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BMW X3 M40i

How I specced my X3 M40I

Given the current state of affairs, it’s no surprise that my M3 has been delayed almost six months. In the meantime, I’ve had my X3 30i to perform daily driving duties. It’s served me well, but it hasn’t exactly encouraged taking the long way home. I’m about to change that with my new X3 M40i.

BMW X3 M40i
It must be blue.

Why did you get it?

While the new G80 is no slouch when it comes to daily practicality, lugging my camera gear (and my four-year old daughter) means something with a hatch and easy access is better.

With the BMW store being fresh out of station wagons, and the X5 too big for my needs, the X3 still fits the need nicely.

Why didn’t the 30i cut it?

BMW X3
I love it for what it is, but it’s never going to ask you to dance.

It did, it’s a great car. There were two main issues:

  • It’s slower than I’d like, specially merging on the highway
  • It’s a bit soft in the suspension

With the new LCI just released, I decided to upgrade. I do not need two M cars with summer tires, so this seemed to split the difference nicely.

How did you spec the X3 M40i?

X3 M40i
The LCI features new taillights.

I’m big on having a matching garage. My Estoril Blue 328i and Interlagos Blue E92 M3 were a very happy couple. So it must be blue.

  • Tanzanite Blue II Metallic
  • Tacora Red Sensatec
  • Shadowline package, with extended Shadowline trim and black grilles
  • 19″ 887-style wheels
  • Smoke Grey Aluminum Rhombicle Trim
  • M Sport Brakes with Red Calipers
  • Harman Kardon surround sound system
  • Remote Engine Start
  • Premium Package
  • Parking Assistance Package

The 19-inch wheels are the only option if you want all-season tires (the rest are oddly only summer rubber), so I got the smaller wheel. I have Sensatec in my current X3, and I love it. Easy to clean and resilient, it’s a good thing to have for a parent with a young child.

The standard M Sport adjustable suspension lowers the car 0.4 inches, so handling should be improved over my 30i.

Red brakes look great on blue (the M3 is also specced this way), and the Harman Kardon system is necessary because the base unit has no business in any BMW.

Also important – this car has ambient light as standard, something the 30i wasn’t available with when picking off the lot. Why does that matter? Because my daughter loves it.

X3 interior
Tacora Red helps brighten up the interior.

Is the LCI in the X3 M40i much different?

BMW is smart – they want people coming off lease to feel the urge to “upgrade” to a lightly redesigned model.

If you’re a BMW fan, you’ll notice the updated shifter, larger 12-inch display, start button moved to the transmission tunnel, and new head- and taillights. The B58 now has a mild hybrid assist mode, similar to the M340i, so acceleration might be a bit better. Otherwise, it’s the same.

Anything you don’t like?

I’m not a fan of auto stop/start. The 2020 X3 lets you turn it off (though you have to do it every time you start the engine). This new model, and in fact most 22 MY BMWs, have deleted the option. Now, it just does it at every stoplight.

It doesn’t save fuel, and it wears down the starter. It’s also hardly seamless in operation.

I’ll have a full review once I have some seat time.

Why not the X3 M?

Price, for one. As mentioned, summer tires are another. It’s not quite as fuel efficient, and more expensive to insure. Also, with almost 400 horsepower and a o-60 time that matches my old E92 M3, I must ask how fast a daily really needs to be.

When will it arrive?

I anticipate the X3 to arrive within a month’s time.

Special thanks to Circle BMW and Danny Wong for going above and beyond. Please contact Danny if you’re in the market (nationwide). He’s an M4 driver and knows his stuff.

Commissions may be received for product links on this site, so help out if you can. I only write about products I use and believe in.

I use Nikon camera bodies and lenses, a Westcott Ice Light 2, Manfrotto tripod, B + W filters and an iMac Pro to make the art you see here.

Email me at mike@machineswithsouls.com with any questions.

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