So I have been driving this X3 as a loaner for the last couple of days while the ///M is in for service. The one word that keeps coming to mind over and over again concerning this vehicle is "Why???. As in why did BMW bother making this vehicle? It is neither a car nor an SUV and drives like neither of them. And for north of $36K fully equiped, it ain't no bargain either. Let's start with the interior. As my co-worker that is a normal everyday guy that could care less about cars puts it, "This interior seems kinda.....well cheap.", as he runs his hand over the plastic...synthetic...whatever-you-want-to-call-it dashboard. The fake leather seats feel cheap too. But they are comfortable and supportive. The finish of the interior is good it just has a very sub-par feel to it. NOT very BMWish. That is the whole theme of this car. The interior space in pretty good. About the same as a regular 3er.....but isn't one of the selling points of an SUV to be more roomy than your average auto??? Trunk space is also disappointing......about the same as a 3er wagon. I'd rather have the wagon....I'm sure it rides a hell of a lot better. And with that.....we come to my major complaint with this car. The ride flat out sucks. Uninspiring is not a commonly used word when describing the ride of a BMW. Even most Bimmer haters that spend any real time in a BMW cannot deny that the essence of BMW is driver involvement, vehicle feedback, and inspired driving. NOT the case with the X3. First the driving position is like everything else about the car......out-of-place. You're not as low as a normal car yet not as high up as in an SUV.....it feels awkward. The ride is twitchy. When you make a turn or any type of direction change the car kinda jitters..not very solid feeling. The AWD drive system works well. I was not able to really break the car loose. But it didn't inspire confidence. You are turning and turning.....all the while with a feeling of "it's gonna give any second". You can't feel what the tires are doing so you don't really feel comfortable or confident. By contrast, Audi's Quattro system feels so planted and you are just not afraid to drive as aggressively as you want. In a word confidence. Even the X5 which is a SUV version of the 5 Series is far more capable and planted. I would gladly pay the extra money for the X5 (and probably will as my fiancee is in love with it). Power delivery by the X3's engine is sad. I don't know if it was the auto tranny or the drive-by-wire but when you floor the car and are at WOT there is a looong delay in power delivery. It is very disappointing and unsettling. Imagine if you needed that power in a hurry to avoid a dangerous situation? I know it isn't the engine......I had the same engine in my 330Ci and it was a joy. I will say one thing for the X3...once the power does come in, the resulting excelleration is very smooth and enjoyable. The brakes have the same push and wait feel to them also. Overall, I just think BMW did not put much thought or soul into the X3. They saw a popular market (one that BMW doesn't belong in) and created a car for chics and to win marketshare based on the status of their name and popularity, NOT on quality and the ultimate driving experience that they usually deliver. Personally if I were shopping in this space I'd jump on an Xterra. It's less expensive, less costly to maintain, more versatile and can actually handle off road duty not just look like it can. Let's hope they learn a lesson and make the lifespan of the X3 very, very short...............but I doubt they will.