Safety

Neither the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety nor the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has tested the 2007 X3. Standard safety features include four-wheel-disc antilock brakes, traction control and an electronic stability system. The brakes include a Brake Drying system that resists water buildup during wet weather. BMW's Brake Fade Compensation, also standard, aims to maintain the same braking feel during situations like long downhill stretches, which can slowly cook the components.

In back, standard adaptive brake lights are supposed to reduce rear-end impacts by illuminating a larger section of the brake lights during hard braking to warn following drivers. Up front, optional adaptive headlights can swivel several degrees during turns to illuminate oncoming bends. At lower speeds, additional parking lights illuminate nearby corners when the steering wheel is turned hard to the left or right.

Six standard airbags include side-impact airbags for the front seats and side curtain airbags for both rows. Side-impact airbags for the rear seats are optional.

All five seats have substantial head restraints, though the middle one in back doesn't extend; its fixed height is about 2 inches too low for my 5-foot-11-inch frame. Child safety provisions include Latch child-seat anchors in the outboard rear seats, as well as top-tether anchors for all three positions. Parents, take note: The seat-embedded anchors have plastic covers, and they don't pry off Ч or clip back on Ч easily.

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