2018 BMW X3 M40i review

2018 BMW X3 M40i_12

BMW has redesigned the South Carolina-made X3 for 2018, upping the likeability on a midsize SUV that has traditionally been an excellent blend of passenger and cargo capacity, comfort, and style. The revisions do more than just make the X3 more modern- they make it fun to drive.

The M40i is a new variant from the automaker. It’s not a full-blown M car but is part of BMW’s M Performance sub-brand. Think of it as middle ground both in performance and pricing.

2018 BMW X3 M40i exterior

The 2018 BMW X3 has similar exterior dimensions to its predecessor. It has received a bolder design from nose to tail that works to evolve the design of the vehicle rather than completely reinvent it.

2018 BMW X3 M40i performance

Powered by a 355-horsepower turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine mated to a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission, the X3 M40i has enough get up and go to make you forget, for just a minute, that you’re in a family-friendly vehicle. The M Adaptive suspension works to adapt to a chosen drive mode: Comfort, Sport, or Sport+. The SUV’s 369-lb.-ft. of torque will help you get off the line in a hurry and assist in towing capability- the X3 is the first BMW to feature a factory-installed trailer hitch (two-inch receiver).

The SUV is planted on the road, thanks in no small part to its 50:50 weight distribution ratio and all-wheel drive system. Being behind of the agile X3 M40i is an engaging experience. You won’t think twice about pushing its capabilities through the corners nor racing to pass a truck on the highway. It drives better than many sedans.

2018 BMW X3 M40i interior

The cabin of the X3 M40i features a driver-centric cockpit. Its refined and modern design is executed with high-end materials. The overall look is similar to what is found in other BMW vehicles, which, to the average buyer, all look nearly identical. Still, it’s not unattractive and buttons, knobs, and touch points are all well-positioned.

The X3 has numerous comfort and convenience upgrades over the outgoing generation including tri-zone automatic climate control, a standard 40:20:40 split/folding rear seat, front ventilated seats for driver and front passenger, extended ambient lighting, and a longer panoramic glass moonroof. The vehicle’s infotainment system is responsive and works as advertised, gesture control aside. A Wi-Fi hot spot that offers connectivity for up to ten devices and a wireless phone charger is optional.

The X3 seats five comfortably. Its cabin is spacious, and you’ll easily be able to fit a family of four for a long road trip.

Eileen Falkenberg-Hull
Eileen is the writer of the nationally syndicated column Automotive Minute in The Business Journals, which explores the automotive industry focusing on news, reviews, and interviews. She loves finding out about the business strategy, design, and drivability of vehicles. Eileen is a contributor to U.S. News & World Report Best Cars.