BMW has decided to extend its nuclear-like performance SUV portfolio by introducing, for the first time, the full-fat M badge to its X3 and X4 model offerings to spawn the X3M and X4M respectively.
As though the news of that fabled M-badging finding its way to its medium SUV offering wasn’t enough, the BMW M Division has also announced that the ‘Competition’ derivatives will be launched ahead of the standard X3M and X4M variants, which is the exception to the rule thus far in its launch strategy.
Under the bonnet lives the most powerful straight-six-cylinder engine ever fitted to a BMW. The 3.0-litre twin-turbo engine produces a power output of 353 kW and 600 Nm for the garden variety variants, while the Competition derivative ups the power ante with an additional 22 kW to arrive at a rather interestingly familiar 375 kW. Yes, that figure also happens to be mustered by the Mercedes-AMG GLC 63S and the imminent Alfa Romeo Stelvio Q (the V bit has been dropped by the marque), both of which are direct rivals to the BMW duo.
The engine in the X3M and X4 M is coupled as standard to the 8-speed M Steptronic gearbox, while power is sent to all fours using the M xDrive that was first seen on the M5. As a result, BMW claims that the X3 and X4M performance siblings will rocket from standstill to 100 km/h in a brisk 4.2 seconds, while the Competition duo will shave 0.1 seconds from this time.
Interestingly, however, the directly comparable offering from Mercedes-AMG in the form of the GLC63 S is quoted to reach the benchmarking 100 km/h in 3.8 seconds, despite the heavier V8 bi-turbo bulk that powers Affalterbach’s performers. This begs the question, though, of whether BMW might be slightly under-quoting its newest M models? The answer should be verified soon after the Bavarian models launch here in the fourth quarter of this year.
The BMW X3/X4 M Competition will come standard with all the M detailing you’d expect, from the high-gloss black grille surround to 21” M-specific alloy wheels and exhaust system, while on the inside you can expect M Sport seats wrapped in Merino leather.
Furthermore, it also comes with LED headlights, a ConnectedDrive navigation and infotainment package and several driver assistance systems – some of which we expect to be very similar to the seamless lane-keep and adaptive cruise control we have seen on the X5 that allows for what is essentially semi-autonomous driving.
According to the carmaker, both the X3M and X4M Competition models will arrive locally in the fourth quarter of 2019, when local price stickers will also be divulged, while the standard M models are earmarked to arrive in SA early in 2020.
Report by DRIVEN EDITORIAL | Images © BMW SOUTH AFRICA