My 2021 BMW X3 M40i: Pros & cons after 1 year & 21,000 km

The ride quality is pretty good but my wife thinks that it’s on the harder side. She keeps on comparing it with that of the Mazda CX-9.

BHPian mobike008 recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Here is a feeble attempt at compiling a list of positives and negatives of my Blau Rakete after completing 1 year and 13,000 miles (21,000kms).

Well, these are personal opinions and I do tend to go a little overboard with emotions especially if something really touches my heart & soul as this one did.

These pointers are not in any order/sequence but penned based on what occurred to the mind. I hope to hear with feedback/opinions of other B58 owners on the forum (There are quite a few BHPians who own this engine in form of M340i and X3M40i).


  • Let’s begin with the heart of the matter; Engine (Code Name: B58) which is a 3.0L, in-line 6-cylinder powerful, creamy, high-revving and versatile engine. Some journalists/enthusiasts claim this to be the “Best Engine” BMW has ever produced to date (Source: Please read the article at the end of this post).
  • As quoted in this article, horsepower-wise this engine feels a lot more powerful in real-world applications, maybe 100HP more as the article quotes. I had this feeling right from the beginning of my ownership.
  • Personally experienced this multiple times. We visit Boston (Sis’s abode) almost once a quarter and I usually take charge of her car which is a BMW X5 50i, V8 engine with 445 horsepower that feels powerful in isolation. When I come back home and drive my car, there is a marked difference.
  • X3 M40i feels a lot more powerful than X5 50i (Weight non-withstanding). Power comes in like floodwater rushing out of dam gates. It’s relentless, brutal and scary (especially Sports +). For normal road use, if you are not paying attention and in Sports+ mode, it can turn disastrous. Hence, I use this mode only when I am fully attentive and in the mood for some serious fun.
  • Torque is instantaneous irrespective of the gear, speed or drive mode. (Sports and Sports +, shifts are a lot more instantaneous).
  • Gearshifts are butter smooth and again blisteringly quick and it’s common knowledge this pairing (Engine & Transmission) is one of the best (if not the best in the industry). Be it in automatic mode or the paddle-shift mode the shifts are quick. I generally use paddle shifts in mountains or curvy roads as there is a lot more control and you can push the car better into the corners. Don’t ask me what paddle shifters do to gas mileage!
  • Steering feel is very nice and direct. It’s better than base version X3 but has scope for improvements. I like the steering feel best in Sports and above. This feeling gets diluted a bit
 in eco-pro mode (Despite me configuring it to sports settings) and feels a little vaguer.
  • Exhaust Note- Half the thrill of driving this car is due to its exhaust note. During cold starts, sometimes my neighbors if they passing close-by, jump out of their skin as the sound is really 
loud. Also, the biggest thrill of driving this car is the pops and crackle in Sports and Sports + mode, a sound that makes me chuckle hard and make me love this car harder.
  • X3 is quite roomy from the inside (As against my better half’s feeling) and the sunroof enhances this roomy effect. With the sunroof open on a sunny day, it feels like looking out of an aquarium.
  • Love the plush cognac interiors and carbon fiber trim - luxurious and makes me feel like some rich mogul.
  • Technology in the car is flawless and everything works like it's intended.

Some of my favorite features include:

  • Wireless CarPlay (Seamless connection between iPhones, AirPods, Powerbeats etc).
  • Adaptive Headlights (Very useful as the lights fall ahead even before the steering turns).
  • BMW Navigation (In some cases, it has a lot more details than G-Maps and Apple Maps).
  • Gesture Control (I’m so used to it now, I doubt if I can live without it!).
  • 18-way Seat Support (I find so many new positions that are comfortable).
  • Touchscreen is very responsive and works like a charm.
  • HUD for Maps and Music (Crisp, Bright and Height Adjustable).
  • Instrument Cluster is versatile and can be configured to show maps, music and other features.
  • ID7 for its crisp display and features.
  • A football kick below the boot to open & close the tailgate is super helpful for us folks in the US as we are perennially grocery shopping.
  • Touch to open and close all doors with the facility to include/exclude boot open as part of this process is another nice feature.
  • Safety features like Auto Brake, BSP, 360-degree camera functions ensures peace of mind driving experience.


  • For big guys (I’m 6.1 with a large frame), the seating position is not super comfortable. The driving position is cocooned and gives you a race-car driving type of feel with side bolsters curving up to ensure you take corners better without your body rolling too much. Feels great for cornering but, not the most comfortable for long drives.
  • 19” wheels and Pirelli RF’s aren’t the best. After clocking 13K miles, these tyres don’t perform as good as when they were new. This car has so much potential to be driven hard but this wheel size and RF combination are not suited for hard-driving as it squeals a lot coming out of corners (555 Drive, Smoky Mountains and My recent 3,300 miles trip firmly made me decide to upgrade to better rubber soon).
  • I feel 20” and non-RF good rubber can completely transform this beast without compromising too much on ride quality. It remains to be seen if I will stick to 19” and just get good rubber or will upgrade the wheels as well.
  • Wireless Charger- It’s just a fancy item and not worth the money. Gets hot fast, charges slow.
  • Gas Mileage- I should not be complaining but, this car has such a wide range of MPG that it shocks me. If I drive in Eco-Pro mode (Just guessing its power is dialed down to regular X3 power with 250bhp), I get a fantastic MPG of 26-27mpg. However, the moment I decide to have some fun, it drastically drops to the 17-18mpg range. Gas is getting pretty expensive here and it made me cringe when I look at gas prices (Premium-91RON) in California to be $5.50/gallon or above. Otherwise, here in Seattle, it’s in the $4.25/gallon range which isn’t cheap either.
  • Ride is pretty good but my wife thinks it’s on the harder side. She keeps comparing with Mazda CX-9 and highlights at every given chance that X3 is such a small car and is a tad tight inside. I nod my head and “act” as if I sympathize and agree with her observations. I can tell you America spoils you (with respect to sizes & spaces).

Let me wrap up by sharing this article on the B58 engine. A balanced article that compares this engine with other OEM engines that are offered in much more expensive sports cars

Final Words

This is a deceptively fast car which BMW disguised as a compact SAV. And, here is to something that I never wished for any of the long lists of cars that I owned to date, I would love to keep this car forever!

A few random pictures of Blau Rakete over the period of 13,000 miles.

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