COMPACT UTE AT ALTAR OF SPORT SEDAN GREATNESS: To imitate might flatter, but to emulate is sincere admiration. For five decades the BMW 3 Series luxury compact sport saloon has been imitated by many. However, within the Roundel brand’s rounds, it has been emulated by but one since 2003, the X3 compact sport utility vehicle. In its relatively young life the BMW X3 has been transformed from small volume premium cute ute riding on borrowed old generation 3 Series contributions to a mature compact luxury SUV which has become the best selling line for the brand.
ROUNDEL X COMPACT MAKES FOR WORTHY M : The Bavarians understand as well as any what side their bread is buttered on. Car having taken a sales second string to truck-like things, the heresy of a Motorsport Division concocted SUV was first overcome with 2015’s X5 M (F15 derived F85). Given a newly modular development of a third generation X3, and pent up demand stirred by the latest dual motor battery electric vehicles, it was deemed high time to grant urban active lifestylers their Motorsport wishes. For the first time Bayerische Motoren Werke AG has given the full “M” Division seal of approval to the 2022 BMW X3 M xDrive Competition road & track star.
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WHAT: 2022 BMW X3 M xDrive compact luxury high performance sport activity vehicle, based on CLAR underpinnings common to the G20 3-Series sedan and, ultimately, the G80 M3 / M4 coupe family. This third generation G01 series of X3 SAV is related to the G02 X4 M SAV Coupe, and succeeds the
Standard M Power: S58B30T0 all-alloy longitudinal charge intercooled, dual liquid-to-air intercooled twin-scroll turbocharged 3.0L DOHC 24V DI gas I-6, start/ stop, featured in the G80 BMW M3 / G82 BMW M4 Competition
- NET POWER: 503 hp @ 6250 rpm / 479 lb-ft @ 2750 rpm; 7300 rpm redline
- = +32 hp, +74 lb-ft vs. non-Competition X3 M
- = +0 hp / +36 lb-ft vs. Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio; -39 hp / -23 lb-ft vs. Jaguar F-Pace SVR
- supplemental radiator chills turbocharger exhaust wastegate air
- separate turbocharger oil pan extension with cross-flow anti-starvation sump
- dual exhaust w/ Active Sound muffler flap control
- [F90 BMW M8] upgraded 8-spd. ZF M8HP76 design torque converter planetary transmission w/ shift paddles
- viscous clutch differential all-wheel drive + rear E-LSD
WHAT (A) STYLING DIFFERENCE: Towing a design language closer to the larger G05 X5 M SUV, Aussie Calvin Luk still appointed the latest standard G20 3 Series arched vertical slat grille to the visage of the 2022 X3 M Competition without going full M3 / M4 full fangs.
• Bavarian Sport Utility Compact.0: A pronounced Coke-fuselage Kammback SUV announced by swept back windshield, upright liftgate and high belt-line, wearing more assertive elements vs. outgoing F15 series:
• OUT FRONT: √ Vertically dark slat twin kidney grille, widened with outward arrow bezels; √ Angel-eyes DRLs underscore wrap around LED headlamp housings; √ Lattice dark lower front fascia corners cut in open brow hectahedral; √ Piano black vertical corner folds w/ air intakes;
• AT THE SIDES: √ Beltline crease; √ Dark wheel arch cladding, mates to rear lower fascia; √ Piano black fender aft brake heat extractor blends with lower cheatline crease; √ More subtle belt-line crease accentuates rear quarter flare; √ Integrated side skirts;
• AROUND BACK: √ Looping hockey stick wrap around LED light bars extend well into mid liftgate; √ Roof air splitter; √ Sharper spoiler atop upper and lower flared liftgate; √ Lower liftgate license plate bowl; √ Piano black lower rear fascia, enlarged at corners, w/ subtle center diffuser; √ Dual twin exhaust outlets
• M CUES: √ Red, white & blue “M” badges in grille & fender aft heat extractors; √ “M Competition” liftgate right side badge; √ Piano black lower air dam, rear fascia & corner bezel treatments; √ Tandem arm (split at top) piano black wing mirrors.
WHY: Emulation of a high performance Three by a high performance X Three is the sincerest compliment with utility.
WHEN: On-Sale (in the U.S.) since Autumn 2021
WHERE: BMW new vehicle dealers
WHERE MADE: Spartanburg, South Carolina, U.S.A
WHERE TO: The new 2022 BMW X3 M is up to going anywhere the cold wind blows or the sun sizzles on the road. However, as the season changes to white fluff raining down from the sky, a change of from sticky summer running shoes to biting winter boots will be in order, hence the test vehicle’s Pirelli Scorpion Winter 1 tires. Electronic coupling all-wheel drive is nominally 60% at the rear wheels. Demand can transfer 100% of torque fore or aft depending on traction and yaw inputs, while a Snow Mode engages the transmission in a higher gear and eases more power forwards.
HOW ROADWORTHY: The short stroke of the S58B series twin turbo six powerplant makes it a more rev happy successor to the F82‘s S55. Dual lower corner intake snorkels suck gobs of air swallowed by six large intake throttle bodies. A supplemental radiator chills the exhaust consumed by each of the single scroll Mitsubishi MHI TD turbochargers per three cylinders, for optimum density, sufficient to yield 25 psi of nominal boost pressure.
• THE POWER: But a glowing illuminated ignition button breathes life into this steed. For aural pleasure it is suggested to tap the console active exhaust control bringing forth legit rumble. Tugging the left oversized woven carbon fiber dorsal steering wheel shift paddle, then stepping into aluminum throttle pedal launches the Live Pro Cockpit virtual tach needle past 4000 rpm, confirming enhanced M Power under the hood. Sharing the M8’s ZF 8HP50 eight-speed gear swaps snap off with potent alacrity minus wanton violence. Rear wheel biased viscous coupled all-wheel drive is most assuredly meant to excise rear tire slippage on a hard launch. As a forewarning Track Mode should be dubbed “Lose Your Lunch Mode.” Dual customizable “M-Mode” switches on the steering wheel can modulate the xDrive power flow.
-1 While artful, the tunnel lever center console toggle transmission selector obfuscates intuitive movement.
• Two steering wheel mounted red “M Mode” switches = access center console stored, I-drive selected customized sport / track settings, including available.
• Center console drive control switches include: M Mode, Settings, variable exhaust.
• Horsepower torque sport instrument cluster MFD & media screen displays
• “M” Lap Timer App in Media Display
• Three drive modes = Normal, Sport, Track (with customization)
• THE CONTROL: An X3 M Competition still copes with 600 pounds more than Roadblazing.com‘s previously tested 2022 M4 Competition xDrive at nearly 3.0″ higher lift. The front strut, rear five link controls the mass with steel springs and four setting variable electronic dampers amp up the compression stiffness. Setting for setting, ride compliance is less harsh than in the M4 Competition with hardly any perceivable bob or sway, which is all the more impressive given 21″ inch wheels. Turn-in, while brilliantly sharp for a high performance SUV, still demands more attention given the taller clearance. Staggered summer rubber set up, Michelin Pilot Sport 4S’s, would surely devour pavement with famine induced appetite, permitting only occupant’s intestinal fortitude to sway. A re-assuredly hefty resisting helm is met with among the scantest of street vehicle rotation to change bearings but it still speaks with relative modesty about the tarmac. Applying firm pedal to the generously sized and amply cooled large twin piece steel disc brake, produces drag chute tugs on demand.
HOW FAR: 22 combined miles per gallon fuel economy; 480 highway miles range running 93 octane unleaded fuel.
HOW BIG/ LITTLE: The 3rd generation G01 BMW X3 slightly surpasses the 1st generation E53 X5 SUV in footprint. While designated compact it is at the larger size of that 2+3 adult designation.
– For Comparison’s Sake:
- 112.8″-inch Wheelbase: 1.8″ > Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio; 0.4″ < Jaguar F-Pace SVR
- 36.4″-inch 2nd Row legroom: 4.5″ > Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio; 0.8″ < Jaguar F-Pace SVR
- Nominal, expanded cargo capacity: +23%, -5.0% vs. Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifolgio; -21% (post Row 2), -22% vs Jaguar F-Pace SVR
HOW USEFUL: √ 40/20/40% split folding 2nd Row seat backs + dual cargo bay cable releases; √ Aluminum bumper load plate; √ Cargo bay privacy shade; √ Spring raised cargo floor to subfloor management; √ Cargo-area 12V outlet; √ Power clamshell split upper & lower liftgate w/ dual grab handles; √ Mouse-fur lined, damped action glove box.
- +1 Non-intruding cargo area wheel arch, Sub-floor storage; Temporary donut spare tire
- –1 No overhead console retracting sunglass bin; Small center console storage bin; Lacks X5’s split clamshell liftgate
HOW SAFE: √ 10 airbags; √ IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus; √ Surround view cameras; sonar front & rear Park Distance Control; √ Blind spot, rear cross traffic & lane departure warning; √ Auto parking brake hold; √ Auto high beam headlamps; √ Heads-Up display
+1 Parking Assist Plus (opt.) executes precise active parallel & perpendicular parking maneuvers, assisted back-out, while surround camera estimates door swing zone.
+/- Driving Assistant Pro & Traffic Jam II Level 2.0 extended autonomy adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist includes autonomous lane change = Optional
HOW PEOPLE FRIENDLY: Following the furnishing path laid down by the larger G05 BMW X5 the 2022 X3 wears the latest in Teutonic business luxury. A gander at two tone seating, plenty of carbon fiber and microsuede headliner and pillar covers in the X3 M Competition match and occasionally surpass accoutrements on its pricier M4 Competition coupe platform-mate. While neither curved of screen or augmented of reality the large Live Cockpit Pro instrumentation exudes a artfully sporty take on gauge. The 2022 M4 Competition boasts woven carbon fiber, aluminum & tucked seam soft panels on the fixed 2nd Row window ledge as part of the bespoke trimmings complement. A simplified 7th generation IDrive excises anticipated anxiety over a myriad of infotainment settings which can be rationalized. Display graphics are tantalizing without loudness, though greater brightness would help. Switchgear in door panels and steering wheel spokes are precision honed. Tight pile carpeting the kind found in homes contributes to better cabin noise isolation.
√ Heated 16-way power front sport seats, torso & lumber adjust, manual knee extenders, 2-setting driver’s memory; √ 4 power windows, full express; √ 4-Zone auto climate control w/ 2nd Row digital display & controls; √ 2nd Row and aft dark tint privacy glass; √ Power panorama roof; √ Power folding wing mirrors; √ Comfort approach access keyless entry
- +1 Heated steering leather wrapped carbon fiber insert wheel; 2nd Row climate control; Heated rear seats.
Cool Gizmo(s): ♦ 12.3″-inch LCD Live Cockpit Pro w/ configurable full color raceway gauges and M Sport display; ♦ Gesture proximity media display control – clockwise finger rotation mimics turning the volume dial, pointed lateral hand thumb advances or retreats track / station; ♦ Heads up display w/ navigation map and sport mode
• Special Mention Doodad(s): ♦ Caring Car™ with both Relax (Orange sunset) and Vitalize (Green pasture) modes, provides 2:46 of mood music, varying climate settings, display image and varying intensity mood lighting.
Details Done Right: ♦ Brushed aluminum inlays, switchgear, speaker covers; ♦ Carbon fiber center console panels; ♦ Full exposed soft material surfaces; ♦ Contrast paneled cross stitched, Nappa leather seating & upper door panels; ♦ Contrasting seam stitched dark leather dash-top; ♦ Micro-sueded covered pillars, center console padding, rear deck, headliner; ♦ Variable color full dashboard, consoles, door panel ambient & footwell LEDs; ♦ Dense pile cabin, transmission tunnel & cargo area carpeting
♦ Heads up display w/ navigation map; ♦ Vehicle length badged straked broadcast puddle lamps
• Stand Out Detail(s): ♦ etched “X” on door panel trim; “M” illuminated upper front seat emblems; ♦ Power front rising headrests raise seat back hard shells; ♦ “M” embroidered shoulder safety belts
Nearly Non-Descript: Glare reflecting, small -ish center console climate buttons & switches.
HOW “APP” -LICABLE: √ 12.3″ iDrive 7 touch, remote & voice controlled LCD infotainment screen; √ iDrive 7 center console rotary controller, finger script touch pad & primary function buttons; √ Rotary audio volume dial, tuning & preset switches; √ Bluetooth, hands-free communications; √ Voice-to-text SMS messaging; √ Voice command/ guidance 3-D HDD GPS navigation; √ HD weather, traffic; √ wireless Apple CarPlay; √ BMW Connected Apps using virtual cloud for appointments; √ USB x 4, 12V x 3; √ Qi Wireless charging tray.
Audibly: √ 16 speaker, 600 W Harman Kardon DTS 7.1 RDS HD radio = shallow bass, crisp highs, convincing sound stage
By Subscription: √ SiriusXM (90 days incl.); BMW Connected Services √ 4G LTE by AT&T;
HOW MUCH: $87,345 = as tested 2022 BMW X3 M xDrive Competition suggested retail price (includes $4500 Frozen Marina Blue matte color and one day track instruction at BMW Performance Center).
WHAT’S MISSING: M4 / M3’s rear drive lock Drift Mode; wireless Android Auto
ANY COMPETITION: Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio: wail of the Ferrari cast engine; Jaguar F-Pace SVR: last of the supercharged V-8; Mercedes Benz AMG GLC 63: the curved glass displays; Porsche Macan GTS: before the electrified future from Zuffenhausen
FINAL WORD: No M3 / M4 ever possessed this much utility at an even lower price.
Contributing Editor: Tomasz Paluch