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First Drive: 2011 BMW X3 xDrive 35i and 20d

Dressed for success.

by on Oct.22, 2010

The 2011 BMW X3 makes up for the major flaws of the original compact SAV.

BMW fans will undoubtedly remember the harsh criticism levied against the original X3, which seemed to miss the mark on a number of critical counts, notably styling, size and ride.  With the second-generation 2011 BMW X3 set to hit the streets in January, all (or just about all) is forgiven.

In 2004, the X3 paved the way for the then-new segment of compact SAVs, or sports activity vehicles, as BMW prefers to call it. Even though far from perfect, some 150,000 units of the original X3 were sold, more than 600,000 worldwide.

But BMW listened well and during the first road test last week, it soon became clear that the X3 has been much improved. Not only are its looks now are on par with those of its bigger brother, the X5, but the interior has been worked over and is now in style with other BMW models, while the higher quality trim, with Leatherette standard, is definitely Bimmer-worthy.

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Perhaps the most damning complaint about the original compact SAV was its uncomfortable ride, but that has also been addressed very well, making the X3 another model for which the ‘Freude am Fahren,’ or ‘Joy in Driving’ tagline applies.

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