs (as low as 6.3 kmpl from BKC till somewhere in the middle of Dharavi when I had taken 25 minutes for 4 km), but my overall fuel efficiency to date has been about 8.5 kmpl with virtually no highway driving. That is 1.5 kmpl more than what the Superb gave me in similar conditions
    A good music system with plenty of storage space to hold my entire music collection, the ability to easily sort by Artist, Album or Song Name
    The iDrive system gives you plenty of information (I am a data junkie) and is very easy to use
    The Bluetooth system works very well - great sound quality and voice pick up
    The Navigation - much better than I had expected
    Spacious - the width is materially greater than the Superb, and the rear seat knee room is good enough such that there have been no cribs from anyone
    Boot space has been great - managed even an airport run with a couple of US style suitcases and some smaller bags without having to remove the spare

What Could Have been Better
  • They surely could have found a space to tuck away the spare in such a large car
    The engine is somewhat rough at idle and low speeds, especially after a cold start
    Some missing or difficult to use features - for example, you don't have a mute button for the phone mike on the steering wheel, and the mute through iDrive is tough to use - so taking listen only calls on the road is not easy
    Similarly, you have to take your hands off the wheel to mute the music
    The seat belt lacks pre-tensioners, and even a height adjustment feature
    No warning if even the front passenger does not wear a seat belt. I would have expected a warning for all seats
    No keyless entry into the car - a shocking omission at this price point
    No electronic boot closing system - I found after I bought it that this is standard even in the sdrive 18d for the UK market
    No Apple Carplay - would have liked that to be available

Of course, I was aware of almost everything that is missing when I bought the car - the lack of a seat belt warning, height adjustment and pre-tensioners was the only shock.

Last edited by Hayek : 10th February 2018 at 21:00.
Hayek is online now   (13) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 13th February 2018, 11:36   #5
BHPian
 
Hayek's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Bombay
Posts: 794
Thanked: 2,102 Times
Default re: Yet another BMW X3 20d on Team-BHP : One Year / 10000 km of joy

The First Year

The first year with my car has been fairly uneventful, as it should be with a new car. Hence I will just touch upon some of my observations on key features:

Eco Pro Mode

Early on, I experimented considerably with Eco Pro mode while on my way to office. The car's responses seem damped down in this mode, acceleration is sluggish, and even the AC effectiveness seems lower. However, it is something you can certainly use from time to time. The MID changes for Eco Pro mode, and shows a Blue line which indicates when the battery is charging (as you cruise or brake) and when it is drawing down on power. The display also shows the total kms gained while driving in Eco Pro from one tankful to the next. I found that Eco Pro was useful, but did not deliver fantastic gains in range - the maximum I gained from nearly a tankful of Eco Pro driving (even as per the MID) was only about 25 km (vs a typical range between fuel ups of about 440 km). The Eco Pro display is shown below:

Yet another BMW X3 20d on Team-BHP : One Year / 10000 km of joy-img_2710.jpg

Automatic Stop Start

You would observe a few other points in the picture - the fact that the automatic stop-start is active, and that the Auto Hold feature is enabled. Automatic stop-start is enabled by default whenever you start the car. It works in an intelligent manner - in winter with lower temperatures, the car remains off longer, while in hot summers, the car comes back on quickly so that the AC effectiveness is maintained. I am working on the assumption that the battery and starter system has been designed to take this load. The only crib I have with it is that the start is very noticeable - I would have been happier with a smoother start process

Comfort Mode

Almost all my driving so far has been in Comfort Mode. The beauty of Comfort Mode is that it is extremely flexible - you can cruise sedately in this mode, but can also get tons of power, torque and acceleration if you push the car a bit. The steering is precise and responsive, and you can easily overtake others or slice through the traffic if you feel like it (not that I do that very often). Comfort Mode is so good that even on my recent Lonavala trip, I never bothered to switch to Sport mode - the power in Comfort is all that I can handle. The display is slightly different in Comfort Mode compared to Sport Mode, and is shown below:

Yet another BMW X3 20d on Team-BHP : One Year / 10000 km of joy-img_2701.jpg

Funnily, you get a meter showing the instantaneous fuel efficiency in Comfort Mode, which you can't see in Eco Pro.

