2008 BMW X3 3.0si

Time for the cliché freak-out as it relates to the price of a BMW. Just last night I was trying to explain to a friend how different automakers package options and how quickly those packages can send the price of a given vehicle into the realm of obscene. Little did I know I had a perfect example of the practice sitting in the driveway. The premium package and navigation systems can easily go away to save you $4500 in options without giving up the BMW feel, but things like a $150 cargo net and $1000 cold weather package are insanely priced and I don't want to give them up. Nobody is expecting a BMW with an economy car price, but I can't stomach the X3's price.

Yes, this X3 is showing its age. The transmission programming isn't as crisp as that of the automatic in the 3-series, the ride isn't as luxurious and supple as the newer luxury crossovers, and the interior pieces don't feel as modern as newer BMWs. It's time for a new X3 to compete with the likes of the Audi Q5, Mercedes GLK, Infiniti EX35, Volvo XC60, and even some of the non-luxury crossovers like the Mercury Mariner.

It's not all doom and gloom for this Bimmer. I'm always happy to find a 3.0-liter I-6 behind the kidney grille. The power delivery is perfect and the engine is very refined. The problem is I want that engine in a 1-series or a 3-series, not an X3 3.0si.

Phil Floraday, Senior Online Editor

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