The 2020 BMW X3 and X4 M Arrive with up to 503 HP
Their powerful twin-turbo six likely will slot into the next M3 and M4, too.
After 16 model years, the BMW X3 finally receives the full-fat M treatment in the form of the 2020 BMW X3 M. It is naturally being joined by an X4 M, too, and as an added bonus, BMW announced both of these rocket crossovers will be offered in Competition-spec soon after launch.
Much like the M models of the larger X5 and X6, the formula is simple: take a family friendly SUV and turn it sinister with the addition of more power and more capable hardware. To that end, the new compact M SUVs mark the debut of BMW's new S58 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline-six, and it stumps up a mighty 473 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque in standard spec. Wait a bit longer and pay a bit more for the Competition, and power jumps to 503 horses. Perhaps even more important is that this engine is almost definitely the powerplant for the forthcoming G20-generation M3 sedan and M4 coupe, and will therefore stick around quite a while. Additionally, keen observers may note this output is right in the same range as Mercedes-AMG's GLC63 and GLC63 S, as well as the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio.
All this gumption is managed by the standard ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission. A rear-biased all-wheel-drive system is standard, as is an M-specific active rear differential that only sends power to the front wheels when traction demands it. Much like the current M5's AWD system, drivers can switch into M Dynamic mode and then into M Drive 4WD Sport, which directs as little power to the front as possible, encouraging "controlled drifts." It's not quite the same as the M5's incredible "2WD" mode which completely decouples power from the front wheels, but it's nice to know the engineers at BMW still like to have some fun when picking up the kids.
With all this extra power and trick AWD system, performance is unsurprisingly excellent. The zero-to-60-mph sprint is stated to take only 4.1 seconds in base spec and 4.0 seconds in the Competition. Top speed? Well, it depends. Regular X3/X4 Ms top-out at 155 mph, but an optional M Driver's package nudges the Vmax to 174 mph. In Competitions, you'll see an indicated 177 mph before it runs into the limiter.
Of course, the twins are outfitted with buckets of additional performance-oriented weaponry and gadgets to make sure they stay shiny side up. Both have an M Adaptive suspension offering Comfort, Sport, and Sport+ settings, along with bushings, bearings, and structural reinforcements unique to the twins and shared between them. Shortly after launch, an underhood brace can be upgraded to a carbon-reinforced plastic unit in August. Differences between the regular and Competition models are limited to unique anti-roll bars for each variant.
BMW futzed with the electric steering motor to sharpen response, while the brakes now feature beefier 15.6-inch rotors slowed by four-piston calipers in the front and 14.6-inchers in the back grabbed by a single-piston caliper. There's an electronically adjustable exhaust as well, along with a M Sport exhaust standard on the Competition.
Visually, it's exactly as you might expect, with a larger, more aggressive front fascia and rear lower valence. The X3 and X4 Ms wear all-new 20- and 21-inch wheelsets at all four corners, depending on which trim you choose. If you peek around back, there's a hatch-mounted spoiler, the first time an X3 or X4 has been fitted with such a piece.
No surprises inside, either. Non-Competitions arrive with standard Sport seats, with the grippier and less compromising M Sport seats of the Competition being optional on regular versions. Aluminum, carbon-fiber, and Alcantara trim is scattered around the cabin, which also gets M-specific digital gauges and performance displays.
This is exactly what we'd imagined the X3 M and X4 M to be in terms of specs, performance, and looks. We may not be surprised, but we're pleased such wacko vehicles exist, even if hi-po SUVs are almost prosaic at this point in time. Production begins in April of this year, with sales to start shortly thereafter we imagine. No pricing has yet been announced.