The BMW X3, along with its German rivals, primarily dominate the compact luxury SUV market. It’s a cutthroat segment in which auto manufacturers need to stay ahead of the curve to be relevant. So for the 2022 model year, the BMW X3 received a few mid-cycle updates (LCI, Life Cycle Impulse as BMW calls it) to keep it top of mind for consumers.
Engine – The engine in this M40i trim of the BMW X3 was actually updated last year. It is a 3.0L inline-6 that can produce 382 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque (284 kW & 500 Nm). It produces enough grunt to get the 1,992 ks (4,392 lbs) body to 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds. The peak torque is reached at a very low 1,800 rpms which helps the X3 accelerate from a stop like as though it was fired out o f a cannon. While this is not a full-fledged M model, it has more than enough power for most SUV buyers’ needs.
Fuel Economy – This is also a pretty economical engine. It is rated for 11.2 L/100km (21 MPG) in a city and 9.1 L/100km (25.8 MPG) on a highway. During my time with the 2022 BMW X3 M40i, I averaged 11 L/100km (21.4 MPG). It was difficult to get it lower because the engine sounded pretty good in Sport Plus mode.
The inline-6 engine is this fuel efficient yet powerful because of the mild-hybrid system that aids it. It’s a 48-volt system, so you cannot drive the car on electricity alone, and it aids the engine with a bit of power at low rpms or before the turbocharger spools up to provide the bulk of the power. It can also shut off the engine just before arriving at a complete stop to save that little bit of extra fuel. As well, if you put the X3 M40i into Eco Pro mode, it will shut off the engine for brief periods while coasting. This allows the X3 to coast further without any engine braking to slow it down and of course, not using any fuel. The engine will immediately turn back on when you touch the throttle pedal or apply enough braking force.
Transmission – The 2022 BMW X3 M40i comes equipped with a ZF 8-speed automatic transmission. This is one of, if not the best, automatic transmissions on the market right now. In Comfort mode, the shifts between gears are seamless. In Sport mode, they are nearly as quick as the shifts in a dual-clutch transmission. This 8-speed doesn’t hesitate, it always chooses the correct gear for the driving situation and you can easily control it via the paddle shifters on the steering wheel.
Braking – The 4-piston front calipers provide the bulk of the stopping force and there is a lot of it. For some the brake pedal may feel a bit too sensitive but once you get used to the tremendous braking force, it becomes easy to modulate the brake pedal for smooth stops.
Handling – This is the X3 M40i’s party piece. In Sport Plus mode, the adaptive dampers firm up to the point where body roll is very minimal. This gives you the confidence to really push the X3 M40i around corners. The sharp steering is extremely responsive even to the most minute steering inputs from the driver. On a twisting and winding road, the 2022 BMW X3 M40i feels akin to a sports sedan rather than an SUV.
Ride Comfort – Unlike its closest rival, the Mercedes-Benz GLC 43 AMG, the 2022 BMW X3 M40i does not have air suspension. As such, the ride is noticeably firmer than that of the GLC 43. It’s not back breakingly bad but it is a bit too jittery over poorly maintained roads, even in Comfort mode.
Interior Space – The BMW X3 M40i has a generous amount of space for front occupants. At 6’4”, I have plenty of room for my tall body with room to spare. In the back seats, my knees do touch the back of the front seat behind my tall driving position but they’re not overly squished. The seat-backs can also recline a bit.
Trunk space identical to that of the Mercedes GLC. 550 L (19.4 cu-ft) with the rear seats up and 1,600 L (56.5 cu-ft) with the 2nd row folded.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – There are no squeaks or rattles inside the BMW X3. It feels well put together even as you drive over poorly maintained roads. There is a noticeable amount of road noise at highway speeds but it’s not more so than some of its other German rivals. In Sport mode, the engine makes some nice noises with a few burbles as you let off the throttle but some of the engine’s noises are pumped through the audio system.
Odds and Ends
Pricing – The 2022 BMW X3 M40i starts at $68,000 CAD ($57,800 USD). This particular demo vehicle has a price of $82,040 CAD ($64,995 USD) but it is not fully loaded. There are still a few stand-alone features that can be optioned.
Gadgets – Some of the other features that are missing from this demo vehicle are ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, BMW Laser headlights, M-Sport differential, and a few exterior design cues such as red brake calipers and black kidney grilles.
But other than those convenience features, this X3 M40i has everything that one would need and want from a luxury SUV. One major interior change for the 2022 model year is the larger infotainment touchscreen. It is now 12.3-inches in diameter but the infotainment system remains the same. Pretty straightforward to use if you have some similarity with BMW vehicles, even old ones, but if not, it’s quick and easy to learn.
Interior Design – Apart from the larger touchscreen as well as a similarly sized driver digital display, the interior design of the 2022 X3 remains relatively unchanged for the model year. It has a perfect blend of touchscreen and physical buttons to control every aspect of the vehicle. One other small change is with the center console controls and gear selector. It is now the same style as many other BMW vehicles and full disclosure, I almost didn’t recognize the change because it is identical to other BMW cars.
Exterior Design – The most obvious change for the 2022 BMW X3 is the exterior styling. The front bumper has new, sharp edges just below the kidney grille. Around the back, the taillights are now reminiscent of a Halo energy sword and the bumper has also been tweaked. Also, the exhaust pipes are real! Those are not fake tips.
Warranty – All BMW vehicles are covered by a 4 year / 80,000 km new vehicle warranty in Canada. In the United States, it’s 4 years or 50,000 miles. For more information on Canadian BMW warranty, click here. For information on USA warranty information, click here.
Conclusion – As a driver’s SUV, the updated 2022 BMW X3 M40i is a fantastic piece of machine. It drives like how a BMW should drive and it feels like a regular sedan rather than a cumbersome SUV. It’s not the most comfortable compact luxury SUV out there, the GLC 43 AMG’s ride is a bit more forgiving. However, for those that have a family but don’t want to give up the joy of driving an exciting vehicle, this BMW X3 M40i blends the two worlds very well.
Thank you to BMW Canada for providing the vehicle. www.BMW.ca