[Review] BMW X3 M40i - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums



Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > X Series > X3 G01 (2018 - current)

X3 G01 (2018 - current)
The third generation X3 starts production in August of 2017 and will include the new X3 M40i top of the line performance model.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 04-24-2018, 05:03 PM
AndroidRobot AndroidRobot is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Texas
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Posts: 298
Mein Auto: G05 X5 50i
[Review] BMW X3 M40i

Overview

After owning a 2018 SQ5 that was subsequently totaled from road debris, I wanted to share my views on my new BMW X3 M40i. Back when I bought my SQ5 in August of 2017, the M40i was not out yet. So, I only had the choice between the GLC 43, Alpha Romeo Stelvio, Porsche Macan and Jaguar F Pace. This is my first BMW, though I have driven different ones before. I will try to be as unbiased as possible.

About me: I served in the United States Marine Corps as a Combat Engineer (1371) from 2009-2012 and currently work as a Petroleum Engineer in Texas. As you might expect, I can appreciate the small details and effort put into each part of a car. Driving and technology are passions of mine. and I do not like to compromise on either when it comes to driving.
Below is my take on the new G01 X3 M40i:

Exterior

Whether you're a fan of BMW's kidney grill or not, their prominence is only going to grow on future models. I like the aggressive look of the new X3 because in the words of my wife, "it looks angry". The front has nice creases in the headlights, giving the front end a nice sporty look. Add this to the M specific bumper, larger intakes, and black accents that increase the fierceness. There are bright LED fog lights which nicely blend into the front end. To accent the car, BMW uses their signature blue M Performance brake calipers that look great with the Pythonic Blue exterior.

Lighting: Coming from an SQ5 Prestige with full LED headlights, I expected good visibility form BMW's 'Adaptive LED' headlights. Note: The adaptive part of these headlights stems from their ability to pivot as you turn the wheel for maximum visibility. Thankfully, I was not disappointed. These headlights were impressive. Since I live in West Texas (where street lights are a light suggestion), nighttime visibility is key. The headlights made me realize how much of the road I was missing because their normal range (low beams only) was far better than my SQ5. This observation was confirmed after the IIHS released their crash test data, which includes lighting.

Moving around the back of the car, you will find revised rear LED tail lights, real exhaust ports and a gunmetal colored lower facia. I know many people who think all Mercedes, Audi and BMW models look the same year after year, but I think this refresh does just enough to set it apart. No rear fog lights are offered, and none are really needed. The taillights are very bright, as with any full LED setup. Reverse lights are also LED's, unlike the US versions of Audi's Q5 and SQ5.

Keyless entry works like a charm, with the ability to unlock only the driver's door or all doors. You can change this setting in iDrive to include the trunk as well. To lock the car, you simply need to touch the ribbed spot on any handle, making accidental presses nearly impossible. Each door handle pulls straight out.




Interior

Seating: BMW's choice of interior styling offers a welcoming environment with their driver- oriented set up. I opted for the Cognac Vernasca leather because of how well it goes with my Pythonic blue exterior. The front seats offer something I wish Audi did in their SQ5, adjustable side bolsters via their 14-way power seats. I am not the largest of people at 5"8' and 143lbs, so thankfully these seats offer more flexibility without sacrificing comfort. For those of you who are on the larger side, these seats don't appear to be welcoming like in my old SQ5. My wife, who is 5"1' /100lbs, finds her seat to very comfortable once the bolsters are adjusted to the narrowest setting. While the leather isn't diamond- stitched for the classic upscale look, I enjoy the simplicity of BMW's styling here. I'm not happy with BMW for not offering their M Sport steering wheel on the X3 M40i, a standard on RoW vehicles (rest of world). There's nothing inherently wrong with the current one, but I prefer the M Sport one for the look and feel.

