Drove the BMW X3 M Competition recently, which is an extra super performance version of the M class. And what a ride it was, I battle with the superlatives needed to describe my elation after the week test. I had a pretty jaded view of the Bavarian brand, and after this, it was right up there where it left off as my favourite German drive. Well the X3 M Comp certainly is a good looking SUV, and obviously they went for an exclusive look, and the BMW X3 M Competition has this in the form of High-gloss Black for the BMW kidney grille surround, exterior mirror caps and M gills, and the rear spoiler of the Sports Activity Coupe.
Their standard equipment also includes 21-inch M light-alloy wheels in polished Black and an M Sport twin-exhaust system. M-specific design features optimise the supply of cooling air for the BMW X3 M, BMW X4 M and Competition models, as well as their aerodynamics. It also has LED headlights and 20-inch M light-alloy wheels as standard equipment. The optional M Carbon exterior package which features design elements in carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) for the front air intakes, the air blades in the front apron, the rear diffuser and the exterior mirror caps, adds further individual flourishes.
The expressive aura of the interior, meanwhile, is enhanced by M Sport seats with extended Merino leather upholstery, model-specific doors, also inside the cars, the electrically adjustable sports seats, Vernasca leather upholstery, M-specific cockpit, M leather steering wheel and M gearshift selector lever create a sporty and luxurious ambience. Sill plates and a model nameplate on the centre console add value.
Among the items fitted as standard in the BMW X3 M, BMW X4 M and Competition models are LED headlights, the hi-fi speaker system and the ConnectedDrive navigation package including the Navigation system Professional. Options for the Competition models include special bi-colour leather upholstery variants with Alcantara applications.
The primary aim of the X3 Comp is performance however, and in this dept, it delivers in spades. The most powerful straight-six petrol engine ever to see action in a BMW M car provides the muscle for stunning performance attributes. Pushing out 375 kw and 600Nm of torque, this baby can sing, couples with a 8-speed Steptronic auto transmission, and all buttons are easily accessible from the M steering wheel. 0 to 100km/h is attained in a very rapid 4.1 secs. I tested the SUV out at Magaliesburg, on the satellite road, where it’s long and straight before a series of good corners.
At high speed it is very stable, due to the superior M xDrive, Active M Differential. The centrally controlled interaction between M xDrive and the Active M Differential at the rear axle allows the all-wheel-drive system to split the engine’s power between the four wheels as required to deliver optimal traction, agility and performance.
The bespoke kinematics and elastokinematics of the M-specific suspension – with its double-joint spring strut front axle and fivelink rear axle – deliver precise wheel location and directional stability. Composed to also deliver precisely controllable on-limit handling, the chassis technology package rounds off with M-specific steering (including M Servotronic and variable ratio) and powerful M compound brakes.
With three settings selectable at the touch of a button, the M-specific suspension’s electronically controlled dampers enable both excellent everyday comfort and extremely direct contact with the road, with low wheel and body movements. Like the damper control systems and M xDrive modes, the engine and transmission characteristics and steering set-up can be adjusted at the touch of a button.
The DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) system allows controlled wheel slip in M Dynamic Mode and, needless to say, can also be switched off. Plus, the content shown in the optional Head-Up Display can be specified via the iDrive menu. The driver can store two overall set-up options – configured as desired from the above parameters – in the iDrive menu and select them as and when required using the two M buttons on the steering wheel.
I drove the updated BMW X5M & 6M yesterday on road and on track, and the X3 M Comp would be my choice, the latter is more controlled and is lighter.
It’s by no means a cheap buy either and it wll set you back R1 510 686.00