We’ve not been shy about our praise for the BMW X3 M40i. With its genuine, an incredibly surprising, old-school BMW steering feel and chassis balance combined with a stellar engine, the X3 M40i is one of the absolute best BMWs to drive on the market. In fact, I’ve recently said that it’s my favorite non-M BMW on the market to drive and the only Bavarian product I’d want to live with more than it is the BMW M5. So it’s a damn good car. But Volvo is also killing it right now, making some seriously fantastic SUVs. So how does BMW’s best SUV compare to the Sweden’s best, new Volvo XC60 T6 R-Design? Auto Guide finds out.

The BMW X3 M40i is the M Perormance variant of the X3, not the full-blown M Division product, but it’s still properly quick. Its 3.0 liter turbocharged inline-six engine makes 355 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. When paired with its slick-shifting eight-speed automatic and clever xDrive all-wheel drive system, the X3 M40i can hit 60 mph in under five seconds. It’s also a serious driving machine, despite it being an X3. It has genuine steering feel and its steering is sharp and accurate, making it an incredibly enjoyable car to drive. It also sports a chassis balance that manages to blend compliance and performance in the sort of harmony that old-school BMWs would.

If there’s any knock against the X3 M40i, according to Auto Guide, it’s the interior which is a bit bland looking and has too many buttons. While many enthusiasts prefer its button-laden layout, as that’s easier to use while driving, AG prefers the Volvo’s touchscreen layout. Having said that, build quality is excellent and materials are rich, it’s just a bit less exciting looking than the Volvo. There is ample head and leg room, though, so it’s a practical SUV.

As for the Volvo XC60 T6 R-Design, it sports a 2.0 liter twin-charged engine that’s both turbocharged and supercharged to make a very healthy 316 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. What’s remarkable is that Volvo has managed to twin-charged a small four-cylinder engine and make it incredibly smooth. So it makes competitive power, however, it isn’t as quick, hitting 60 mph in around six seconds. It also has a much less effective transmission, which is a touch sloppy, even in Comfort mode. So it’s powerful and has a smooth engine but it’s just not quite the sports car that the X3 M40i is.

Though, the Volvo makes up for that by looking fantastic and having a very modern, slick cabin. Its infotainment system might be a bit more difficult to use than the BMW’s iDrive, but AG seems to prefer the Volvo’s button-less cabin more. It certainly looks better and is a fresher take.

However, Auto Guide handed the BMW X3 M40i the win, due to the fact that it’s the better car to drive. It’s more fun, has way more character and is the better car to actually drive. The Volvo XC60 T6 R-Design is a very good looking, very interesting car that’s comfortable and has a great cabin but it’s not good enough to take on the X3 M40i.

[Source: Auto Guide]