The BMW X3 is a very popular compact luxury SUV for the German automaker and after a complete redesign a few years ago, it received a mid-cycle refresh for the 2022 model year.
While the changes are subtle, they include a new headlight and taillight design, new front and rear bumpers and a larger kidney grille.
The 2022 X3 M40i we recently tested also receives the M Sport appearance package, offering a choice of exterior wheel designs and an M steering wheel.
The X3 M40i, which slots into the model lineup between the X3 xDrive30i and the performance X3 M, has a base price of $66,990, but our tester was fitted with a host of optional equipment that pushed the final bill to $86,815.
That includes the $7,900 Premium Package Enhanced, which adds adjustable rear seats, parking assistant plus with surround view, head-up display, a Harman/Kardon surround sound system, ambient lighting, a panoramic sunroof and more.
The Advanced Driver Assistance package ($2,000) was also fitted to the tester and that adds traffic jam assistant, driving assistant professional, active stop/go cruise control and a host of other driving assists that are part of the semi-autonomous driving features on the X3.
Some additional options are definitely worth it to make your ride stand out. It starts on the outside with the Brooklyn Grey Metallic paint ($895), 21-inch double-spoke alloy wheels ($500), shadowline headlights ($500), carbon fibre trim ($850) and red M Sport Brakes ($500). The cabin stands out thanks to the Fiona Red/Black Merino leather combination ($3,000) and $1,200 for the digital cockpit professional.
With so many ways to outfit your X3, there is something for everyone in the lineup.
Powertrain: The X3 M40i is powered by a potent 3.0-litre turbo inline 6-cylinder engine that pumps out 382 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. It delivers all the performance one would want for the compact SUV and was surprisingly not too punishing in terms of fuel efficiency.
It is paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission and an all-wheel drive setup.
The engine’s settings can be controlled via a set of buttons in the centre console for Eco, Comfort or Sport settings. Even in Comfort, the X3 M40i has lots of get up and go, and is very enjoyable to drive. Sport mode definitely kicks things up a notch however, and also lets the engine unleash a throaty roar as you power through the gears.
The combined fuel economy rating for the X3 M40i is a pretty reasonable 10.3 litres per 100 kilometres and I was able to achieve 11.2 L/100 km.
Those opting for the base X3 are offered a plug-in hybrid version to further improve fuel efficiency, although that is not available for the M variant.
Exterior: First off, I absolutely love the optional Brooklyn Grey paint of our tester. Grey hue has become more and more popular with automakers and consumers alike, and the one BMW chose for the X3 M40i just fits it perfectly in my view.
And it definitely helps the contrasting black trims in the fascia and side mirrors stand out that much more.
It’s also hard to miss the red M Sport brake calipers poking through the 21-inch double-spoke alloy wheels, two options that give the X3 M40i a bit more curb appeal – but also look great while in motion.
At the rear, the taillights make a statement as you drive away in what BMW calls a pincer claw design. Whatever it is, they look really good.
Our ride was fitted with a set of roof racks and if anything, that is the one sore spot for me. It just didn’t look right. They are tall and bulky and really didn’t mesh well in my view with the rest of the styling. But to each their own and if you need these for utility, they are good to have.
Interior: The Fiona Red/Black Merino leather option for the cabin may be pricey, but totally worth it. The red just makes the entire cabin pop – and the red is not just an accent colour here, it dominates the interior.
The overall feel of the cabin is one of luxury, and the quality of the materials, as well as the fit and finish, is of high standards. And it’s also a very spacious interior, with tons of headroom, as well as legroom for rear passengers.
The seats are very comfortable and provide good support for your trip.
I also really appreciated the 12.3-inch digital cockpit for its clarity and functionality, making it another worthwhile option to consider.
Infotainment: This is another bright spot for the X3 M40i, starting with the large and colourful iDrive centre screen. The interface itself is quite intuitive and easy to understand, and the system does not suffer from any lag.
You can control the system either through the touchscreen functionality, or the rotary dial and buttons in the centre console.
It also offers satellite radio, as well as wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a very handy feature we are seeing in more and more models.
Sound from the optional premium sound system is superb, so crank up the tunes, open up the panoramic sunroof and go out for a spin.
Drive: And when going out for those drives, you will certainly be pleased behind the wheel. The X3 M40i delivers smooth acceleration, which goes up to ridiculously fast in Sport mode.
Handling and steering response are both smooth, delivering an enjoyable experience for driver and passengers alike. The cabin is also very well insulated from outside noise, but you certainly still hear the growl of the engine when pressed.
This was my first experience with some of the semi-autonomous driving aids for BMW and I was very impressed. When engaged, the X3 kept itself at a safe distance from the vehicles in front, and the steering automatically adjusted to keep me within the lane markings even during curves in the highway. And the digital cockpit also displayed when and where cars were beside you at all times, so this also helps situational awareness if you decided to make a lane change on your own. A very positive first experience with this technology, which I fully expect we will only see more of in the coming years.
Conclusion: The 2022 X3 M40i is a real treat. It has great looks, a stellar interior – especially in red – and delivers the goods when it comes to performance.
Add to that some of the new driving aid technologies that will keep you and your family safe, and BMW has done an excellent job to ensure that this compact luxury SUV remains at the top of its game – and customers’ buying lists.
2022 BMW X3 M40i
Price as tested: $86,815.00
Configuration: Front engine/All-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 3.0-litre inline turbo 6-cylinder/ 8-speed automatic
Power/torque: 382 horsepower/ 369 lb-ft of torque
Fuel (capacity): Premium (78 L)
Combined fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): 10.3 L/100 km
Observed fuel economy (L/100 km): 11.2 L/100 km
Warranties: 4-years/80,000 km (basic)
Competitors: Audi SQ5, Genesis GV70 3.5T, Mercedes-AMG GLC 43