BMW exposes X3 and X4 M to the world

Yes, yes, you may have already seen the X3 and X4 M elsewhere before now. Truth be told we were hoping this was all some horrible dream, putting off confronting it before accepting the inevitable. You didn't get that job, they're not replying to that text, BMW is going to build fully fledged M versions of the X3 SUV and X4 SAC. But look, see, they're on the Nurburgring, which makes them sporty and stuff.

Following the manifestly gigantic success of the larger X5 and X6 M - heaven help us - BMW has decided to concentrate the recipe into the smaller stablemates. At present the cars are described as being at "an early stage of their development phase", though there are a few tell tale signs - plus some details from BMW - about both cars to whet the appetite. If, indeed, that is the right phrase.

Both X3 and X4 M will use a "newly developed" turbo'd straight-six engine, boasting "high-revving characteristics". The phrasing is very similar to as used for the current M3 and M4 reveal; given that S55 3.0-litre twin-turbo has just been made WLTP compliant in the M4 (though not the M3), we'd expect the X3 and X4 to use and evolution of that engine. That said, there's no mention of transmission yet; the M3/M4 duo were of course offered with manual and DCT options, though it would be a surprise to find the X3/X4 using such focused gearbox choices - the eight-speed auto seems more likely. Could the engine be made to work with the gearbox? Might it simply use an evolution of the 40i straight-six and auto, as found in the ranges already? To be confirmed...

Both models will use the M xDrive tech as first seen in the M5, designed for "extremely dynamic handling characteristics." BMW's very clever M differential will also feature on the rear axle, with the promise of cornering behaviour "lifted to a level unrivalled within the competitive environment." Crikey. Wonder if they'll have a drift mode?

Besides that, there's confirmation of some typically 'M' styling tweaks, including but not limited to four exhaust pipes, larger intakes and new wheels. Expect to see a few more of those emerge as the disguise is gradually peeled away.

A launch date has not yet been announced for the X3 and X4 M; given the apparently insatiable demand for all things SUV, SAV and SAC, expect them sooner rather than later.BMW typically makes a big deal of its home motor shows, but the next Frankfurt show is a year away; LA would suit perfectly, but is only a matter of weeks away now. Therefore Geneva next March might be the best bet, though don't be surprised to see it sooner. More details as we have them...


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Comments (217) Join the discussion on the forum

  • chazwozza 11 Sep 2018

    Can't even be bothered to read it. Coming to a school run near you because of the badge soon.

  • Helicopter123 11 Sep 2018

    I'm sure these will sell very well to people who are more than happy with the performance, practicality (as it is) and image

    I suspect we will see a fair amount of hate from those who believe they know better though.

    Edited by Helicopter123 on Tuesday 11th September 10:03

  • sam_jw 11 Sep 2018

    May I ask what the massive problem is that these cars cause for people? The language in the first two paragraphs seems desperate to prove a dislike for these, and the older X5M and X6M.

    The new X3 has been very well received, and whilst I am not in the market for a car such as this I can appreciate it's appeal/usefulness. Surely taking that recipe and handing it to the M division can be no bad thing? Should a motoring journalist at least wait to drive the thing before liking it to 'a horrible dream'?

  • BlackPrince 11 Sep 2018

    Helicopter123 said:
    I'm sure these will sell very well to people who are more than happy with the performance, practicality (as it is) and performance.

    I suspect we will see a fair amount of hate from those who believe they know better though.
    I don't actually care if people buy these or not, and I don't think that the X4/6 GLC/GLE coupes are that ugly - they are ill proportioned but thats okay.

    However, the idea that people are making a very considered "rational" decision about performance and practicality when they buy these things is a bit hyperbolic imo. There's nothing wrong with making irrational decisions when buying cars or bikes, but lets not pretend its not about one thing and one thing only: the badge

  • Daaaveee 11 Sep 2018

    Why do people care so much about what others drive?! As previously mentioned, no either of these wouldn't be a rational choice, but if you want a powerful medium sized SUV and like the looks then one of these would be a great choice.

    I definitely prefer the X3 over the X4 though, something about the rear doesn't quite sit right with me.

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