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Car of the Year Awards 2021: Best sports SUV for families

If you’d really like to be driving a sports car but can’t compromise on practicality, a sports SUV is just the ticket. The best are fun to drive, with scintillating pace and agile, entertaining h...

If you’re putting family and not outright performance or handling first, we’d recommend taking a long, hard look at the BMW X3 M40i.

There’s plenty of space up front for a pair of tall adults, while a pair of gangly teenagers can sit behind them in perfect comfort. Seating a third passenger back there isn’t an ordeal, either, especially with standard three-zone climate control, so those in the back can pick their own temperature.

The boot is large enough to swallow eight carry- on suitcases – well up on what a Porsche Macan can take – while a flat floor with virtually no lip makes loading easier, and there’s handy underfloor storage.

BMW X3 M40i - interior

The turbocharged six-cylinder engine is refined when you’re cruising and a tuneful powerhouse when you’re not, while crisp handling with little body lean is the pay-off for a slightly firm ride.

True, the X3 can’t seat seven like the Audi SQ7 can, but the latter is less fun to drive and much pricier to buy and run. Despite hefty CO2 emissions, the M40i is capable of more than 30mpg on a gentle run.

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Read about more Car of the Year 2021 winners >>