Auto Hold

The feature that is there in the X3, which was not there in the Superb, that I like the most is Auto Hold. It unfortunately does not stay enabled by default, but pressing the Auto Hold button as soon as I start the car has become a reflex action for me. With Auto Hold enabled, if you brake and come to a halt, the hold is automatically enabled, with the parking brake applied, and the gear shifting to neutral (I think, based on the fact that the car does not pull on the parking brake, the way it does when in Drive with the hand brake enabled). Unlike in Mercedes, where you need to press and hold the brake hard for a few seconds to activate Auto Hold, Auto Hold gets enabled every time you stop in the X3 - which I find to be far more convenient.

The Panoramic Sun Roof

The X3 comes with a brilliant panoramic sun roof, which is fully electrically operated (unlike in the Superb where the glass pane was electrically operated but the solid cover had to be moved manually). Unlike in some other cars. The solid cover is really solid (as opposed to being translucent) and cuts off the heat fully when closed. My son is very fond of the sun roof, and often asks me to keep it open when the weather is relatively cool. Fortunately, he does not ever ask to poke his head out except when the car is safely parked - safety consciousness has been drilled into him.

Condition Based Service

One of the interesting features of the X3 is the condition based service system. This system has both a time element and a condition element built into it. When I got the car, the time element was set to October 2017- based on the date of manufacture and not date of delivery. I am not sure if this is standard or if the dealer forgot to reset the time element while delivering the car. The condition element was set at 12000 km. Given the terrible conditions I drive in, the condition element decreased rapidly - by about 1000 km for every 650 km driven. By late October, I had covered almost 7500 km, the condition element showed about 800 km to go, and the time warning for service came on. I called Infinity Motors for a service appointment and was told one is not available immediately at Worli. They transferred me to their Vashi centre which gave me an appointment after 3-4 days, and also gave me a pick up and drop service. The service itself was smooth - the car returned in a clean if not exceptional condition. A wheel rotation and oil change seemed to have been done.

The iDrive was also updated with the service record as shown below

Yet another BMW X3 20d on Team-BHP : One Year / 10000 km of joy-f21534cf247c4b3c8cd6f28b74580d07.jpeg

Last edited by Hayek : 3rd March 2018 at 13:13.
Hayek is online now   (8) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 3rd March 2018, 13:09   #6
BHPian
 
Hayek's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Bombay
Posts: 794
Thanked: 2,102 Times
Default re: Yet another BMW X3 20d on Team-BHP : One Year / 10000 km of joy

The iDrive System

Coming from the Skoda which had a very good touch screen, I was a little worried about whether I would like the iDrive system with its rotary controller. After one year, I must say that I really like it. Accessing functions is easy, even if the character recognition does not work very well, probably because of my bad handwriting.

The iDrive lets you toggle between media, contacts, and various car settings. The car settings give you a plethora of information, ranging from basics such as Trip Details, Tire Pressures to somewhat gimmicky ďSport DisplaysĒ.

Some of the iDrive screens are shown below:

Yet another BMW X3 20d on Team-BHP : One Year / 10000 km of joy-4bea52217911467e9abd0e5f6a09fdae.jpeg

Yet another BMW X3 20d on Team-BHP : One Year / 10000 km of joy-576dda1279d74d42899930660ce92237.jpeg

Yet another BMW X3 20d on Team-BHP : One Year / 10000 km of joy-a723d26835314192928f337919cf5b77.jpeg

Yet another BMW X3 20d on Team-BHP : One Year / 10000 km of joy-588738e22b174f7893f03cf7a992644e.jpeg

The Steering Wheel

The steering wheel comes to hand quite easily, and in my opinion looks quite good. The controls on the left are for cruise control settings, while those on the right help you choose different media sources, adjust the volume etc. There is a button that helps you toggle different MID displays on the left hand stalk (viz the turn indicator). Personally, I would have preferred it if the MID changes could have been on the steering wheel and cruise control settings on the stall - the way it is in VAG cars, but I have gotten used to this.

Yet another BMW X3 20d on Team-BHP : One Year / 10000 km of joy-6a5eae0625d942df9c9ccf8dd02526f5.jpeg

Yet another BMW X3 20d on Team-BHP : One Year / 10000 km of joy-c6daab070cb24132b5ead27ef5c7f35a.jpeg

The one other crib I have is that the MID only shows overall stats, and cannot be toggled (as far as I know) to show trip stats.