Materials: From the dash to trunk, you won't find any unwanted hard surfaces or 'cheap-feeling' areas. BMW uses a stitched soft-touch material on the upper door sills and dash that reminds me more of leather than the weird rubber-like material of my SQ5. Interior trim options range from aluminum to wood, all complementary to specific seat colors. I have the Grey Poplar wood, which tied with the standard Aluminum Rhombical trim. Doors are trimmed in the same leather as your seats, giving the cabin a more luxurious feel. One complaint I do have is the use of a gloss plastic around the center console, since it's impossible to keep clean and will show scratches in direct sunlight. This is one area I'm willing to accept, given the excellent design of everything else.

Technology: Inside the center stack offers natural-feeling controls for iDrive which are simple and intuitive for anyone who can use a smartphone. The center screen on my M40i is 10.3" with a 1440*540, and has vivid colors with a refined appearance. iDrive offers a vast amount of customization options from driving modes, to display contents to climate control. All these settings can be saved to your key, so there's no need to change them back when your spouse or guest uses the spare key. I was happy to see the car readjust all settings automatically, including the driver's seat when I tried using the second key. There's also gesture support, which while somewhat gimmicky, has also proven to be especially useful. There are a few supported gestures, one of which you can remap to a variety of things, depending on your preference. BMW has much better remote support with the BMW Connected app vs the MMI on. I enjoy being able to see a 360 view of my car while at the store, or just about anywhere. You will also can do the following things remotely:
Lock/unlock the car
Turn on/off headlights, honk the horn
Turn on climate control (this can be scheduled too)
Locate car
Etc.

BMW's instrument cluster, while fully digital, doesn't have the same refinement Audi offers with their Virtual Cockpit. This is going to change with the release of iDrive 7.0 in the new X5 later this year. I found BMW's digital gauges retained their classical styling with modern touches. There are 3 different gauge clusters you get depending on the driving mode, Sport/Sport+, Comfort/Adaptive, and Eco Pro. Of course, if you'd rather not have the cluster change on a drive mode basis, there is a way to disable this option in iDrive as with almost every setting. Customization inside is near infinite! Moving on to the full color heads up display (HUD), you get to see everything from media options to route guidance. BMW's implementation here is the best so far. You can customize the HUD by adding/removing elements you do not care for (speed alerts, current speed limit, nav directions etc.).

One area I am extremely pleased with is the wireless (Qi based) charging tray. For those of you who are not aware, Qi is the wireless charging standard that beat out Powermat (back by Duracell). All new/old phones with wireless charging will be fully supported. I tested my Samsung S9+ and Note 8 in the tray during some spirited drives and the phone never once stopped charging. I'm glad BMW understands how consumers are using larger phones and made their wireless charging tray accommodate them without missing a beat.

Storage: Interior storage space in my X3 M40i is very generous (not quite 'American' sized like a F-150 or Tahoe), with room for my rather large Note 8 and S9+ inside the center console or wireless charging tray. From the small bin on the left side of your steering wheel to the glove box, I never felt more storage was necessary. I was pleased to see normal sized cup holders and could be hidden via the roll top like cover, which also covers your wireless charging phone tray. USB ports are found (2 in total) in convenient areas. One lies within the phone tray and another in your center console. These support 5V/2A+ charging, leaving ample power for most devices. Trunk space is slightly more than in the SQ5 with side bins to keep smaller items. Unfortunately, there is no cargo net to keep items in these side areas, making me question why they exist.

Performance and Driving

Anyone who has driven a recent BMW should know their vehicles are very driver-oriented. There was a time when BMW's were true driver's cars, but with modern technology some of the great things (steering feel) are lost. You will be happy to know the steering has some good feedback and is not entirely numb like some other models. Of course, the steering will never be E36/E46 M3 quality here, but for a sporty SUV it remains closer to the Macan than SQ5.

