BMW X3 M40i: Practical performance for the everyday enthusiast

Posted by Wheels On Edge about 4 months ago
When car enthusiasts start a family, can they still have a car that checks all the boxes on top of being practical and usable? BMW may have stumbled on the answer with this new offering – the X3 M40i.

At a glance there’s not too much that differentiates this M40i from a standard X3 – or even last generation’s X3. But a closer look at details like the 21-inch M-Individual wheels, M-badged brake calipers and massive rotors, black chrome twin exhaust pipes and a restyled, more aggressive front with Cerium Grey kidney grilles hint at the sportier nature of this X3. Our tester was finished in the only non-metallic colour option on the X3 M40i, Alpine White. While looks are an entirely subjective thing – we feel the X3 falls somewhat short compared to offerings from competition including the Porsche Macan and the Jaguar F-Pace
Inside, unique M touches set the X3 M40i apart from a base X3. The door sills feature BMW M-badging and the M40i’s model designation. Leather-laden bolstered sport seats offer a supportive, comfortable and body-hugging throne for both driver and front passenger. The seats also feature an extendable thigh support. The centre console and digital gauge cluster also feature BMW M-badging, setting the X3 M40i apart. 

Perhaps the most important feature however, lies under the hood. Powering the X3 M40i is a 355 horsepower, twin turbo 3.0L inline-6 engine paired to a quick and smooth shifting 8-speed transmission. With 369 lb-ft of torque, 0-100 takes just 4.8 seconds. The aforementioned M-brakes and re-sculpted front end, coupled with sportier suspension and handling tweaks make the X3 M40i sound more like a sports car than anything. So is it as fun to drive as it sounds? We put it to the test.
Pushing the start button results in an aggressive growl from the engine – and if you’re lucky – a few sharp cracks and pops from the X3 M40i’s sport exhaust. It’s worth noting BMW pipes artificial engine noise into the cabin in this hot X3. While purists will scoff at the notion, the same system is present across other BMW models and is unlikely to vanish any time soon. To be honest, it doesn’t sound all that bad either. Pop the X3 into sport mode and you’ll be greeted by a cacophony of crackles from the exhaust. The gearbox and throttle response become more responsive and aggressive and the suspension firms up. This of course means it’s less comfortable in daily driving over Canada’s many pothole-laden roads, but it’ll certainly make the everyday humdrum commute more exciting – and it’ll give you surprising capabilities in sharp corners. Despite its massive size and high centre of gravity, the X3 M40i is remarkably low on body roll. Twists and turns are handled with the kind of ease you might not expect from such a sizeable vehicle.
The countless M badges and sporty nature of the X3 M40i do not change the fact that at the end of the day, this is a family vehicle. In comfort mode, the engine and piped in sound are dampened considerably, only flaring up on hard acceleration. The suspension also softens up, absorbing road bumps and levelling out the vehicle for a smooth and comfortable ride. BMW claims a combined fuel economy of 8.2 L/100km, which, for something of this nature, is quite impressive. Our testing was not anywhere close to this – largely due to having too much fun listening to the exhaust crackle.

There’s no such thing as a vehicle that can tick all the boxes. Compromise must be made no matter what the case. The X3 M40i can be looked at as an attempt at hitting all the right notes. It’s fun and exciting to drive, sporty, comfortable, decent on gas and very practical for the family. In an era where North Americas are embracing SUV’s and crossovers, it’s an excellent formula. The only problem is – everyone else is doing it too. While the X3 M40i is no doubt very good, its competition has never been tougher. With excellent offerings from the likes of Audi, Porsche, Dodge, Volvo and others, it’ll be tough to stand out. But those loyal to BMW – and those that know the prestige and engineering that come with the letter M – know they’re in for a treat when they get behind the wheel of an X3 M40i.

Written by Shane Kalicharan

Tags:
BMW X3 M40i, performance, luxury SUV

Latest Articles

See All
  • Must-have Driver Assistance Features for Your Next Car
    Must-have Driver Assistance Features for Your Next...

    August 13, 2018 - In case you are in the market for a new car, you will want to upgrade your driving experience, as well as your personal comfort and the number of horses under the hood. Today’s car manufacturers are in a competition to deliver a greater range of driv

  • 2018 Mazda6 Signature: Premium Package without a Premium Price
    2018 Mazda6 Signature: Premium Package without a P...

    August 12, 2018 - Life goes in stages. One day, you’re moving out into a condo and starting a new life. Sure, it’s compact, but it suits your needs and fits your budget. Before you know it, you start a family and that condo is suddenly looking a little cramped. It was

  • 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV: Mitsubishi’s Comeback?
    2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV: Mitsubishi’s Comeb...

    August 5, 2018 - As an automaker, Mitsubishi has had both a storied and troubled history. From its many forays into motorsport and numerous collaborations with other automakers, the brand has had a number of highs. But perhaps at its worst, the company ended producti

  • 2018 Mazda3 Sport GT Hatchback: Balancing price, premium and performance
    2018 Mazda3 Sport GT Hatchback: Balancing price, p...

    August 5, 2018 - It’s been one of Mazda’s top sellers since it launched and remains a favourite on Canadian roads. Mazda owners have come to enjoy the Mazda3 as a reliable, economical and fun car to live with. It can cover all spectrums from basic and frugal to comfo

  • Great Gift Ideas For A Car Enthusiast
    Great Gift Ideas For A Car Enthusiast

    August 3, 2018 - Looking for the perfect gift for someone on their birthday this year? Finding the best possible gift for our loved ones can be hard, especially when we have pretty much used up all of our ideas in previous years.

  • How To Get A Long Life Out Of Your Car
    How To Get A Long Life Out Of Your Car

    August 3, 2018 - You see, when you get your first ever car, it will be your absolute pride and joy, and you will do all that you can to look after it and make sure that it is always clean and working perfectly. As time goes by though, your standards may begin to sli

  • Take Off In Style Without Going Under Financially
    Take Off In Style Without Going Under Financially

    August 1, 2018 - So the challenge becomes: how do you get the most bang for your hard-earned buck? Here are the most important factors that will help you get the best value and longevity from your prized vehicle.

  • Think Sun, Think Danger On The Road
    Think Sun, Think Danger On The Road

    August 1, 2018 - From drought to sunburn, you can’t afford to ignore the dangers of sunlight. As a driver, the sun can lead to serious accidents and illnesses, if you’re not careful. Don’t relax your attention in summer!

  • Essentials for Taking to the Road: A Guide for New Drivers
    Essentials for Taking to the Road: A Guide for New...

    August 1, 2018 - Taking to the road as a new driver can be an intimidating experience. Sure, you know what you’re doing - otherwise you wouldn’t have passed your test!

  • 2018 Mazda MX-5: Driving bliss with a cherry on top
    2018 Mazda MX-5: Driving bliss with a cherry on to...

    July 31, 2018 - Good things come in small packages. It’s a cliché, sure, but sometimes there’s a lot of truth to it. Case in point, the new Mazda MX-5. Currently in its fourth generation, this iteration of Mazda’s two-seat sports car has been on the market since 201

Share This!

or