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2018 BMW X3: First Impressions In, M40i Corners Like A Champ

On paper, the third-generation BMW X3 has plenty going for it, and with the higher-performance M40i leading the pack, it should give Audi SQ5 buyers pause.

A sportier than ever X3 should also prove equipped at challenging other driver-focused crossovers such as the Porsche Macan or the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, although there's a lot more to the X3 than just improved driving dynamics.

Inside, BMW's improvements become quickly obvious. Its larger wheelbase allows for more room, while its quality and tech-ridden cabin is said to be among the top in the segment.

Of course, if you're mostly interested in seeing the all-new 2018 X3 at its best, you'll probably want to go for the M40i version, the first-ever M Performance model to be featured in the X3's lineup. It seems like every single person who's driven it thus far has come away impressed - or at least those who expressed their opinions on YouTube have. It's the most fun to drive, the engine is engaging and it's reported to be really good on the twisty bits.

The M40i puts down 360 PS (355 HP) and 500 Nm (369 lb-ft) of torque, which gets you from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 4.8 seconds. That's what you might call "in-your-face fast", seen as how the Audi SQ5 needs 5.4 seconds with similar power and torque figures. The X3 M40i is also quicker on paper than the Porsche Macan GTS (also 360 PS / 500 Nm) and the Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 (367 PS / 520 Nm), although some reviewers did mention how the X3 doesn't quite feel as agile as the Macan overall.

As for other models in the new X3's range, there were plenty of positives mentioned for the 20d xDrive and 30d xDrive models as well, the latter proving quite capable when accelerating in a straight line thanks to its 265 PS (261 HP) and 620 Nm (457 lb-ft) of torque, enough for a 5.8 seconds sprint to 100 km/h (62 mph).

In the end, the general consensus is that the new BMW X3 manages to build on what the old model was all about, in the sense that it's bigger and better, which is a good starting point in a segment as competitive as this.