The plastic-is-fantastic interior of the phase-one BMW X3 was sadly carried on the facelift model as well, albeit the build-quality seems to have improved. First thing you notice when you enter a BMW X3 cabin is the button clutter on the center console, reminiscent of the fact this 2008 car is still based on the E46 3 Series platform, which is older than some of our readers.
After a few seconds/minutes of acquaintance, everything seems to be specifically designed with the comfort of the driver in mind, starting with the slightly tilted center console. The car we tested was pretty much full-spec. Even though it was equipped with the M-technik sports package, the front seats weren't Motorsport embedded, but comfort ones. Sure, they were comfortable but the lateral and lumbar support was somehow below expectations, especially since we're talking about a BMW here.
As compact it is on the outside (for an SUV), the interior size doesn't excel either. The legroom is just fine if your height is below 180 cm (6 feet), but the shoulder and headroom don't seem to be designed from a big fellow's perspective. The interior design is very '90s Germanic, with dark plastic buttons on the center console and on the doors, and a very Teutonic less-is-more atmosphere, even though there's a lot of switches and buttons to push everywhere.
The luggage compartment volume (480 liters, or 17 cuFT for you Yanks) is enough to carry enough supplies for its occupants, especially in the case they travel the Indian way, light. Sure, the rear seat can recline (in a 60/40 ratio) in order to provide a flat surface which starts in the trunk and ends behind the front seats, but who's going to actually do that in an X3, really? On the plus side (from an interior volume perspective), the (micro) spare wheel sits outside the cabin or trunk, Range Rover style. Continue reading