If you didn’t already know, we’re fans of the BMW X3. Personally, I think it’s a superb car and one that’s far better than the car it replaces. Also, having driven much of its competition, I think it could be the best car in its class, not something I say lightly, as its competitors are all excellent. I also think that the new X3 has chassis dynamics, balance and steering reminiscent of BMWs of the past. Don’t take my word for it, though. Car and Driver recently tested the new X3 and came away with similar conclusions.
C&D tested both the BMW X3 xDrive30i and the X3 M40i, the only two models currently offered in America. The former uses a 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with an eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. It makes 248 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque and can get from 0-60 mph in 5.8 seconds, which is pretty good. It’s also a smooth engine and has good throttle response. It pales in comparison to the X3 M40i’s engine though. That car uses a 3.0 liter turbocharged I6 engine that makes 355 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, all of which is delivered in a turbine-smooth manner. It can also get from 0-60 mph in about 4.5 seconds, which is damn good in an SUV.
While the X3 xDrive30i is a good car and one that will make all of its customers very happy, it’s the X3 M40i that you want. It’s engine is brilliant and makes great power. “MW’s turbo six is an engine from the gods, and the M40i feels as quick as a Porsche Macan GTS.” said Car and Driver.
Though, we already know about how good BMW’s engines are. What most fans want to know is how the X3 has improved its driving dynamics. According to C&D, this new car is quite good. “More encouragingly, the X3 chassis suffers none of the float or sloppiness that plagues much of the recent BMW lineup.” That’s with the Dynamic Handling Package on the standard X3, something the X3 M40i already has, so it seems like that’s a must-have option. In C&D’s “Highs and Lows” section, one of its highs was “Chassis tuning like BMWs of old”. So we’re not crazy when we say it feels like an old-school Bimmer.
The BMW X3 isn’t perfect, obviously. Its variable-ratio steering isn’t brilliant, so just don’t option it, and Car and Driver isn’t a fan of its funky shifter. However, its driving dynamics, comfort and technology are good enough to outweigh its negatives.
Since I’ve driven the new X3 M40i, I’ve been raving about it. Some people have doubted me, claiming my claims to just be the sputtering of a fanboy. However, I’m not crazy (at least about that, I’m probably properly nuts otherwise), as another American journalistic publication seems to agree with me.[Source: Car and Driver]