Like all vehicles assigned to staff photographers, miles start piling on as soon as we take possession. Our 2018 BMW X3 M40i is no exception, and so far we’re averaging almost 3,000 miles a month. During the last routine trip to the dealer, my service adviser gawked after realizing I was just there two months ago with 8,000 less miles. “I drive a lot for work,” I explained. He responded, “At least you get to do it in that sweet X3.” He was right. Gobbling up miles of tarmac is a breeze, and once the kid in me got over the M40i’s potent powertrain I started to appreciate the X3’s other features.
Features that I thought were gimmicky and frivolous have become part of the way I interact with the car on a daily basis. I constantly use gesture control to skip songs and adjust volume. I’ve gotten so used to it that I unconsciously try it in other cars and subsequently feel dumb when I realize I’m not in the X3. Comfort Access, which allows hands-free operation of the tailgate by kicking your foot underneath the rear bumper, came in handy countless times. I was skeptical about Bluetooth-connected Apple CarPlay, convinced USB would be more reliable, but my phone consistently connects as soon as I get in. Paired with wireless charging, I can’t even be bothered with plugging my phone in anymore.
Other features like automatic high-beams, rain-sensing wipers, Surround View camera system, active cruise control, to name a few, just add to the overall convenience. Sure, you can get similar features elsewhere, but as simple as it sounds, everything just works as intended. Once everything’s set to your preferences, you can just hop in and easily log a few hundred miles without a second thought.
One feature I could do without is the overeager engine stop/start. It often shuts the engine off while the car is still slowly rolling, causing abrupt stops at red lights since the engine is no longer ‘pushing’ against the brakes at the last 3 mph. That gets switched off as soon as I get in, mpg be damned!
Read more about our long-term 2018 BMW X3 M40i:
- Update 1: The Switcheroo
- Update 2: M Means More
- 2018 BMW X3 M40i: 9 Cool Features on the Sporty Crossover
- Update 3: Not an Ultimate Reliability Machine
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