By Asian Journal Auto Editor
Based on the Bavarian company’s X3 CUV, BMW’s M (Motorsport) performance division have basically taken the usually mild – mannered X3 CUV and given it a double dose of the M treatment with a low-key, but unmistakable look and performance. Our test X3 M Competition vehicle looked all business; elegant, yet scarily precise and sinister in grey paint. An exclusive exterior trim package, comprising of a high gloss black signature kidney grille, mirror caps, and side vents are for starters, plus larger front air inlets, and the huge wheels all denote the Competition package. It means speed, power and efficiency.
And there is not just some warmed-over engine with a mild power increase under the hood, instead the BMW X3 M Competition receives the all new S58 engine, a very high-performance M TwinPower Turbo straight-six unit good for 503 horsepower. No, that’s not a misprint! You read that right- a stonking 303 horsepower with 442 lb-ft. of torque in this mid -size CUV. It’s fast too! BMW says the race track proven X3 M Competition steroid induced X3 will go very, very fast. In fact, with a zero to 100 km/h sprint in as little as 4.1 seconds.
The transmission is a meticulously engineered ZF sourced eight-speed M Steptronic gearbox combined BMW’s M xDrive with Active M differential that’s rear-biased. The setup also has a 4WD Sport configuration in favor of the rear wheels. The X3 M Competition also has the requisite anchors for braking performance, namely huge 15-inch brake discs, with fetching blue calipers.
Pricing of the 2020 BMW X3 M starts at $82,700, with the M Competition model starting at a heady $93,000 thank to the engine and performance upgrades. Our tester came with the Premium Package ($3,300), that included: Side Sunshades. Ventilated Front Seats, Seat Heating, Front and Rear Parking Assistant Plus w/Surround View, Wireless Charging with Extended Bluetooth and USB and WiFi Hotspot. Also added was the Carbon Fibre Trim ($850), and Ambient Air Package ($500), comes with an as-tested price of $99, 650 plus destination charge and taxes.
The BMW X3 M Competition interior is stunning. Interior lighting trim pieces, design, fit and finish plus materials is top grade. Our tester featured a stitched, quilted effect on the rich caramel brown and black seats, and a bevy of special M performance goodies and dedicated trim such as the steering wheel, dill plates, carbon fibre trim and some inspiring touches including contoured sports seat with cool illuminated lighted M logo in the headrest. There is a beautiful blue and red stitching around the chunky steering wheel, a nod to the BMW’s Motorsport racing heritage. Those high bolstered seats may be a bit firm for some, but offer superb lateral support in hard cornering and come with both heating and cooling functions. The rear seats are also heated courtesy of the Premium package option. The interior still has the X3’s very good packaging, with numerous storage, bins, trays and nooks. Rear cargo room is rated up there with best in class.
Starting up the X3 M Competition lets loose a thrilling , rumbling crackle and pop of an exhaust note- Let’s not forget there is over 500 horsepower waiting to be unleashed, and that Banshee wail of the M Sport exhaust system that can be altered up by engaging in Sport and Sport+ driving modes. On road performance – is in a word amazing. Stab the throttle and the X3 moves like its hitting hyperspace on the Millennium Falcon., the world just goes by in blur The shove in the back acceleration can pin your to the seat, should you be frivolous, but the blinding acceleration is tempered by the amazing brakes that are needed on a CUV that moves so fast. The four-wheel drive system makes the tires stick to the corners, but the superb grip is not at the cost of super -harsh ride. BMW M’s special suspension tuning, and a quick ratio steering endows the X3 M Competition with the handling prowess of a M series sedan. The ZF transmission is a sublime and beautifully precise, fast unit while paddle shifters allow for a manual mode and have fun making use of the phenomenal torque. Down sides are few, the Lane Keeping system is a pain, the gear shift pattern odd and of, course you have to pony up almost $100,000 because that is the price of entry to the X3 M Competition. Is it worth it? Imagine getting up every day and looking at it on your driveway- saying mine! mine! Of course it’s worth it!
2020 BMW X3 M Competition: base priced from $93,000. As tested price of $99, 650 with options plus destination charge and taxes. Website: www.bmw.ca