There is also a voice activated system - which can be used to dial numbers or activate systems such as navigations. It works better than I had expected - and I do use it to dial numbers quite often.

The wiper controls are on the right hand stalk, and include an auto option which works very well in the monsoons.

The headlamp knob has an auto mode option, and buttons for the front and rear fog lights.


The Glitch

About 2 months after the first service, I encountered the first glitch on the car - and at a most inconvenient time. It was on the day I was about to leave for my Christmas vacation, and I left office early. When I was near Shivaji Park, the Coolant warning light came on. I was worried, as this is one problem that should never occur in my view. I took the car to Infinityís Worli service center. They inspected the car and found the Coolant was low but were not able to find a reason. They topped it up, and asked me to set an appointment for checking the car. I fixed one for the weekend after my return from the vacation.

When I gave the car for inspection, they spent two days testing it - but were not able to find either a leak or any loss of coolant. So the root cause of this glitch is still a mystery. Itís been two months since then - the light has not appeared again, but this reminds me - I had better manually check the coolant level the next time I start the car.

The only other problems I have had are a few stone chips and a scratch on the left rear side that seems to have been caused by a vandal running a blade through the car.

Conclusions at this stage

Overall the BMW X3 20d has proven to be a great value buy for me. It is easy to use as an every day car, spacious enough for my family, and flexible enough for airport runs or fitting bicycles inside when I want to take my son out. It also transforms itself into a car that can be driven very aggressively, and gives you an immense feeling of being in control all the time. I do hope that the one glitch I encountered is just that, and the car proves reliable in the long run. Of course, the new version is about to be launched in India - but given that itís already been over a year since I bought my car, I have no regrets on that count. BMW had a campaign - Joy is BMW - and based on my experience so far, I have to say I agree with that.

Last edited by Hayek : 3rd March 2018 at 13:43.
Hayek is online now   (35) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 4th March 2018, 18:30   #7
GTO
Team-BHP Support
 
GTO's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Bombay
Posts: 50,472
Thanked: 108,749 Times
Default Re: Yet another BMW X3 20d on Team-BHP : One Year / 10000 km of joy

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Initial Ownership Section. Thanks for sharing!
GTO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th March 2018, 09:25   #8
Distinguished - BHPian
 
Santoshbhat's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 1,999
Thanked: 4,165 Times
Default Re: Yet another BMW X3 20d on Team-BHP : One Year / 10000 km of joy

Nice review Hayek . The X3 is a great allrounder. It is equally at home in the city as well as the outdoors. My family too loves the roomy interiors, cargo space and the sunroof. The decent ground clearance and AWD system just gives you that extra peace of mind compared to low slung sedans while touring off beat places. And the superb handling and driving dynamics ensure that you do not miss the sedan all that much.

Your iDrive system seems to have some update features compared to mine. Apart from an active TPMS it also shows service history. No service history option in mine.

Suggestion : Try configuring the chassis to sport and leave the drive train in comfort when fully loaded. Will give you excellent body control while the engine and gearbox will be in their relaxed setting.

I guess you are averse to switching to tubeless tyres, but do consider it for your next change. It really transforms the car. Since you have an active TPMS, your safety risks are minimised and you are carrying a spare anyway.

Enjoy the drive and drive safe.

Last edited by navin : 5th March 2018 at 14:33. Reason: typo
Santoshbhat is offline   (5) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 8th March 2018, 12:48   #9
Senior - BHPian
 
bottle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Chennai
Posts: 1,503
Thanked: 142 Times
Default Re: Yet another BMW X3 20d on Team-BHP : One Year / 10000 km of joy

Can you share a picture of the boot with the spare tyre ?
bottle is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 8th March 2018, 21:26   #10
Distinguished - BHPian
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Back to Chndgrh
Posts: 2,619
Thanked: 4,466 Times
Default Re: Yet another BMW X3 20d on Team-BHP : One Year / 10000 km of joy

Congrats Hayek on the purchase of a wonderful and a practical SUV. You have described your buying experience in a very detailed way and will surely help other members and visitors. X3 is an ideal size for a small family especially if someone is traveling alone or as a couple most of the times and in a crowded place like Mumbai.

Quote:
since they levy a 20% charge on the headline ex showroom price, and not on the actual price that is paid for the car.
Given the way how Road tax is calculated, savings on the On-Road prices get reduced due to such silly rules. I always wonder, what stops manufacturers to reduce MRP of the models which are discounted substantially? I don't think there will be any naive customers who will buy a car without checking different dealerships.

