If BMW doesn’t sell more models than any other automaker then it’s pretty darn close. There are a dizzying array of body-styles and variants from which to choose but it’s this one here, the X3, that outsells them all. And now into in the 5th year of its 3rd generation, the 2022 X3 receives some notable updates.
The difference between a 248 horsepower X3 and one with 382 horsepower is the main reason this M40i model is the one to have. It’s not the range-topping X3M mind you but honestly, if it’s a quick, sporty, fun-to-drive SUV you’re looking for this M40i is more than adequate. All-wheel drive is standard for a starting MSRP of $58,795, about $12,000 more than an X3 xDrive30i. Yes, that’s a hefty premium and if you’re more into the show and less into the go the M40i’s performance upgrades will be lost on you but for those who get excited by a launch controlled 4.4 second 0-to-60mph time, sophisticated handling and racy sounds this is the one you’ll want. And the 3.0-liter turbo-6 gets a boost this year from a 48-volt battery that adds 11 horsepower of electric drive, contributing to the stellar acceleration. This setup also supports regen braking which helps to smooth out and extend the duration of the engine start/stop function when paused in traffic. With the M Sport Differential, real leather seating, the Premium Package and heated rear seats MSRP is $64,290 or an $876 per month lease. With phenomenal performance, the X3 M40i is the small SUV calling all drivers.
This here is a nearly $60,000 car; a small, all-wheel drive purple sports coupe just trying to make its way in an SUV-obsessed world. But, for those in the know – and you’re about to become one of them – this is the performance bargain of your sports car dreams. It’s the all-new BMW 2 Series and it’s beyond good…it’s addicting.
What was originally known as the 1 Series Coupe upon its arrival in 2008 became the 2 Series Coupe in 2014. And now for its second act, this 2022 redesign introduces sexy new styling, a dash of additional horsepower, stickier handling and a modern interior…oh, and this new color Thundernight Metallic…a $550 option that gets all the stares. This week, I’m skipping over the base 230i model and jumping right into the current top trim; the M240i xDrive. The former – a 4-cylinder rear-wheel setup – starts at under $40,000 making it the least expensive way to get into a BMW car while the latter- this all-wheel drive turbo-6 – starts at about $10 grand more. Now, my last spin in one of these came in 2017 in the small but mighty M2, a version expected to be reintroduced next year. As for this one, it’s quicker, significantly more fuel efficient and about the same price as that M2 so I can only imagine BMW has grand plans for its resurrection. Nevertheless this here is likely enough M for most. Though it’s 3.5” longer about 2.5” wider and a little over 200 pounds heavier than before, this is undoubtedly still a driver’s car with a low slung body, subcompact dimensions and a willingness to please as an Ultimate Driving Machine should. It’s arguably the purest form of BMW ethos in their lineup. Now, it is a shame you can’t currently get one like this without xDrive and with a stick shift but a rear-drive M240i will follow shortly. As for the manual it looks like you’ll have to wait for the M2 for that. As the 3 Series has matured beyond just a sports sedan the 2 Series has become the driver’s repository for attainable German driving enjoyment.
I’ve read some interesting takes lately posing the question, “have cars become too fast?” And while I think it’s a valid discussion it’s one for which BMW apparently has no appetite. Otherwise why would they take their fastest sedan and make it even more so? This is the outrageous, limited production BMW M5 CS.
You could go to a BMW dealership today and drive off in a 530i for $55 grand and be quite happy with your choice. Or, if you fancy yourself a real driver and have some coin there’s the $100,000 M5 waiting at the other end of the 5 Series rainbow. But maybe you’re the type who covets the crème de la crème; something few others can obtain. The kind who orders the Wagyu burger even though their palette would be satiated with a Whopper. And for you BMW is proud to present the M5 CS; the quickest and most powerful car they have ever produced, limited to one model year and sold mono spec other than the color and tire type. Assuming you could get a dealer to sell one at MSRP it costs $144,000 and for that you’ll be the proud owner of an M5 that’s .2 seconds quicker than the next highest performing Competition model clocking here a 0-to-60mph time under 3 seconds; 2.9 to be exact with launch control. Extensive use of carbon fiber reinforced plastic and superfluous stuff like sealing closed the center console contribute to a 230 pound weight reduction. Pirelli P Zero Corsa streetable track tires of staggered width are a no-cost option for the owner who plans on entering their cherished acquisition into competition. 627 horsepower, 553 pound-feet of torque and a top speed of 190 mph are just numbers on a sheet. More remarkable is how BMW reengineered an understated business sedan into one of the most impressive cars I’ve ever driven. This is fluid handling and blistering speed in a 4-door package that despite its significant capabilities could happily be driven every day if it wasn’t for these carbon bucket seats. I had my first go with these in the M3 Competition earlier this summer and though I understand their purpose – pulling you in like grandma’s hug – climbing over these high sides gets old really fast.
This is the next generation M3 Competition – a big bucks car that delivers the legendary M3 driving experience you covet just in a larger, more complete luxury sedan package. The drive is everything I thought it would be and more. I knew the ride would be firm, the power prodigious and the Steptronic transmission quicker than quick but the “more” part of this comes from the wide dynamic range. With all systems in comfort and the exhaust hushed, this is a compliant everyday cruiser. The wide performance tires make some noise otherwise the cabin is pretty quiet and at the other end the M3 is a handling machine with so much grip you’d think this was the upcoming all-wheel drive model. Speed builds so rapidly and the car is so tractable that it’s almost too good in the sense that driving it safely on public roads can feel a little mundane. It’s just crying out for a racetrack.
This is the highest non-full M model; the M440i with xDrive as standard. MSRP starts at just under $60,000. It’s a luxury performance car that delivers high levels of both attributes; it’s fast and fun while at the same time comfortable and techy. Its heart continues to beat with a 3.0-liter turbo-6 but one that yields significantly more; 382 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, allowing it put away 60mph 3/10ths of a second faster, now clocking an eye-opening 4.3 seconds assisted by launch control. With an additional 48-volt battery providing mild hybrid technology, this car’s mixed metal makeup tallies an extra 150 pounds versus the previous model but it feels even more athletic. With the benefit of extras such as the Adaptive M Suspension and High Performance Tire Pack, the M440i is a blast to drive with supreme road holding confidence, a cabin-infused with delightful sounds and the ability to rocket out of corners thanks to the M Sport Differential. A double push of the Sport button takes you to into Plus and it’s this setting where the car truly earns its moniker “The Ultimate Driving Machine.” The 8-speed auto is incredibly smart so using the paddle shifters isn’t even necessary to keep the gearbox in the sweet spot. The steering is quick and nicely weighted and the engine is extremely responsive, backed by some convincing sounds in the cabin and a chassis that’s willing to dance. The windshield is squinty but the leather sport buckets with adjustable side bolsters allow you to find an agreeable seating position that sits you low, closer to the car’s center of gravity for a feeling of greater connectedness. And there’s a head-up display to keep you focused on the road ahead. As for the ride quality? It’s exceptional no matter what mode you’re in. Combined with a quiet cabin and a long list of modern comfort features, the 4 can happily play serene and composed. Despite the additional power, the stellar gas mileage holds the line thanks to the mild-hybrid setup, earning 25mpg in mixed driving. If you’re down with the new styling, rest assured the rest of the 440i is going to make you very happy.