2011 BMW X3 Review and Road Test – The Road to Berchtesgaden
Driving the BMW X3 to Berchtesgaden
The A96, also called “Ammerseeautobahn,” connects Lindau (am Bodensee) with Munich and terminates in the B2R, the ring-road in Munich (“Mittlerer-Ring”). I continued on the B2R and then entered the A995, an 11-kilometer long Autobahn that connects the A8 and the A99, in order to connect to the A8.
A few kilometres later, I left Munich and followed the A8 towards Salzburg. The first stretch of the A8 from Munich to Salzburg (formerly called the “Reichsautobahn 26”) was built in 1934 as part of the “Reichsarbeitsdienst” (a work program designed to reduce unemployment, introduced by the National Socialist regime). Towards the end of the Second World War, some parts of the A8 were being used as runways for German fighter planes.
Near Chiemsee, after having gone 90 km (55 miles), I got stuck in a huge traffic jam and, since I would have had to leave the A8 at the next exit anyway, I decided to continue via the Staatsstraße 2095 and the Bundesstraße 306.
The B306 ends near Inzell and terminates in the Bundesstraße 305. The B305 is part of the so called “Deutsche Alpenstraße”, which has a total length of 450 km (280 miles). Connecting the Bodensee area with Berchtesgaden on a west-east axis, the B305 ends at the historic Roßfeldhöhenringstraße (see “Driving the Roßfeldstraße” from the December 2009 issue of The Diesel Driver)
I continued along the B306 and B305 for the next 55 km (35 miles) and enjoyed beautiful mountain views and panoramas for the remainder of the trip.
The drive to Berchtesgaden took about four hours including one break and the X3 diesel used 6.3 l/100 km (38 mpg). Our average speed (thanks to traffic and lots of non-Autobahn driving) was 59.5 km/h (37 mph).
Driving the X3 on snowy roads is fun because the handling is excellent and its grip, thanks to the latest generation xDrive, is peerless. With the electronic damping control, I was able to easily switch between a sporty suspension setting on the Autobahn and a more comfortable setting for city streets. Changing from Normal, Sport, and Sport+ adjusts throttle response, power-steering weight, stability control, gearshifts and damper responses for a perfect ride.
The new X3 is far more spacious than its predecessor; indeed, it’s almost the same size as the previous generation X5. The Nevada leather seats were extremely comfortable and supportive and there is plenty of leg and head room to comfortably fit five passengers.
The fuel consumption for a four-wheel drive vehicle of this size (the new X3 has nearly the dimensions of the older X5) seems quite good even though we didn’t hit the EU highway consumption figure of 5.0 l/100 km (47 mpg).
BMW includes numerous technologies from its EfficientDynamics program to keep fuel usage to a minimum including brake energy regeneration (with a recuperation display), electric power steering, automatic start stop, a gear shift indicator (manual transmissions only), and optimized warm-up behavior.
Our next drive is to the Austrian Alps and then back to Munich so we will be able to have a much better idea of the X3’s fuel usage after these additional drives.
Stay tuned for Part II, our drive to Austria and the return trip to Munich. Also see our First Look at the new X3.
|2011 BMW X3 xDrive20d|
|Drivetrain||Front engine, all-wheel drive|
|Engine||2.0-liter/184 hp/280 lb-ft torque/I-4|
|Curb weight (lbs)||3781|
|Length x width x height (inches)||179.9 x 73.0 x 65.9|
|0-62 mph (seconds)||8.5|
|City/highway/combined fuel economy (l/100 km – mpg) (EU Cycle)||6.7 / 5.0 /5.6 – 35 / 47 / 42|
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