Drive modes: Whether you will be launching the M40i from a stop light or simply commuting to work, there is a driving mode for both. Every time the car is started, you will be in comfort mode, which basically translates to 'normal' with a relatively numb acceleration mapping. Adaptive is the next option, which falls between comfort and Sport. In Adaptive, mashing the pedal will result in a wall of power more quickly. Now, if you really want to have fun, Sport/Sport+ are the best drive modes. Who can resist the nice 'burble/crackle' you get on every up and down shift. By unleashing the beast in Sport+, you really get to see the M40i come to life. I was impressed with the sheer brute force the TwinPower (twin scroll) I6 provides, even though its power/torque are nearly identical to my SQ5. Whether or not the M40i is faster than others, it certainly feels that way. The M40i feels a class above the SQ5 in terms of acceleration and power. Staggered wheels provide good traction for the rear-biased AWD system, while also offering better looks. I generally drive in Adaptive most days and sometimes Sport+ while merging onto a highway, or to scare my wife (she doesn't enjoy this when it's unexpected).

Handling/Ride Quality:
No one is expecting a 2-ton SUV to be a nimble sports car, although given the near perfect weight distribution, there's no noticeable under/over steer that I've seen so far. Between the front and rear you get a 50.6%/49.4% split in weight, making this SUV feel sporty. On the other hand, my SQ5 featured a front heavy approach, sitting at a 54.3%/45.7% split. Steering is accurate and responds how you would expect. BMW has variable ratio steering like Audi's "Dynamic Steering," offering a faster ratio for the first ~90 deg. of steering; this makes low speed maneuvering easier.

AWD: There's no doubt Audi's Quattro system destroys X-Drive here, thanks in part to the sport differential and torque vectoring. I've been able to slightly lose traction in corners, where my Audi would remain firmly planted. You could call the BMW more fun thanks to this, since you can feel like you're in a RWD SUV in those situations. I've yet to test my M40i on anything but wet roads, so I cannot speak to how well the system works in snow. During the one time we had rain since purchasing my car, everything felt firmly planted with no fear of losing grip.

Wheels: My car was optioned with a 21" wheel, featuring dreadfully awful run flat tires. Keep in mind there are no non-run flat tires available in the OEM spec of 245/40 R21 & 275/35 R21 103Y at the time of writing this. Thankfully, I will be replacing these with 20" wheels and non-run flat tires within the next month or so. I find the ride to be a little bumpier than my SQ5's plush air suspension. Active dampers on the M Suspension option help smooth out bumps, while my run flat tires fight to counteract this. I test drove one with regular tires, which provided a smooth ride and fixed my main complaint.

Conclusion
Overall, I feel the X3 M40i is the best sporty small SUV on the market, aside from Porsche's Macan. Audi, Mercedes, and Alpha all have good offerings, BMW simply does what I prefe. If you want a sporty SUV without the 'Porsche tax,' this is currently the best option out there. Audi will offer a better ride for daily commutes with its air suspension and Mercedes might be a little faster, but BMW blends these two with better dynamics-this equals a nice sporty SUV.


Here's a link to the same thread I wrote on Audiworld: https://www.audiworld.com/forums/q5-.../#post25143088


Full sized pictures: https://photos.app.goo.gl/znYpVNutTtIifPgX2
Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
  #2  
Old 04-24-2018, 05:37 PM
jstein333 jstein333 is offline
Registered User
Location: Baltimore
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 74
Mein Auto: G30 540i M-Sport
Great review and very informative, I have a neighbor who bought one, and boy is it a hell of an SUV, definitely best in class (other than the expensive Porsch)

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndroidRobot View Post
BMW uses a stitched soft-touch material on the upper door sills and dash that reminds me more of leather than the weird rubber-like material of my SQ5.
Finally someone else has commented on audi's interior. It really annoys me that the new BMWs are critiqued for having simplistic interiors, with their materials overlooked, and new audi interiors being complimented. I spent a whole day comparing cars at the audi dealer before buying my 540i, and the main thing I noticed on every vehicle was the lack of any leather on the door panels or at least a nicer soft touch material on the dash. Instead it was just hard and rough rubber and looked very cheap. Even on expensive models like the S4 (which was over $60K) the best material that was available, and had to be optioned, was leatherette with fake stitching. I really enjoy that with BMW whenever you option leather you get the stitched leather door panels as well and a nice soft touch dash. Its something very little, but overall it just makes the car feel even more special and luxurious (especially since I'm paying). Even my 04 BMW 330i has door panels with leather and stitching. Sorry for going on a rant, but I'm glad that other people are finally seeing the cheap audi interiors. Good luck with your X3!
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 04-24-2018, 05:41 PM
AndroidRobot AndroidRobot is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Texas
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Posts: 298
Mein Auto: G05 X5 50i
Quote:
Originally Posted by jstein333 View Post
Great review and very informative, I have a neighbor who bought one, and boy is it a hell of an SUV, definitely best in class (other than the expensive Porsch)

