By on April 15, 2009

“d” as in diesel. So, no, this bud’s not for you, American oil burner fans. But it does represent a general trend for the Roundelians. See if you can spot it: “The arrival of the BMW X3 xDrive18d represents a new entry point for X3 ownership and is a significant draw for those new car buyers looking to balance economy with performance. Powered by a 143hp 2.0-litre diesel engine, it is capable of 45.6mpg on the combined cycle and records CO2 emissions of just 165g/km. With a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, the BMW X3 xDrive18d offers 350Nm of torque from 1,750rpm through to 2,500rpm which makes for effortless overtaking and town driving.” Yes, “a new entry point for XXX ownership” is the new way of saying “look out down below!” Or, if you prefer, “I spit on your brand equity!” Anyone know the cheapest BMW for sale in the US and UK? Cheapest as in least expensive.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

26 Comments on ““X3 xDrive18d, the most economical Sports Activity Vehicle BMW has ever offered”...”


  • avatar
    nikita

    128i Coupe, 29,400USD

    The X3 xDrive30i (only X3 model sold here)is 39,700USD for comparison.

    BMW was not originally considered a luxury make in the USA. Audi, Saab and Volvo also went “up market” in the last 30 years or so. So, what is wrong with going back to your “roots” as a brand, except that the “mid price” market appears to be dead in the USA? The 318ti fiasco did teach BMW something about the modern US market, but I really think it was ugly styling and not price point that killed that car.

  • avatar
    EricTheOracle

    Didn’t Top Gear’s Clarkson determine the X3 was harsh over any road surface, was cheaply made and was the worst off-roader ever? Watch the video: http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=top+gear+%2Bx3&hl=en&emb=0&aq=f#

  • avatar
    Jeff Puthuff

    “Row, row, row your boat . . .” Going to be rowing often with such a narrow torque band.

  • avatar
    superbadd75

    I don’t think it hurts BMW as much to have lower priced offerings as it does Mercedes. Besides, with BMW, even the lower priced models are nicely built and of decent quality. Mercedes has shown the down side to dropping prices with poor interior materials, and assembly quality that rivals GM for laughability. As long as BMW builds cars with quality, I don’t think price alone is going to kill their name. Now where are these small diesels for our market? A 1.8L diesel 1 Series would be the shizznit!

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    “Now with more more Marketingnewspeak than the competition!”

  • avatar
    Ferrygeist

    I was skeptical about Clarkson’s review before watching, but it’s actually pretty good, and good for a laugh too.

    I truly don’t understand the point of most SUVs inasmuch as they even pretend to be oriented towards off roading, both BMWs included. And even *IF* they were somewhat capable, there are several other offerings that are much more capable for less money, and, available with a blizzard of–dare I say, sometimes necessary–aftermarket support for products you really kind of don’t want to leave home without, especially if the going involves more than just mud and grass. To boot, I’d feel pretty bad pinstriping my expensive Bavarian sheet metal and paint. Jeep? Not so much.

    That diesel motor and mileage would be brilliant in an actual off-road vehicle. And as you said superbadd75, in a little sedan or coupe it would be tremendous as well. Hell, can we just have this motor as, like, standard fare across the board maybe? Please?

  • avatar
    carguy

    Robert – the BMW and Mercedes brand are very different in their home country than they are here in the US. While here they are synonymous with prestige and performance, in Germany they are simply a domestic brand that offers a full range of products from the cheap and cheerful 116i hatchback and the A class to the stupendously expensive SL and 7 series.

    Offering the 2.0 oil burner in the X3 will not be a departure from their current European brand values or image.

  • avatar
    Austin Greene

    What about that abortion that was called the 318ti. It was a hatchback that looked like a 1970s Chevette.

    You know that your brand equity is gone when you start riffing off of design cues from Chevrolet’s econo box.

  • avatar
    johnthacker

    128i Coupe, 29,400USD

    In the USA, yes. In the UK BMW offers the 3 door and 5 door hatchback versions of the 1 Series, and it starts down at the 116i and 116d. 0 to 60 in 10 seconds. 16,200GBP, so 24,200USD.

  • avatar
    allythom

    “Row, row, row your boat . . .” Going to be rowing often with such a narrow torque band.

    Not really, quite the opposite in fact. Diesels have narrow torque bands, but where there’s torque, there’s a load of it, which enables you to just surf a big wave of torque and not bother with gearshifts much.

