Test Drive Notes Library
- Quick and sporty. Just because your butt isn’t scraping the pavement, don’t assume this thing doesn’t drive like a sports car. Think of the X4M40i as a sports car for people with lumbar issues and kids. And hedge fund salaries. It’s very quick, and it handles as well as some better sports sedans. Step on the gas on a tightening radius highway ramp, and this 4,000 pound crossover stays flat and just grips—and quickly rides up on the bumper of the ’05 Camry in front of you. It’s impressive. There’s also a “Sport" setting that changes the shift points and tightens up the whole experience.
- 8-speed automatic transmission. The transmission used in higher end BMWs is still one of the smoothest, quickest shifting, always-seems-to-be-in-the-right-gear-est automatic transmissions on the market.
- Braking. The brakes on the M40i are excellent. It's a 4,000 pound vehicle with a big engine, yet stopping is quick and sure.
- Relative Comfort. Given the sports car handling, you might think that the ride in the X4 would be punishing. It’s not. It is decidedly firm. But Dynamic Damper Control gives you a lot of the best of both worlds, allowing the suspension to be set for handling, while absorbing bumps and potholes very well. Our test version came with optional 20 inch wheels. The standard 19's will probably improve the ride. Seat comfort is also excellent.
- Practicality. OK, the fastback design makes it not as practical, in terms of interior space, as a squared off X3. But still… it’s got a lot of versatility. Four doors plus a hatch. It’s like an old Saab 900 that spent the last five years pumping iron and taking human growth hormone.
- Height. Give crossovers credit. They’re seat height makes them easy to get in and out of, and provides a good view of the road ahead, letting you see right over the Prius in front of you — at least to the back of the next crossover in front of the Prius.
- Heads Up Display. Particularly useful when used with the navigation system. Keeps your eyes on the road, and the driving instructions at the same time.
Test Drive Notes Library
- Exhaust noise. The X4M40i comes with a loud, snarling, burbling, exhaust noise. We don’t know if it’s “enhanced” electronically, as many are these days, or au natural. But it’s fatiguing. Why not just enhance the exhaust when it’s in sport mode, and make the car reasonably quiet in comfort mode, for commuting? Let us turn off the boy racer sound so we can have a little peace.
- Price. The M40i starts at $58,000. That makes it a bit insulting to have to spend $400 for a rear view camera, and another $750 to make that camera a surround view (highly recommended). Cars costing a third of that price have those things standard. Then you have to pay $300 for Apple Car Play. Automatic emergency braking is part of a $2000 option package (we consider it mandatory). Finally, when adding options, you have to choose between the cold weather package (heated seats and steering wheel), and the package that includes blind spot monitoring. So you can either be safe and have cold hands, or have warm hands until you change lanes into a UPS truck. Seems like an odd choice to force consumers to make, especially when our test car lists at $67,500, and has no blind spot monitoring or automatic emergency braking. Granted, our hands stayed warm. Cars costing a third that price have blind spot monitoring now. There’s no reason that a $67K luxury car shouldn’t come standard with every modern safety feature.
- Bluetooth Black Hole. Several times we got into a bluetooth black hole, where our phone was paired with the BMW’s infotainment system, but then, because we plugged it in via the USB port to charge, the system got confused and refused to play phone sound via bluetooth or USB. The only way to remedy the situation was to shut off the engine, and restart the car.
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