Text: Yousef Alvi // Photos: Geoff Dennis
Now the ‘cool’ thing to do if you review cars or if you are an internet troll is bad talk crossovers. Yes there are some crossovers that are specifically made for the boring person but then there are crossovers that are made to get your blood pumping. Like this 2018 BMW X3 M40i.
Now if you wanted a truly sporty crossover you are going to spend about $80k, the M40i undercuts that with it’s $54.000 starting price. With that you get their exquisite 3.0 Liter turbo charged V6 pumping out 355 horsepower and 369 ft/lbs. Trust me though…this sucker is pumping out closer to 400 horses. It also has heated everything, leather everything, pano roof. Along with M brakes, suspension, exhaust and steering. The M added goodness is what turns this 4200 pound tall wagon into an actual road-eating beast.
Since we are on the subject, let’s talk about the handling because the theory goes like this:
“Crossovers are supposedly bad performance vehicles because their center of gravity is so high”
BMW has somehow solved that issue. Throwing the M40i into a series of bends you don’t feel the ‘whoa’ sensation of weight overhead. What you feel is grip. Just a crap ton of grip. The AWD drive system is rear biased but it can divert power from front to back and side to side. Moreover, you actually feel it too! The steering in the M40i one if it’s best attributes. It’s engaging, tactile and you can feel what all 4 tires are doing at any given moment. After driving a few feet in the M40i you don’t feel like you’re in a crossover. You feel like you are in a sports sedan. Drive it like one and it performs like one.
The exhaust SNAP, CRACKLES AND POPS like you loaded the fuel tank with Rice Krispies
Now one of the most satisfying parts of the M40i is the exhaust. It wakes up with a growl and then settles in for a nice hum when you are civilized. Hit Sport mode though…then it SNAP, CRACKLES AND POPS like you loaded the fuel tank with Rice Krispies. For the inner 7 year old in all of us that is worth the price admission alone.
Now I have sold you on the performance attributes of the M40i…how is it every day? It’s one of the best daily drivers out there. Because it is a crossover….you have room to fit your entire family, a baby seat, a stroller in the back, groceries and whatever else you may need. Put the suspension in comfort mode and it will just glide down the road. Put the car in Eco Pro mode and it will literally Glide Down the Road. The engine will shut off when coasting to save you fuel and mixing that up with Sport Mode we were getting 20.5 mpg in mixed driving. Bear in mind I’m a moron and my foot usually never leaves the floor board. So color me impressed…and brown. Well I’m mostly brown.
So how do I sum up the 2018 BMW X3 M40i? If you need a crossover but you don’t want to turn into your enthusiast card. This should be your first choice.
2018 BMW X3 M40i
Engine: 3.0 Liter V6 Turbo’d
Horsepower: 355 hp
Torque: 369 ft/lbs
MPG: 20.5 in mixed driving