Quote:
Given the terrible conditions I drive in, the condition element decreased rapidly - by about 1000 km for every 650 km driven
Maybe you are driving short distances, more than conditions, driving pattern affects this interval if I am not mistaken.

Quote:
So the root cause of this glitch is still a mystery
That's something not expected as I have never experienced. But you are covered for 5 Year package, so not much to worry.

Quote:
or fitting bicycles inside when I want to take my son out
You mean fitting cycles outside or are you referring to smaller cycles? I am looking for a cycle carrier for X5.

Quote:
the new version is about to be launched in India - but given that it’s already been over a year since I bought my car,
well, with cars, as long as your needs and luxuries are met, newer models should not affect. My less than 2-Year-old X5 is missing so many features over the current variant they sell at about 15 % low prices, so I think you made a correct choice of buying a fairly loaded car at a reasonable discount.

Quote:
you don't have a mute button for the phone mike on the steering wheel,
That's a very peculiar requirement, I believe you participate in a lot of conference calls, I cannot even think of such a feature, perhaps you can live with it

Quote:
Originally Posted by Santoshbhat View Post
Try configuring the chassis to sport and leave the drive train in comfort when fully loaded.
+1, I always use this setting on mine X5 / X6 or in past on 5 series as well.

Last edited by Turbanator : 8th March 2018 at 21:33.
Turbanator is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 9th March 2018, 07:06   #11
BHPian
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Seattle, US
Posts: 42
Thanked: 60 Times
Default Re: Yet another BMW X3 20d on Team-BHP : One Year / 10000 km of joy

Thanks for the detailed write-up.

As somebody who is still in the "delayed gratification" mode, I am especially interested to know your take on Superb vs. X3 and Skoda vs BMW.
shobhit.shri is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 9th March 2018, 12:19   #12
Distinguished - BHPian
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Back to Chndgrh
Posts: 2,619
Thanked: 4,466 Times
Default Re: Yet another BMW X3 20d on Team-BHP : One Year / 10000 km of joy

Quote:
the mute through iDrive is tough to use - so taking listen only calls on the road is not easy
So it's apparently 3 step process, hope you are doing the same way.
Attached Thumbnails
Yet another BMW X3 20d on Team-BHP : One Year / 10000 km of joy-1.jpeg  

Yet another BMW X3 20d on Team-BHP : One Year / 10000 km of joy-2.jpeg  

Yet another BMW X3 20d on Team-BHP : One Year / 10000 km of joy-3.jpeg  

Turbanator is offline   (2) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 9th March 2018, 13:47   #13
Senior - BHPian
 
androdev's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: bangalore
Posts: 1,716
Thanked: 2,504 Times
Default Re: Yet another BMW X3 20d on Team-BHP : One Year / 10000 km of joy

You can program those 1-8 buttons to specific functions in the idrive. Worth checking it out to see if you can assign mute function to one of them. I like checking journey computer often so I have a shortcut for it. But yeah they should not have missed a mute button.

How do you feel about switching from a sedan (Superb) to x3, esp if you have driven a good sedan recently after using x3 for sometime?
androdev is online now   (2) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 11th March 2018, 10:01   #14
BHPian
 
Hayek's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Bombay
Posts: 794
Thanked: 2,102 Times
Default Re: Yet another BMW X3 20d on Team-BHP : One Year / 10000 km of joy

Quote:
Originally Posted by bottle View Post
Can you share a picture of the boot with the spare tyre ?
Am out of town - shall do as soon as I can

Quote:
Originally Posted by Turbanator View Post
Given the way how Road tax is calculated, savings on the On-Road prices get reduced due to such silly rules. I always wonder, what stops manufacturers to reduce MRP of the models which are discounted substantially? I don't think there will be any naive customers who will buy a car without checking different dealerships.
Agree fully - it struck me as very strange except if they donít want to be seen as hiking prices massively when they launch the new model which will not be discounted. But even that does not seem like a good enough reason to make current customers pay ₹ 2 lakhs extra to the government.

Quote:

Maybe you are driving short distances, more than conditions, driving pattern affects this interval if I am not mistaken.
Not very short - my office run is 12 km each way.

