Our European colleagues love to test drive cars like the 3 Series Touring and 5 Series Touring and proclaim them to be among the best do-it-all cars on sale, especially the former. The BMW 3 Series Touring is quite possibly the most well-rounded car on the planet, with the ability to be fun and comfortable, good looking and practical, fuel efficient and fast. There’s really nothing it does poorly. Unfortunately for us North Americans, we can’t buy the 3 Series Touring as it isn’t sold here. So what is our best do-it-all Bimmer? There can only be one — the BMW X3 M40i.
The BMW X3 M40i is the 3 Series Touring of North America in that it’s so good at so many things and never seems to have an egg on its face. Under the hood lies a 3.0 liter turbocharged I6 engine (codename B58) that now makes 382 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. It get from 0-60 mph in a blistering 4.4 seconds, all while delivering its power with the smoothness of a Guy Ritchie baddie. It also makes a kick-ass noise, which helps it stand out from the sea of boring suburban crossovers.
Sweetening the deal ever further is the fact that it’s comfortable and spacious. The X3 is a great platform on which to build, thanks to its surprising front and rear passenger space, good cargo volume and stiff chassis. So not only do passengers have enough room, the car is comfy as well. Even the harder-edged BMW X3 M40i is supple and comfortable to drive around in on a regular basis. Throw in a good looking, well-made interior and the X3 M40i is an outstanding luxury family car.
Don’t think it’s soft, though. The X3 M40i moves like an athlete. I still remember the first time I drove one, I was blown away by just how sharp and agile it was for an SUV. I thought it was going to be a boring, soccer-mom crossover with a stonking engine but the M40i has some serious moves. It’s not as sharp as a BMW M340i Touring, due to being heavier and taller, but it’s not too far off. Even its steering is precise and, to be perfectly honest, some of the best steering BMW currently has to offer. It’s almost bizarre.
It also comes in at a reasonable price, at $56,600 before destination. That’s only two grand more expensive than the M340i, which is smaller and has significantly less cargo space. So it makes the X3 M40i a bit of a bargain, actually.
To be honest, the only real knock against the BMW X3 M40i is that it isn’t a BMW M340i Touring. But since we can’t get that car here in North America, that point is moot. While Europe gets excellent wagons, we have to settle for crossovers for our practical cars. Thankfully, one of the crossovers we do have is absolutely excellent.