BMW’s M Division has already worked over the X5 and X6 SUVs, creating the high-performance X5 M and X6 M, and is now reportedly turning its attention to the smaller X3. A go-fast BMW X3 M will launch in 2012, according to a report from Car Magazine.
M Division is apparently planning to expand its reach to all BMW X models except the smallest X1 SUV. Whereas the larger X5 M and X6 M employ a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8, Car predicts the X3 M will feature a tri-turbocharged 3.2-liter inline-six. Yes, three turbochargers: two traditional exhaust-driven turbos, plus an electric one. This is the first inkling we’ve heard about an electric turbocharger from BMW, so it could simply be the wishful thinking of engineers -- or Car -- at this point.
Power from the new engine is a claimed 449 hp, a deficit of 106 ponies versus the larger M SUVs, but as the X3 is smaller and lighter than those vehicles, it should prove more than adequate. For reference, the gutsiest 2011 X3 currently on sale here is the X3 xDrive35i, which touts 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque produced by a twin-turbocharged, 3.0-liter inline-six. BMW says it can run from 0 to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds.
If an X3 M does indeed materialize, its most obvious competitor would be the Audi Q5 S. Although there’s no official confirmation of a hotter Q5 from Audi, spy photos lead us to believe that Ingolstadt is readying a version of the SUV with the supercharged V-6 engine found in models like the Audi S4. It could offer anywhere from 272 hp to 333 hp.
Car also notes that the next-generation X5 M and X6 M will receive engine tweaks that improve power from 555 hp to 564 hp, while reducing fuel consumption by 10 to 15 percent. There’s no explanation for the horsepower increase, but we certainly wouldn’t complain if the bump comes to fruition.
Source: Car Magazine