When BMW Philippines introduced the all-new BMW X3 (E83) sports activity vehicle in early 2004, they organized a fun activity for the local motoring media. They set up a short slalom course in the adjacent parking area and the media guest with the fastest time through the slalom course gets a prize. At the time, I was representing The Philippine STAR and got strapped into the X3 for my slalom run through the course after some media colleagues have already raced against the clock.
At the time, I can only guess that the good folks at BMW Philippines did the slalom to showcase the precise handling of the first-generation X3, which was based on the BMW 3-Series (E46) platform and was made by Magna Steyr of Graz, Austria. The X3 shares the rear suspension of the BMW 330xi and the xDrive automatic all-wheel drive (AWD) system that delivers a 40:60 torque split between the front and rear axles in normal operation with the ability to direct all torque to either axle in certain conditions.
BMW designed the X3 to combine the agility of a compact model like the 3-Series with the driving experience of the up-market BMW X5. The interior of the X3 featured Command Seating, an upright, high H-point seating configuration, while the exterior styling featured interacting concave and convex surfacing, which was characteristic for BMW at the time, along with a reinterpreted Hofmeister kink.
To cut a long story short, yours truly won the slalom race by posting the best time of the day. As the prize for my driving achievement, I was presented with a 1:18 scale Kyosho die-cast model of the 2003 BMW X3. It was finished in a chocolate-y shade of metallic brown with tan interior, and it was presented to me by then BMW Philippines PR head honcho, Lito German, in a simple but fun ceremony.
After the introduction, motoring journalists criticized the X3 for its harsh ride, austere interior, lack of off-road capability, and high price. BMW nevertheless soldiered on and continued producing the X3 with an upgrade in 2005, a facelift in 2007, and the second generation launched in 2012. It won the Best Sports Utility Vehicle award in the 2005 Canadian Car of the Year. It’s still currently in production.
As for my miniature X3, in the excitement of taking home my prize, I forgot to ask for its original packaging box. So, it now sits inside a clear acrylic display case along with most of the trophies I’ve won in several auto, motorcycle, karting and journalism competitions that I’ve participated in. Indeed, this Kyosho BMW X3 is quite an unusual but interesting trophy in my collection, where each one has a story attached to it.
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