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndroidRobot View Post
BMW uses a stitched soft-touch material on the upper door sills and dash that reminds me more of leather than the weird rubber-like material of my SQ5.
Finally someone else has commented on audi's interior. It really annoys me that the new BMWs are critiqued for having simplistic interiors, with their materials overlooked, and new audi interiors being complimented. I spent a whole day comparing cars at the audi dealer before buying my 540i, and the main thing I noticed on every vehicle was the lack of any leather on the door panels or at least a nicer soft touch material on the dash. Instead it was just hard and rough rubber and looked very cheap. Even on expensive models like the S4 (which was over $60K) the best material that was available, and had to be optioned, was leatherette with fake stitching. I really enjoy that with BMW whenever you option leather you get the stitched leather door panels as well and a nice soft touch dash. Its something very little, but overall it just makes the car feel even more special and luxurious (especially since I'm paying). Even my 04 BMW 330i has door panels with leather and stitching. Sorry for going on a rant, but I'm glad that other people are finally seeing the cheap audi interiors. Good luck with your X3!
Thank you! I could easily go into more detail although I don't feel that would be necessary. BMW hit all of the right areas for me except not including Android Auto... Their interior seems more user friendly as has a nicer feel no matter where you touch.
__________________
2018 Audi SQ5 Navarra Blue/Rotor Grey Totaled
2018 BMW X3 M40i Pythonic Blue/Cognac Sold
2019 BMW X5 50i Carbon Black/Tartufo
G05 X5 50i Review
G01 X3 M40i/MKII Audi SQ5 Comparison
Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
  #4  
Old 04-24-2018, 05:58 PM
KatherineGreg KatherineGreg is offline
Banned
Location: US
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Posts: 9
Mein Auto: Environmentalist
Great review, thanks,
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 04-24-2018, 08:25 PM
jjrandorin jjrandorin is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: San Diego
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 8,702
Mein Auto: 18' Tesla Model 3 Perf.
Awesome review, thanks for sharing!
__________________

2019 X3 M40i Phytonic Blue |Blk Leather W/Blue Stiching | Alu. Rhombicle trim | Adaptive Suspension | Premium Pack | Drivers Assist | Drivers Assist + | Wireless Charging | 21" 718 Wheels| | Executive Pack | HK Stereo (hers)

18' Tesla Model 3 Performance

BMW CCA #477341
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 04-25-2018, 02:09 AM
jgroarke jgroarke is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: manechester
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 670
Mein Auto: BMW X3 3.0d Msport
+1 NICE write up.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 04-25-2018, 05:27 AM
Red08X3's Avatar
Red08X3 Red08X3 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Memphis, TN, USA
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 150
Mein Auto: 2018 X3 M40i
I have to ask, what type road debris can total a $68K car?
__________________
2018 X3 M40i, Phytonic Blue, Cognac Vernasca
2016 328i, Melbourne Red, Beige

