What is it?
In a world where it seems like performance SUVs are becoming increasingly flashier, ostentatious and — in some cases — downright vulgar, the new BMW X3 M40i arrives as a refreshingly restrained, flies-under-the-radar take on what a fast 4x4 can be.
You won’t find any massively flared wheel arches, ridiculous spoilers or unnecessarily large air intakes here. In fact, if it weren’t for two fairly large exhaust outlets and some rather prominent M40i badging on the tailgate, you could almost mistake it for any other BMW X3.
That all seems to be an integral part of the appeal of BMW’s M Performance line-up, though.
These are cars that get a healthy serving of M performance, but don’t shout about it quite so much. And in the X3 M40i, that performance comes courtesy of a 3.0-litre, twin-turbocharged inline six engine.
It’s from BMW’s B58 family of motors — variations of which appear in cars such as the BMW M240i and 440i — and, in this application, develops a healthy 355bhp at 5500rpm and 369lb ft from 1520rpm, sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. From a standstill, BMW claims the X3 M40i will hit 62mph in 4.8sec and carry on to an electronically limited top speed of 155mph.
In addition to a more potent powerplant, the hot X3 also gains lowered M Sport suspension comprising MacPherson struts at the front and a multi-link arrangement at the rear, which has been calibrated specifically for the M40i, along with adaptive dampers and M Performance-specific variable ratio steering. Beefier M Sport brakes are also included to improve stopping power.