The first time I ever got to ride in a BMW was when I was twelve-years old and my older sister was dating a guy with a tricked out 1980s BMW 3 Series coupe. This BMW had the look of a lowrider and I could still remember the details vividly. It was painted candy apple red, sported roadster wire wheels, cloth seats, and an etching of a chola with a sobbing clown on the rear side window. It was badass.
In my mind I could easily go back to that time I sat on the backseat that was vibrating from the punching sound system that was playing “Sideways” by rapper E-40. Spending a week with a 2018 BMW X3 M40i reminded me of the first time I ever got to sit in a BMW. Here is a list of nine things that make the X3 M40i just as cool.
- Puddle Lights Design
Normally puddle lights illuminate the pavement with a manufacturer’s logo, however BMW took a different approach to their design. The X3 M40i’s design is a set of lines that curve at the end and these exact lines match the interior map lights and climate vents.
- Interior Aluminum Rhombicle Trim
Most people who are familiar with the BMW brand are keen on the interior’s upholstery: wood finish trim, beige or black SensaTec seats, and nowadays aluminum accents. My test vehicle had the gorgeous Cognac Vernasca leather upholstery and for added pop the Aluminum Rhombicle interior trim. As an alternative to the commonly known wood trim, BMW offers the Aluminum Rhombicle trim (a no cost option), which looks flawless and has a texture that is pleasing to the touch.
- M Performance Exterior Treatment
I believe rapper Gucci Mane once said “all this ice got me feeling aggressive” and with its M Performance macho appearance the X3 M40i shares that sentiment. The X3’s exterior M treatment includes an M40i badge, 19-inch double spoke bicolor wheels, blue-painted calipers, Black Chrome exhaust tips, Cerium Gray accent finishers (air flow gills, mirror caps, kidney grille, front air intakes), and high-gloss black roof rails. My tester sported the 20-inch wheels, but if I personally owned an M40i I’d go for the 21-inch Cerium Gray wheels. The M Performance package complements the 3.0-liter turbocharged engine under the hood that has 355-hp of cojones.
- Dynamic Digital Instrument Graphics
There is nothing special about a digital instrument cluster on the dashboard of luxury vehicles as this type of cluster is becoming customary. With that being said, the miniature X3 model graphics that are displayed on the M40i’s instrument when you start the engine or open a door are freakin’ adorable. Also, depending on the mode you drive in (Adaptive, Sport, Comfort, or Eco-Pro) the gauges display differently and change color.
- Exhaust Sound
Are those cherry bombs popping?! No, that’s just the vigorous sound of the almighty exhaust on the M40i and it sounds amazing for a luxury compact SUV. During my week- long stint in the M40i I really enjoyed starting the engine, accelerating, and driving in Sport+ mode just to hear the exhaust sound.
- Embossed Xs
When any of the four doors is opened an embossed “X” on the aluminum trim is visible and then hidden once a door is closed. Upon closer observation you will find the more secretive “X3” printed on the upper side of the B-pillar. Of all the modest details in the interior this embossed “X” was my favorite.
- 3D Surround View System
Are you worried that some stranger may be getting too close to your precious metal? Does it concern you that someone doing a sloppy parking job at the grocery store is about to hit your Bimmer and speed away? No need to worry 3D Surround View will keep you posted. This optional feature gives you a 360-degree glimpse of the current status of your vehicle and the surrounding area right from your smartphone with the BMW Connected App. I was only able to take advantage of this feature while parking and even though I am a superstar at parking 3D Surround View assisted me everywhere I parked.
- Interior Ambient Lighting
I have driven a number of cars from our fleet with this feature and seldom have I truly appreciated that extra elegance it adds to the interior. For my time with the X3 M40i I used the Lilac with lilac contour color setting and the soft tone illuminated the interior gracefully.
- BMW M Logo Valve Stem Caps
It’s the little things that count and on the M40i’s massive wheels it is that valve stem cap with the cute M Logo. If those don’t appeal to you, the BMW Roundel valve stem caps are another option.