I’ve had my 2022 X3 M40i for three months now, with about 3,500 miles. I love it. Let me explain the ways…
Winter mode activated
The cold season has so far been warmer than usual here in New Jersey, but snow was bound to come (it did), and I prepared by putting a set of winter wheels and tires on. It’s a set of 19-inch BMW wheel style 691s, wrapped in Bridgestone Blizzaks (45/50/R19).
Though it by no means turns the X3 into a sloppy-driving car, the tall tread blocks make it squirm more on the highway. I don’t really feel comfortable at speed above 85mph. That’s ok, because at low speeds on ice and snow, this X3 M40i is unstoppable. No wheel spin, never a hairy moment. I’d dare you to find a better car that can handle so well on-road, and make you as confident off it.
I love it
How many BMWs have I driven? Too many to count. This is hands-down one of the best ever.
It’s comfortable, the engine sounds terrific in sport mode (in fact louder than the G80), and it offers excellent responsiveness on the back roads. Steering feel is really well done; it might be the best of the current lineup. It provides M-levels of feel and push-back to center.
The LCI changes are nice. The front end is sleeker than my original 30i. And painted in Tanzanite Blue II Metallic with black wheels and Shadowline extended trim, it stands out.
If we accept the fact that the 3 Series wagon is gone forever, then this is a really good replacement. I can’t think of many things I’d change. But…
A few trouble spots
There are a few items I’m so too thrilled about. First, the gas mileage, at about 22 mpg, isn’t what I would call stellar. However, even the 30i got only 24. My 335, with similar levels of power and xDrive, achieved more as well, but not by a huge amount.
Let’s talk about iDrive. Sometimes it connects to my phone. Sometimes it doesn’t. It might stay connected to the M3 if I open the door to that car first in my garage. Waze usually requires a reboot on my phone to work properly. The car can disconnect mid-call…you get it. Annoying hassles. Look, the M3 has the same issues, so as advanced as iDrive is, it’s still not perfect. Maybe they should just have one interface as oppose to two.
Something stupendously silly but that does exist is the lack of an iDrive “panel” that displays engine oil temperature and boost pressure. You do not need to know this in an X3, but because both my BMWs share one driver profile and that panel does exist on my M3, it’s blank here. Try to change it in the X3, and the M3 also changes. iDrive profiles are a nice feature for sharing memory settings and radio stations, but this part isn’t very well thought out.
Finally, Sport mode makes the X3 M40i feel more engaging to drive, but leaving it in that mode for the entire drive can cause the transmission to hunt around a bit for gears. Relax X3, we don’t need to blip the throttle for each gear as we approach a red light. So I’ll put it in comfort only to be reminded of the auto stop/start permanently engaged (it’s not in sport mode).
Nothing here is major though, and if you like this car, you should buy one.
Do you like it better than your M3?
Yes and no. It’s more comfortable and has more room. But it’s no where near as sharp, pretty much what you’d expect.
What it does not make me do, is wish I had gotten an X3 M. This M40i is plenty quick, and for the extra few tenths to 60, along with a harsher ride, I can’t really see the need. I’ve driven X5 Ms on track, and they defy the laws of physics in a sense. But no matter what, they are still tall wagons with the weight up high. Who’s tracking an X5 or X3 M? For everyday use, this M40i is a better solution.
The sharper dynamics of the M3 make more sense in comparison to an M340i, because it’s a low car and thus better able to handle well at the limit.
Really what you’d want is an Alpina XD3 outfitted with a gas engine. To bad you can’t get one. That’s ok, because this X3 is perfect for me.
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