BMW isn’t willing to make their third-generation X3 a full fledged M model, instead naming the hottest variant of the G01 the X3 M40i. It’s still a highly capable small SUV, and quite a fast one. As a result, the variant count rises 5, with the list price spectrum spanning $30,000 from the base model’s $66,900 start price.
It’s now been confirmed that the X3 M40i is bound for Australia, arriving in July 2018 for a cool $99,000 before on-road costs. Notably, this particular sub-M model isn’t (yet) offered with all-wheel drive in any market, meaning that its name is refreshingly simple without having to be burdened by the ‘xDrive’ suffix.
It does have all-wheel drive, incidentally, but for some reason doesn’t bear the branding cruft that it typically would follow. Other sub-M cars like the M550d aren’t so lucky. Having said that, BMW is emphasising the X3 M40i’s car like incisiveness being a contribution of the rear-biased system with fully variable drive split working with the M Sport differential.
Standing launches are but one situation where the extra traction off the line makes a considerable difference, with all four corners able to shoulder the 265kW and 500Nm the 3.0-litre turbocharged inline-6 generates at full tilt. Drive is funnelled through an 8-speed ZF 8HP automatic transmission.
The resulting acceleration is mighty impressive at 4.8 seconds, an experience that would be improved by the M performance exhaust system - sadly, that’s an optional extra. However, over other variants of the X3, the M40i’s kit list include 21-inch M light alloy wheels, Adaptive M suspension, uprated M Sport brakes painted in the requisite blue, adaptive LED headlights, ‘Vernasca’ leather upholstery, navigation system professional, and a 16-speaker Harman/Kardon audio system.
Also included for your $99k is the M Aerodynamics Package which adds Cerium Grey exterior trim, black chrome tailpipes embellishers, and roof-mounted wing. Extra high gloss Shadow Line exterior bits, Anthracite headliner, M leather steering wheel, and aluminium interior trim pieces are also present, all taken from the BMW Individual catalogue.
Being the range-topping X3, the M40i comes with BMW’s Driving Assistant Plus suite, adding active safety and convenience features such as Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go functionality, front cross-traffic warning, Lane Control Assistant, and Lane Keeping Assistant with Side Collision Warning.
- X3 sDrive20i - $66,900
- X3 xDrive20d - $69,900
- X3 xDrive30i - $76,900
- X3 xDrive30d - $84,900
- X3 M40i - $99,900