The mid-sized SUV models are being offered with a hotter Competition variant, and pack a new twin-turbo inline-six engine. They're pretty damn quick, too.
BMW M GmbH has revealed the first-ever X3 M and X4 M, complete with more powerful Competition variants, ahead of an Australian arrival during the second half of 2019.
First up, power. The X3 M and X4 M twins both house a twin-turbo inline-six under the bonnet, making 353kW and 600Nm. Jumping to the M Competition – that's right, there's a Competition – boosts that power output to a whopping 375kW. Trainspotters will notice the AMG GLC 63 S also makes 375kW. Hmmmm.
According to M, the engine is a new unit. It has a forged crankshaft, along with a cylinder head manufactured – in part – using 3D printing. Both turbochargers are single-scroll units, with each supplying compressed air to cylinders 1-3 and 4-6 respectively. It's hooked up to an eight-speed automatic, which in turn feeds all four wheels.
Peak power comes in at 6250rpm and sticks around until the 7200rpm redline, while peak torque is available at just 2600rpm. As a result, the X3 M will hit 100km/h in just 4.2 seconds with the standard power output, and 4.1 seconds with the Competition package.
Although it's all-wheel drive, BMW is at pains to highlight the fact the X3 and X4 M aren't running a conventional 50/50 system. Instead, they're running with the M xDrive setup from the M5, albeit without the ability to fully decouple the front axle.
A central differential shuffles power between the front and rear axle, while there's an active M Differential on hand to better distribute power between the rear wheels. BMW says the cars will pull 'controlled drifts' and demonstrate 'particularly playful handling' when switched into 4WD Sport mode, while offering bags of traction when the driver isn't feeling particularly adventurous.
Regardless of whether you stump for the Competition, the X3 M and X4 M will ride on adaptive dampers with three settings. The suspension is specific to the M models, as is the electrically-assisted steering rack. In keeping with the theme, there are bigger brakes than you get on the M40i.
Beyond all the mechanical stuff, the engineers at M have been rather subdued on the styling front. There's a more aggressive bumper up front, with gaping outboard air intakes and a bigger intake below the kidney grille.
The side skirts have been extended, the rear diffuser made more aggressive and the exhaust pipes swapped for quads, but there isn't really all that much to separate the M models from their more mundane brethren – especially in the case of non-Competition variants.
Speaking of the Competition, it gets blacked-out trim elements on the exterior and edgier 21-inch alloy wheels to replace the chrome brightwork of the base model. An optional carbon package will be offered from August 2019 in Europe, adding the trim pieces made of the lightweight weave to the front end, air blades, diffuser and mirror caps.
Behind the wheel, drivers are faced with an M steering wheel, complete with the same M1 and M2 preset buttons offered on the M5. There are racier bucket seats than standard, along with the usual array of M add-ons like a red start button, an M gearstick and special badging.
The full range of BMW's semi-autonomous safety features, including cruise control with stop/go, autonomous emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assist and lane-departure warning, will be offered.
BMW is expecting the X3 and X4 M to arrive in the second half of 2019. Although not confirmed, the current BMW M line-up (along with the way its rivals at AMG have arranged their line-up) would suggest we'll only see the Competition variants. Stay tuned.