Features

The 2009 X3 starts at $39,700 and comes standard with leatherette upholstery, eight-way power front seats, a panoramic moonroof and rain-sensing windshield wipers. There are four option packages available. The $2,800 Premium Package, which my test vehicle came equipped with, adds upgrades like leather upholstery, auto-dimming mirrors, a universal garage door opener and Bluetooth. All of this should be standard in a vehicle in this class. There are also Sport Activity ($1,400) and Sport ($2,300) packages available that add varying interior and exterior features, including larger wheels and, in the case of the Sport package, a different suspension.

Our tester also had a Cold Weather Package ($1,000) that included heated front and rear seats, as well as the optional navigation system ($1,800). The navigation system in the X3 is severely outdated and isn't operated via the company's iDrive controller. Not only is the screen hard to see in direct sunlight, but the system got one of our editors lost on a long test drive. And no, that doesn't happen often.

If you optioned out an X3 like our tester was equipped, it would have an as-tested price of $47,375, including an $825 destination charge.

The Q5 and XC60 start at $37,200, and the all-wheel-drive GLK350 is $35,900. Similarly equipped, the Q5 and GLK would both cost around $45,000, and the XC60 would come in at about $43,000. That means the X3 isn't just more to start, it's more when similarly equipped, yet it offers outdated features, like its navigation unit. The other models also have newer options like iPod integration, blind spot warning systems and more that the X3 doesn't offer.

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