2018 BMW X3 M40i Review – Long-Term Update 1 – MotorTrend

Call me immature, but I like cars that are loud, fast, eye-catching, and generally obnoxious. After spending a year piloting our long-term CX-5, the plan was to take the reins of a BMW X2, which is none of those things. Every time I laid eyes on Brian Vance’s X3 M40i, the X2’s bigger, angrier brother, I couldn’t help but jokingly offer a switcheroo—especially when I heard him grumbling about the X3’s loud exhaust possibly annoying his neighbors.

To my surprise, he actually seemed interested. After a weeklong test drive, he liked the X2 enough to swap. This made me very excited.

My first X3 impressions are all positive. It’s definitely handsome, especially in Phytonic Blue Metallic. The interior is also a welcome upgrade from the X2. It’s much more luxurious, and I’m loving all the tech and convenience features. Which makes me question Brian’s choice to switch even more. I guess that loud exhaust really bothered him. I, on the other hand, love it, especially in Sport or Sport Plus mode when it burbles and backfires on overrun.

Some think it’s out of place coming from the back end of a practical SUV, but I like that surprising aspect. It’s like when you find out your college math professor can burp the alphabet. Uncharacteristic, but it shows the person has a fun side.

Speaking of fun, we have yet to take the X3 to the track to do our standard testing, but my butt-dyno is expecting it to be true to BMW’s claim of 4.6 seconds to 60 mph. It’s deceptively quick, thanks in part to the smooth power delivery of the B58, the turbocharged inline-six that it shares with much of BMW’s lineup. It’s the successor to the venerable N55 and feels just as buttery. I’ll report on what our test team learns in the next update.

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