5.5 years & 64,000 km in my BMW X3 xDrive30d M Sport

I am very happy to report that the car has aged superbly. It does not look and feel like a 5 year old car.

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So the X3 moves into the long term section with this update. Can't believe it's been 5 years since we brought the car home. I am very happy to report that the car has aged superbly. It does not look and feel like a 5 year old car. Of all the cars we've owned, this one feels the least 'old' at the 5 year mark. All I need to do is wash the car down and vacuum the interiors and it feels like it's come straight out of the showroom! I get the car detailed once a year at 3M. After every wash the white car really shines! Except for a few chips on the bonnet (result of fast highway drives), the exterior paint looks awesome for a 5 year old car.

The covid induced lockdowns meant that between March 2020 to March 2021, the X3 saw its lowest annual running. The X3 has been running fine. There have been few small updates and few events worth reporting. Read on to find out.

Battery replacement

I had mentioned a battery drain problem caused by the remote key. The entire key + immobilizer + antenna set were replaced under warranty and the issue was resolved completely. I had pushed for battery replacement as well at the time, but after charging fully, the battery passed all their tests and that was that.

Some time during December, we were slated to drive to our native. I was getting a brake pad replacement warning rather prematurely and took the car in to have it looked at. Turned out the brake pad wear sensor was hit by a flying pebble or something. Since it was the last month of warranty, I casually asked the SA to test the battery again. And this time it failed one of their tests although the battery seemed absolutely fine and never showed any signs of being on its last days. They said that they could change it under warranty, but they needed to keep the car to run a few more tests to convince HQ. I had already made travel plans and the worst part was that I was slated to return after warranty expiry . The technician said that it wasn't charging fully and it could be risky to drive out of town. First trip planned after months of being under lockdown! I had no heart to tell my family to travel all cramped up in the GTI. My kids really enjoy the drives in the X3 and it would be cruel to tell them that the X3 wasn't coming. So I decided to take a chance and went ahead with the week long trip with jumper cables packed in the boot as a safety net.

The trip went well without any issues. I was assured by my SA that warranty claim would not be denied since the complaint was lodged before warranty expiry. True to their word, they honoured the warranty claim and I got a new battery right at the 5 year mark. Hopefully, it'll last me the next 5 years. Talk about perfect timing . Battery costs a good 50k or so including labour and adaptation and what not.

Warranty claims

In the 5 years, the X3 has now had about 4 warranty claims

  • Headlamp washer unit : Cost 7,500
  • EGR valve : Cost 20,000
  • Immobilizer + key set : Cost 80,000
  • Battery : Cost 50,000

Total costs : 1,57,500

Amount spent for 5 year BRI (extended warranty) : 1,50,000

Good ROI I must say.

Service costs

I did not opt for BSI packs at the time of purchase as I felt they were exhorbitantly priced. I find BMW's service costs quite reasonable for a luxury brand. My total outgo in the 5 years has been about Rs. 2.60 lakhs excluding non BSI items like air fresheners, diesel additives, wash n wax etc...The asking price for a 5 year/ 60k km BSI plus was about 3.10 lakhs at the time. If you add interest cost to this, then the pack would have proven to be very expensive indeed. My usage is predominantly highway, so the brake pads easily last 25k kms or so. You wouldn't believe if I told you that I am still on the original wiper set and the service teams have never till date, felt the need to recommend a replacement!

I often read about confusion among first time BMW buyers about BSI/ BRI packs. BSI is a service pack and BRI is a warranty pack. For peace of mind, BRI is what one needs. This is like an insurance against part failures etc... Whereas BSI is just paying upfront for regular service. When BMW gives you the service pack , they factor in the maximum consumable replacements and add it in the costs. For example if you take a 60,000 kms pack, they make a list of items likely to be replaced in that period, taking the worst case scenario into account. Now after 5 years, if you end up doing only 40,000 kms, you are losing out and BMW gains. Or if you eat up your 60,000 kms in just 3 years, this also works out to BMW's advantage. I find it always best to pay as you go. BMW is a big corporate and they've got excellent systems in place to ensure that the service centre doesn't take the customer for a ride. The car decides most items that need to be serviced. Just follow this and you're good. Their service costs are quite reasonable as I said earlier. Having said that, BMW has rationalised BSI pricing and they are quite economical now. Maybe they had factored in massive depreciation in the Rupee in that 2015-18 period.

