2011 BMW X3
Attention, Glenn Beck and the rest of right-tilting America: this is the new, camera-ready face of legal immigration.
The 2011 BMW X3 is a newly minted citizen, and clearly, it went overboard studying for its naturalization exams. How else would it know offhand, the easy path to success blazed by other tailored-for-America products?
If you missed it in civics or marketing class, cheat off our paper. Make it bigger, make it faster, make it richer--but don't make it too off-roady.
The new X3 ticks all those boxes, from its un-knobby tires to its gently curved roof. It's grown in almost every dimension, and gained a great new interior with more second-row seat room. (It's almost the size of the original X5, now.) It looks fantastic, inside and out. It's fast enough to blur any memory of its stiff-riding, cheap-cabin ancestors. It has all the hallmarks of a big U.S. splash, down to the patriotic tug on the heartstrings, now that it's assembled in South Carolina, alongside the X5 and X6 sport-utes.
But in its new incarnation as something more than a compact luxury crossover, with something more than casual off-road capability, is the X3 a real pole-vault ahead of a crowded class overstuffed with the Cadillac SRX, Audi Q5, Volvo XC60 and a slew of other multi-mission utes? Does it hit the luxury-crossover hot button more quickly, and accurately?
We set off to rural Georgia to deep-dive into the latest BMW blend for those answers, and some outstanding pecan pie niblets that strayed into their demise. An elaborate pavilion pinned down in strong winds by a wide range of BMW four-wheel-drive vehicles drove the off-road point home before we even laid hands on keyfobs--yes, the X3 still can stray off pavement. So did the handy farm trails carved into hundreds of surrounding acres.