Quote:

You mean fitting cycles outside or are you referring to smaller cycles? I am looking for a cycle carrier for X5.
Actually fitted a full size hybrid and a small mountain bike in the boot with the rear seat down. Need to get a carrier as well


Quote:
Originally Posted by shobhit.shri View Post
As somebody who is still in the "delayed gratification" mode, I am especially interested to know your take on Superb vs. X3 and Skoda vs BMW.
Itís obviously early days yet, and there are several differences between the two cars, part of which is the difference between a diesel SUV and a petrol sedan. I do find the X3 more responsive, capable of handling bad roads with greater aplomb and with remarkably low body roll for an SUV. But I am not sure how much better it is than the Tiguan or Kodiak.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Turbanator View Post
So it's apparently 3 step process, hope you are doing the same way.
Yes, too painful to use even if you keep iDrive on the right screen before the call.

Quote:
Originally Posted by androdev View Post
You can program those 1-8 buttons to specific functions in the idrive. Worth checking it out to see if you can assign mute function to one of them.

How do you feel about switching from a sedan (Superb) to x3, esp if you have driven a good sedan recently after using x3 for sometime?
Good suggestion. Am out of town but will try to program this next weekend.

I am quite happy with the switch to the X3- it strikes the perfect balance giving me the SUV benefits of ride height and the ability to move quickly on rough roads without the body roll that vehicles like the Fortuner impose on you. I doubt I would ever go for a body on frame SUV as my primary car. I have unfortunately not drive a better sedan than my Vento in India since I got the X3 - drove across the UK in a E Class during the summer but the roads are so different that it is not a fair comparison.
Hayek is online now   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 31st March 2018, 08:49   #15
BHPian
 
Hayek's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Bombay
Posts: 794
Thanked: 2,102 Times
Default Re: Yet another BMW X3 20d on Team-BHP : One Year / 10000 km of joy

Quote:
Originally Posted by androdev View Post
You can program those 1-8 buttons to specific functions in the idrive. Worth checking it out to see if you can assign mute function to one of them.
Thanks for the suggestion. It worked - and I can now mute calls by pressing 1.

I downloaded the BMW Connected App for the iPhone recently. Had seen the kind of features it has abroad on another thread and was very excited. However, the app has much fewer features for India.

Yet another BMW X3 20d on Team-BHP : One Year / 10000 km of joy-67ec4478be324363a3ddd9b6e9bc4e9c.png

This is the main menu, which lists available apps. Lots of the really nice features like the ability to start the ventilation in advance are not available. What you get is a screen which lists out vehicle status in terms of fuel available and range

Yet another BMW X3 20d on Team-BHP : One Year / 10000 km of joy-3b8ceba3715747af97fde22e03e3f000.png

The feature I found most useful is Web Radio. There is a fabulous selection of channels ranging from Classical to Classic Rock. I still need to run through the list to decide my favourites but it is a huge upgrade compared to listening to Radio One

Yet another BMW X3 20d on Team-BHP : One Year / 10000 km of joy-58b27f9934d54027b460ad7fb70c6c14.png

Yet another BMW X3 20d on Team-BHP : One Year / 10000 km of joy-060d68abc50049c3a67866927783de4e.png

However, the ability to search for channels on the iDrive is limited - and the iDrive does not remember the last heard channel. So will need to try adding some channels to favourites. Also, I have not found the connected apps getting automatically reconnected which I reach my car - have to start the app every time. Maybe there is a way to do it which I have not figured out
Hayek is online now   (3) Thanks Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
JOY is BMW, Simple! Welcome my 320d exclusive edition Bimmer to our Team-BHP family rishi_kapoor Test-Drives & Initial Ownership Reports 70 1st May 2018 09:58
Joy is BMW; Greater JOY is a bigger BMW - F10 525d *EDIT: Now sold!* VSD Test-Drives & Initial Ownership Reports 85 25th July 2016 15:07
BMW X1 JOY Unplanned!!! X1-20d, a First on Team-BHP abishek2222 Test-Drives & Initial Ownership Reports 71 19th July 2015 07:28
BMW X1 20d CE: Joy Experienced .anshuman Test-Drives & Initial Ownership Reports 78 17th March 2015 13:06
First Drive: BMW X1 xDrive 20D (PPP) sidindica Test-Drives & Initial Ownership Reports 219 21st March 2013 15:55


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 23:27.

Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks