The 2020 BMW X3 M Competition is, most likely, the response to a question no just one was asking — at the very least, no just one that I know, anyway. BMW’s engineers have managed to imbue the upright, doughy chassis of the X3 compact SUV with the athletic soul of the famous M3 sport sedan, then went on to kick it up an additional notch with Competition-spec energy and grip. Maybe most impressively, this weird chimera will not come to feel like a incredibly hot mess when pushed to its limits it truly is really a qualified performer.


  • Turbocharged I6 will make 503 horsepower in Competition spec
  • Dealing with and braking components also see really serious updates
  • M1, M2 shortcuts place travel method variations at the flick of a thumb
  • A full hoot to travel

Will not Like

  • Trip top quality is severe, even in Comfort method
  • Amplified road sound will make for disagreeable commutes
  • Costs as substantially as buying a much more sensible SUV and a dedicated sports motor vehicle

But at what price? In the pursuit of course-bending effectiveness, the brutal X3 M Competition will have to delicately harmony consolation compromises, a hefty cost tag and the realities of physics. Yes, it truly is a silly fantastic time, but it truly is also tough to propose with a straight encounter.

BMW’s most highly effective 6-cylinder

The 2020 BMW X3 M and the much more hardcore M Competition are both of those driven by BMW’s 3.-liter twin-turbocharged 6-cylinder engine. The X3 M will make 473 horsepower and 442 pound-ft of torque. The M Competition measures up to an even much more epic 503 ponies many thanks to greater raise pressure (18.nine psi vs. 17.four psi) and a freer-flowing exhaust. In Competition tune, the so-called S58 engine is the most highly effective generation I6 engine BMW has ever created.

Possibly way you go, the straight-6 is mated to an 8-velocity, ZF-sourced automatic transmission — the pretty identical gearbox, I am told, as the M5 sedan — and an “M-tuned” model of the automaker’s xDrive all-wheel-travel system with a rear-biased torque split and a rear constrained-slip differential. Contrary to the M5, the X3 M does not characteristic a a hundred{36a394957233d72e39ae9c6059652940c987f134ee85c6741bc5f1e7246491e6} rear-travel method, and which is fine. I you should not think anybody is likely to be drifting a compact SUV.

Enjoyable exhaust pops and crackles during shifts and throttle lifts let anyone else in the preschool drop-off queue know that you indicate business, hinting at the generous thrust and a satisfying roar that the X3 M responds with when you floor the gas pedal. In Competition spec, the X3 M will sprint to 60 mph in four seconds flat — just one-tenth of a second faster than the non-Competition design — ahead of likely on to a a hundred and fifty five-mph top velocity. Test the box to get rid of the electronic limiter and the top velocity rises to 177 mph. Not poor for a grocery-getter.

M-tuned dealing with

BMW failed to just enhance the engine and phone it a day. The X3 M Competition also features M-certain chassis components to match the extraordinary straight-line effectiveness.

The wheel arches are crammed with massive, staggered, 21-inch rollers shod with summer time tires — nine.5-inch wide wheels with 255/40 tires in the entrance and 10-inchers with 265/40 rubber out back. Peering from at the rear of the spokes are M-compound brakes with cross-drilled rotors and shiny blue calipers. 

The X3 M Competition rides on an adaptive suspension with dynamic dampers that toggle amongst Comfort, Sport and Sport Furthermore firmness options at the contact of a button. Aiding in dynamic dealing with is unique “M-tuned” computer software for the traction and balance regulate. With gobs of mechanical grip and a agency suspension setup, the X3 M Competition stays remarkably flat when cornering, inspiring self confidence and encouraging much more velocity by way of each and every corner. (Maybe there need to be a drift method?)

An oft-neglected component of any motor vehicle suspension is the relationship amongst butt and seat, and I am happy to see that BMW has outfitted the X3 M Competition with a sound established of M Sport buckets. With fourteen-way adjustability, it truly is straightforward to find the excellent seating place and — with grippy perforated trim, energy-adjustable seat back bolsters and agency hip bolsters — to remain locked firmly in that seating place although chucking the X3 all over. I find the lower bolsters a tad too slender and limited all over the hips for consolation, but I am confident happy they are there when loading up the g-force.


Aesthetically, the X3 M features a much more aggressive entrance air dam and human body panels. The tweaked form has the functionality of also improving upon aerodynamics at velocity.

Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

The X3 M Competition seems to thumb its nose at the legal guidelines of physics, but the high-ish heart of mass and hefty curb fat are nevertheless sure by them. At moments, the X3 M can come to feel a little bit imprecise and a tiny ungraceful. When seriously having soon after it, the tall seating place feels a little bit odd, amplifying the sensation of human body roll when it eventually takes place. (Editor-in-main Tim Stevens also pointed out this during his convert on the monitor last year.)

And nonetheless, the X3 M Competition always feels eager to be sure to and to force just a little bit more durable. The SUV is delighted to demand up and down my most loved twisty mountain road in excess of and in excess of yet again with a zest and zeal for the travel that is uncommon to find amongst fashionable sports autos — to say nothing at all of “sporty” compact SUVs.

M1 and M2 personalized modes

My most loved cabin tech and ergonomic element is, once yet again, just one borrowed from the M5 sedan: the M1 and M2 thumb toggles on the steering wheel. 

By way of the M Dynamic menu on the major infotainment display, you can combine and match Comfort, Sport and Sport Furthermore options for the throttle reaction, transmission, chassis and steering and balance regulate, assigning your most loved combinations to M1 and M2 travel modes that correspond to the M1 and M2 buttons. Thumbing just one of these vibrant pink toggles instantly remembers the preset. 

I established M1 to all Sport options and M2 to Sport Furthermore. I appreciated how I could convert onto a fantastic driving road and instantly change the angle of the X3 M from Comfort to Sport with out ever allowing go of (or even shuffling my arms on) the steering wheel. It would be improved, I think, if there was some way to tie the seats into these modes — even a little something as straightforward as tightening the bolsters in my M2 Sport Furthermore placing and calming them when I return to Comfort method would be appreciated.

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Competition compromises

There is no question, the 2020 BMW X3 M Competition is an complete blast to travel. The sheer the audacity of it will make taking a spin really worth it just for the lulz. However, I have a tricky time figuring out who this motor vehicle is for — very well, past people today with much more income than perception — which will make it pretty tough to propose to your average purchaser. On just one hand, I can realize the attraction of just one do-it-all motor vehicle that can haul groceries, in shape motor vehicle seats and hit the monitor on the weekend. On the other hand, this ain’t it, main. 

The suspension, even in its Comfort placing, is firmer than lots of cars’ Sport placing, and far too severe for my style as a each day driver. The agency ride also creates much more road sound that, when amplified by the SUV’s cabin, creates loud booming in excess of bumps and highway growth joints. And people M Sport seats that continue to keep me so planted in the corners are too agency, bordering on agonizing, for longer hauls. As soon as the adrenaline hurry is in excess of and I really have to stay with the X3 M Competition, it can, at moments, be an disagreeable each day driver.

On the effectiveness side of the equation, I haven’t been to any enthusiast monitor day situations that will allow for even a “competitiveness spec” SUV to take part — probably factors are different in your neck of the woods — limiting the X3 M Competition owner’s entry to monitor time. And yeah, the Competition is nevertheless four,620 kilos of enjoyable on public roadways, but you seriously will need a monitor to practical experience all that this M motor vehicle has to offer, not to mention justify its $twenty,000-ish cost premium in excess of the base X3.


I am no guardian, but I can’t imagine a baby in a motor vehicle-seat would be equipped to sleep soundly on the X3 M Competition’s loud, bumpy cabin.

Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

Pricing and competitiveness

The 2020 BMW X3 M commences at $sixty nine,900, but the much more highly effective and powerful X3 M Competition commences at $seventy six,900. Aside from $550 for paint, my case in point will not have lots of solutions, but boasts a generous loadout of conventional features at that cost. I might propose considering a $1,seven-hundred driver help suite that provides stop-and-go-able adaptive cruise regulate and prolonged collision mitigation, creating it a safer and much more easy each day driver. That’ll bring you to a encouraged cost of $eighty,a hundred forty five such as a $995 vacation spot demand.

This course of high-effectiveness SUVs is a expanding just one. No shock, crossovers and SUVs are the hottest automotive segment. The X3 M Competition is joined by vehicles like the 434-hp Porsche Macan Turbo, Alfa Romeo’s 505-hp Stelvio Quadrifoglio and the 469-hp Mercedes-AMG GLC63 (or the 503-hp GLC63 S Coupe). Among this tiny-but-intense course, the X3 M Competition is competitively priced and stands out as just one of the sharpest solutions… if you might be into that type of matter.

Personally, I am inserting the X3 M Competition — and its in the vicinity of-equivalent sibling the BMW X4 M Competition — squarely in the “appreciate to travel it, but would not acquire it” classification. It’s an amazing feat of engineering, but for my hypothetical eighty grand, I might instead have two autos: a much more fair and comfortable each day-driver SUV and a dedicated sports motor vehicle for the weekend. For this variety of income, you could acquire a Toyota Supra and a RAV4 Hybrid, an M2 Competition and a Mazda CX-5, or any of a dozen other combos that will be much more enjoyable on a monitor and much more comfortable on the way to work.