    I just came back from 10 days in the UK with a rented Vauxhall Vectra diesel. ‘Only’ 150hp, but about 230 lb ft @ 2000rpm, with meaningful torque coming on at about 1700rpm. There was not much point in going beyond 3000 rpm, mind, and the red line was at 5000.

    The thing just loafed along in 6th, pulling 2000 rpm at 70mph and provided effortless acceleration to 90 without dropping a gear or two. Normally I drive a WRX or a Mazdaspeed3, and more than once I was surprised by the sheer shove this ‘repmobile’ could generate. There was enough grunt to occasionally spin the front wheels exiting roundabouts in 3rd. I really enjoyed it’s effortless nature and the 40mpg I got out of it

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    BMW X3 xDrive18d

    Wow, that’s a complicated handle!

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Nikita says: “The 318ti fiasco did teach BMW something about the modern US market, but I really think it was ugly styling and not price point that killed that car.”

    Bingo.

    Strike one: Hatchback (Americans hate them, don’t know why)

    Strike two: Underpowered compared with anything at its price point

    Strike three: Butt ugly from the back.

  • avatar
    Axel

    I for one welcome a new German mainstream brand selling cars that don’t fall apart in five years.

    Granted, driving a pair of kidneys out of my modest-income subdivision would royally piss off the upper-management brand loyals, but since I have no intention of EVER paying more than [current_age * $1000] for a car, I’d love a “new entry point” or two.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I think BMW’s best move is not to move downmarket with cheaper cars (like the old 318ti), but rather to offer a better value / content proposition at their current price points.

    Cases in point:

    1) Leather is OPTIONAL on the 3 and 5 series. Bad enough on the $42,000 335, downright stupefying on the $53,000 535.

    2) Get rid of IDrive and go to a more conventional control system. Again, I’m shopping a 535, and IDrive is close to a “no sale” item for me. Infiniti, Jaguar and (especially) the new Lincoln MKS prove you CAN combine good ergonomics and all the tech toys. There has to be cost savings involved with this.

    3) Get rid of the run-flat tires. They cost more, and every board you see that features owner reviews has MANY negative comments on them.

    4) Quit nickel-and-diming for optional features, such as Ipod interfaces, heated seats, power steering wheels, etc. Most people who buy cars at this price point EXPECT this stuff as standard. I know BMW does it so that owners can personalize a car to their exact specifications, which is nice, but as the Big Three found out 20 years ago, it costs WAY more to build each car to spec than it does to equip them the way customers want them.

  • avatar

    Note: cars go farther on a gallon in the UK–not because they’re more efficient, but because the gallons are larger over there.

    TrueDelta recently added UK powertrains to our database, so owners of models like this one can participate in our real-world fuel economy survey. Well, not this one just yet–I need to add it. Previously the weakest diesel was a 174-horse unit.

    Hope to start seeing some results for diesels soon, to see how they really stack up.

    http://www.truedelta.com/fuel_economy.php

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    @Jeff Puhuff Actually, what those torque specs say is that the max torque is level between 1750 and 2500, rather than peaking at one point. These modern turbo-diesel engines have very fat and flat torque curves; plateau would be a better way to put it. And 350nM is a healthy dose of shove.

    The torque is totally computer controlled, based on how much boost it calls for. That’s why the band is so flat. It can be pretty much be dialed in on the chip. That’s also why chip-tuning for diesels is very popular (and cheap) in Europe.

  • avatar
    davey49

    I thought the 318ti looked pretty good. No uglier than the regular 3 series. BMWs aren’t supposed to be stylish anyway.

    “In the USA, yes. In the UK BMW offers the 3 door and 5 door hatchback versions of the 1 Series, and it starts down at the 116i and 116d. 0 to 60 in 10 seconds.”
    From what I understand, the 4 cylinder gas engines from BMW are pretty nice. 10 second 0-60 or no.
    BMWs don’t have to be superfast either, they’re good handling cars, which means you can keep momentum while driving. Gobs of power and torque isn’t needed.

    Remember, with a BMW, you are paying for a stiffer chassis and properly designed suspension layout and weight distribution. Features you can get in any car like fancy radios or leather seats should raise the price higher than normal cars because normal cars don’t have any of the first things I mentioned.

