THERE is a sense of belonging about the current X3 in the BMW line up.
When it was first released, the X3 was still finding its way along unknown pathways. Over the years, SUVs have been given a clearer sense of purpose in the scheme of motoring and have grown in leaps and bounds.
Hence, the new X3 exudes more purpose with its muscular looks and contemporary styling, which helps its identity, especially with the higher-specced models like the X3 M30i and X3 M40i
For BMW, the challenge was how to keep the model relevant and distinct even as new models were rolling out.
By beefing up the body and giving more power to its lungs, the X3 has carved a niche for itself, especially with the M30i and M40i variants, which are muscled up to deliver quite outstanding performance.
The M40i reviewed here takes a huge leap ahead of its relative, the M30i. Packed with a turbocharged inline 6, it makes full use of the extra litre of displacement available.
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The M40i is a spirited runner. Its handling is unflappably flat around corners and it exhibits no unwelcome behaviour that could unseat the passengers. Everything is as expected.
The double-glazed windows help to keep the external noises at bay, but not enough to dampen the enthusiasm of the engine. In Sport mode, it’s full of pop, crackle and go as it twists and dances on command. For its size, the M40i’s abilities far exceed expectations.
The sporty Vernasca leather seats do a good job of holding you in place, minimising slipping and sliding.
The cabin lighting sets the mood. The various textures of the materials used on the dash, the dark roof (could be a tad claustrophobic for some), the aluminium buttons, and the sparkling display showcasing the connectedness you enjoy while on the move, are great for the modern lifestyle.
Apple Car Play is activated without cables and there’s cable-free charging available in case your device is running low on juice. Gesture Control lets you up or lower the volume of a well-balanced Harman Kardon surround sound system.
The head-up display offers basic information and route guidance, and coupled with the paddle shifters lets you keep your eyes on the road ahead. Leaping from 0-100kmh in under five seconds, you’d best be alert.
The assistance provided by the X3 to warn you of blind spots and a magnificent 360° perspective will also help to deliver a safer journey.
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BMW X3 M40i TECH SPECS
Engine: TwinPower Turbo Inline 6 cylinder
Max Power: 265kW@5,500–6,500rpm
Max Torque: 500Nm@1,520–4,800rpm
Transmission: 8-speed Steptronic
VES Band: C2
0-100kmh: 4.8 seconds
Top Speed: 250kmh
Retail price: *$315,888
Please reconfirm price with the dealer.
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