Past:
2015 X5 Sdrive 3.5, Black Sapphire, Black
2014 328i Gran Turismo, Jet Black, Beige
2013 X3 28i, Alpine White, Mojave Brown
2010 335i Sedan, Space Gray, Sport, Premium, CA, (retired)
2008 X3, Alpine White Sport Package - (retired)
2008 X3, Crimson Red, SA Package - (forcibly retired)
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 04-25-2018, 07:20 AM
AndroidRobot AndroidRobot is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Texas
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Posts: 298
Mein Auto: G05 X5 50i
Quote:
Originally Posted by Red08X3 View Post
I have to ask, what type road debris can total a $68K car?
I live in West Texas (energy sector) which means a lot of truck traffic. I'm not sure exactly what hit my car but it ranged from rocks to possible metal nuts/bolts. At the 75mph speed limit even small debris can do a lot of damage.
__________________
2018 Audi SQ5 Navarra Blue/Rotor Grey Totaled
2018 BMW X3 M40i Pythonic Blue/Cognac Sold
2019 BMW X5 50i Carbon Black/Tartufo
G05 X5 50i Review
G01 X3 M40i/MKII Audi SQ5 Comparison
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 04-25-2018, 07:37 AM
Ridin'Dirty's Avatar
Ridin'Dirty Ridin'Dirty is offline
'17 X1 - Rooster Cruisin'
Location: NW PA
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 964
Mein Auto: '93 "Beemer" R100r
Excellent write-up and your photos are stunning! Now I want one more than ever.
__________________

If you can't fix it, you don't own it.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 04-25-2018, 09:55 AM
AndroidRobot AndroidRobot is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Texas
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Posts: 298
Mein Auto: G05 X5 50i
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ridin'Dirty View Post
Excellent write-up and your photos are stunning! <img src="http://s1.bimmerfest.com/forums/images/smilies/thumb.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Thumbs Up" class="inlineimg" /> Now I want one more than ever.
I'm glad my review and pictures helped out. I need to take some better ones with my DSLR (not my S9+) at some point. Once I take them I'll update my post.
__________________
2018 Audi SQ5 Navarra Blue/Rotor Grey Totaled
2018 BMW X3 M40i Pythonic Blue/Cognac Sold
2019 BMW X5 50i Carbon Black/Tartufo
G05 X5 50i Review
G01 X3 M40i/MKII Audi SQ5 Comparison
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 04-26-2018, 01:28 AM
jgroarke jgroarke is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: manechester
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 670
Mein Auto: BMW X3 3.0d Msport
"I was impressed with the sheer brute force the TwinPower (twin scroll) I6 provides, even though its power/torque are nearly identical to my SQ5"

Which SQ5 do you refer to - the older diesel one or the (unbelievably slower but ironically petrol) new one just released?
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 04-26-2018, 02:43 AM
AndroidRobot AndroidRobot is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Texas
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Posts: 298
Mein Auto: G05 X5 50i
Quote:
Originally Posted by jgroarke View Post
"I was impressed with the sheer brute force the TwinPower (twin scroll) I6 provides, even though its power/torque are nearly identical to my SQ5"

Which SQ5 do you refer to - the older diesel one or the (unbelievably slower but ironically petrol) new one just released?
I had the 2018 SQ5 (3.0T 354HP/369ft-lb torque)
__________________
2018 Audi SQ5 Navarra Blue/Rotor Grey Totaled
2018 BMW X3 M40i Pythonic Blue/Cognac Sold
2019 BMW X5 50i Carbon Black/Tartufo
G05 X5 50i Review
G01 X3 M40i/MKII Audi SQ5 Comparison
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 04-26-2018, 06:29 AM
BenjaminBMW BenjaminBMW is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Dallas, TX
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Posts: 268
Mein Auto: 2018 X3 M40i
Something tells me you don't miss that SQ5 too much
__________________
________________________
Current Garage:
2004 Infiniti G35
2016 Porsche Macan Turbo
2018 SQ5 Prestige (sold)
2018 BMW X3 M40i
2018 BMW M550i (sold)
2018 BMW M5
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 04-26-2018, 02:21 PM
X3M40iHornFan X3M40iHornFan is offline
Registered User
Location: Austin, TX
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Posts: 21
Mein Auto: 2018 X3 M40i Alpine White
Great write-up! I am thoroughly happy with the purchase. It's the first car I care enough about to put protective film/ceramic etc on.
Reply With Quote
Reply

See More Related BMW Stories


Forum Navigation
Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > X Series > X3 G01 (2018 - current)
Today's Posts Search
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 09:03 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
© 2001- VerticalScope Inc. All rights reserved.