Ever get tired of your 260kW/500Nm mid-sized SUV and want more? Like, a lot more? You probably want a 500-plus horsepower BMW X3 M Competition, then. Or, if you fancy a smaller boot and paying more for the privilege, the X4 M Competition. But you’re going to need almost $160,000.
Before you read on, you can check out my review of X3 M40i to get an idea of how good the M might be.
What is it? What are they?
The X3 M Competition and its coupe-alike X4 sibling are basically the same
Well, technically there’s now four, but we don’t get either the M40d or X3/X4 M. We only get the Competition version because we’re speed snobs. Which is no bad thing.
There’s a suitably amped-up interior, with BMW’s front seat renaissance continuing. You can choose the
You get a ton of gear for your money, with adaptive LED headlights, heaps of safety equipment, 16-speaker sound system, huge sunroof (…why?) but for some reason you have to pay over $600 for Apple CarPlay.
As you are no doubt aware, the X3 M40i’s bonnet hides a B58 straight-six twin-scroll turbo. The X3 M, as is only right and proper, runs the S58.
Packing two single-scroll turbos, one looks after cylinders one to three, the other four to six. The upgrades mean the X3 M has a tarmac-ripping 375kW (510PS) and a huge 600Nm. It’s probably more than both of those figures, but that’s what BMW is telling us. Oh, and it redlines at 7200rpm and peak torque is available from 2600-5950rpm.
The S58 has a new cooling system, with one big radiator and two smaller wing-men behind the chunky new bumper arrangement. Along with a transmission oil cooler, there’s a fair bit going on to cope with the inevitable hammering. Quad exhausts hopefully deliver more of a racket than the M40i’s.
BMW reckons the X3 M was honed at the track so the sump is split into compartments with a trick pump that goes looking for the oil when it needs it. The crank is forged to save weight.
BMW’s x-Drive all-wheel drive system makes another appearance and is rear-biased. Also returning is the near-ubiquitous eight-speed ZF automatic.
Want to know how fast it is? 0-100km/h (0-62mph) is over in just 4.1 seconds. That’s, uh, pretty quick.
Oh, and BMW 3D prints the cylinder head core. There’s some pub trivia for you.
The xDrive system runs in rear-wheel drive mode until conditions – including how hard you punch the throttle – send some of the power to the front wheels via a multi-plate clutch pack in the central transfer case.
Drive modes include 4WD and 4WD Sport – M wasn’t game enough go with the RWD option in the M5.
They did, however, spend some time stiffening the shell, with a strut brace at the front and two A-shaped arms at the firewall. Longitudinal ties run down the car for yet more rigidity and there’s another lateral arm at the rear.
The suspension is beefed up with plenty of changes including stronger thrust arms, new anti-roll bar settings and adaptive damping.
Braking is by steel rotors with aluminium chambers. The drilled front discs are a massive 395mm gripped by four-pot
How much and when?
The X3 M will cost $157,900 plus on-roads and the X4 M $164,900 plus the rest. You should be able to get it in the third quarter of 2019. Dealers will probably take your money right now.
Peter Anderson is the Editor and founder of the theredline.com.au. He’s been writing about cars for years and finds it difficult to talk about anything else.