  • avatar
    crazymonkey

    I am an attorney who has handled many Lemon Law cases in Florida. I have to laugh when I read favorable comments about the “quality” of BMWs.
    The majority of Lemon Law cases I handled concerned BMW and Mercedes automobiles. There was a common theme to the BMW cases – screwed up computer programming that resulted in sudden and prononced acceleration or loss of engine power. The clients were more than a little frightened by this phenomemnon, particularly when it occured on central Florida’s congested Interstate 4.
    In every case, BMW repeatedly “fixed” the problem, only to have it recur a short time after the “fix.” Invariably I’d deal with BMW’s party-line blathering of the supposed superiority of their cars, but in the end, they’d always have to either give the client a new car, or $. In one case involving a 745i, the replacement 745 was as problematic as the original lemon.
    Years ago, I used to love driving BMWs and Benzes. Over the years, however, the quality of these cars has degraded to the point where I wouldn’t pay a nickel for any car made by either manufacturer, especially given what I’ve learned about the cars from the cases I’ve handled.

  • avatar
    mcs

    Strike one: Hatchback (Americans hate them, don’t know why)

    Is that still true? I see tons of them on the road every day. Lots of Mini, Toyota (Yaris, Prius, Matrix, Venza), Honda, Subaru, and Mazda hatchback cars out there.

  • avatar
    NickR

    BMW needs to buy a vowel for this car.

    Whose 12 year niece/nephew did they hire for the photoshop job?

  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    @carguy :
    Offering the 2.0 oil burner in the X3 will not be a departure from their current European brand values or image.

    They already offer the 2.0 oil burner in 20d (177hp) form. It accounts for about 85% of German X3 sales.
    The X3 used to be the best selling compact SUV in Germany. Until the Tiguan came out.
    The Tiguan’s best selling engine is the 140hp diesel, so BMW is just trying to match the competition. The X3 has been available with a 150hp gasser since launch, so the 18d is only a 7hp move “downmarket”, but a huge move in the right direction torque wise.

    In my mind, anybody who buys a X3 instead of a 3 series wagon is a moron anyway. I you want AWD, there’s a 177hp 320d xDrive wagon now. If BMW has a branding problem, it’s making the X3,5,6 at all. Not making a perfectly good 4-banger diesel.

    @Robert
    Powered by a 143hp 2.0-litre diesel engine, it is capable of 45.6mpg on the combined cycle and records CO2 emissions of just 165g/km.

    Those numbers do not align… ah, they do, if it’s Imperial mpg.

    @FreedMike :
    Leather is OPTIONAL on the 3 and 5 series.

    And so it should be. Who wants to buy a nice-handling car and then slide around on a slippery leather seat on a winding road? There is nothing wrong with good cloth, and there is an optional combined cloth/leather interior at about €500, that I absolutely prefer about full leather. Just feels better, better lateral support, and you don’t get glued to the seats by your sweat in the summer.

  • avatar
    V6

    “BMW X3, the first BMW SUV with penis shaped headlights”

  • avatar
    JJ

    @Mirko Reinhardt:

    Ventilated seats…

    The X3 is probably the least appealing product in the BMW range right now. I wonder what will happen to the X3 when the X1 arrives.

  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    @JJ :
    Ventilated seats…

    As an engineer, I believe in reducing complexity.

    Leather seats in a Mercedes? If I ever get that old, I’ll begin thinking about it. But in a BMW?

  • avatar
    JJ

    @Mirko Reinhardt

    Good point.

    Mercedes will be in trouble sometime in the future if they keep failing to appeal to the younger generations.

    Personally I’d take just about any BMW over the counterpart Merc, and most of the times it’s not even close.

    On the leather seats though; I still think it can work with sportseats and the right amount of bolstering. It is also the dependant on the model you choose. A 7 series or convertible without leather just isn’t right.

  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    @JJ :
    On the leather seats though; I still think it can work with sportseats and the right amount of bolstering. It is also the dependant on the model you choose. A 7 series or convertible without leather just isn’t right.

    True. A 7 series that isn’t available with a manual transmission also just isn’t right. Remember “Transporter”?
    But nobody buys a 7 for corner carving. An 1er, though?

    True on Mercedes too. There’s nothing wrong with the concept of the A-Class, but the styling… ewww.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • J & J Sutherland, Canada
  • Tycho de Feyter, China
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India