Here's the break up of service costs:

The car drives really well and has held up pretty well so far. Yes, there were a few breakdowns which luckily happened while the car was at base. These could have happened while touring and that could have been big trouble and maybe I would not be so forgiving. Can I give an overall reliability rating of 4 out of 5?

Overall I am a very satisfied customer. Happy with the product and happy with the after sales service. Warranty claims were handled professionally and smoothly and service experience has been very good overall.

The X3 is wonderful allrounder. Easy to drive in the city and enjoyable on the highways. The 30d engine is what makes it special. Cruising on the highway is pure bliss. The smooth and creamy engine note is very satisfying indeed. It can be blisteringly fast on the highway and make short work of long distances. X3 is a very agile SUV and you never feel like you are in a floaty SUV. With the adaptive suspension in sport mode, it almost feels like a sporty sedan. It is based on the 3 series touring after all. The X drive AWD gives it loads of grip. There is never any wheel spin and the car just shoots forward with ferocity when you mash the throttle, especially with the gear lever in sport mode with those trademark jolts on every upshift. Diesel economy is appreciated in times like these. The average kmpl has never fallen below 2 digits no matter how hard I drive.

Drive sedately and what you get is a very realistic 1,000 kms range.

Interiors have held up very well. I rarely park in the sun so I haven't been affected by the infamous BMW F series interior trim melting issues. No switchgear issues and no rattles as such. Only few creaks from the door rubber beadings for time to time. Rubbing some lubricants over them seems to solve this problem.

Coming to dislikes. The spare tyre on boot floor is a very common grouse among BMW owners. Only saving grace is that the boot is fairly large and square shaped. So the impact is not as bad as, say, the 5 or 3 series sedans.

The rear seat isn't really that comfortable or luxurious. This is mainly down to the hard seat cushions. Some BMW reviewers have called is 'as hard as a rock'. I don't think they are way off the mark with this description. The rear is spacious enough but the seats are kind of low. The hard cushions and slightly upright (unadjustable) backrest angle makes it an average back seat at best. The front seats are superb though. They are sport seats and different in the way they hug the occupier. They can cause trouble for someone who is generously proportioned though!

The steering feels artificially weighted in sports mode and there is no custom mode where one can decouple the steering setting from the chassis setting in sport mode. It stiffens up in sports mode but loses feel and feedback somewhat. I'd have preferred if I could've retained the steering setting in comfort mode.

The switch to 19' BBS alloys and Yoko advan tyres has had a positive impact on ride and handling. The BBS alloys are super light weight and the car just feels more agile with them. The tyres have good grip and the X3 always feels like it is on rails. I am yet to experience wheelspin or a skid in this car till date.

The rear Yokos seem to be wearing out a bit faster than the fronts. Since they are staggered, I can't switch them to the front. In-fact at around 15,000 kms of life, I felt they won't last more than another 2,000 kms or so. I panicked, what with all the tyre import situation, and checked with Madhus if they had a set. They did not have Yoko, but they had a pair of Michelin Pilot Sport 4s in the 275/40/19 size. I picked them up and have stored them in my garage. Luckily the current tyres have survived and we are at 18000 kms life right now. I may be able to extend them upto 20,000 kms. Thereafter we'll have yokos in the front and Michelin Pilot Sport 4 at the rear. I would never do this (2 different makes of tyres on different axels) , but since this is a staggered setup, I think it should be OK. Pilot Sport 4 is not available in the 245/45/19 size for the front tyres btw.

Rear tyre at 18,000 km:

Front tyre at 18,000 km:

I am really happy I could pick the X3 in 30d and M port trim. Goodies like the sport seats and 16 speaker Harmon Kardon speaker system and the 30d engine don't make me yearn for a new car even after 5 years. All the new cars in the segment are down on power and high on price! All they seem to have is electronic gizmos. Touchscreens and digital dials don't excite me one bit.

Few small updates include a new number plate and black wrap for the roof. They gel well with the black wheels. I always thought I would remap the car at the 5 year mark. I have second thoughts now. The car is mighty quick as it is. I do a lot of highway trips and consciously feel I need to slow down. These days I start every drive with a resolve not to get into duels on the highway.

Few pictures from the X3 album

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