The fistfight of high performance SUVs is getting more intense, and that has started to spill over into Australia with the entry of the Munich faction’s new M-enhanced X3 and X4, which premieres the automaker’s new generation of fire-breathing 6-cylinder engines.
For now, the turf war only involves BMW and Mercedes-AMG with Audi not quite stepping into the ring as of yet, but that could change if the tide turns in favour of the Jaguar F-Pace and if Lexus or Infiniti fancy their changes at this burgeoning segment.
The BMW X3 M Competition kicks things off with a starting price of $157,900 excluding on-road costs while the more sporty looking coupe-like X4 M Competition slides in wearing a $164,900 sticker. Both in terms of cost and capability, these fully fledged members of the M car family are a significant step up from the X3 M40i and X4 M40i variants that precede them. Importantly, the Affalterbach alternatives are a good amount more expensive but offer similar performance.
Visually, the pair will no doubt stand out from the more common varieties of X3 and X4 by way of their huge 21-inch wheels, gloss black exterior trim details, quad exhaust exits, and full M bodykit.
Under their respective bonnets and behind their enlarged kidney grilles lie a new breed of twin-turbocharged straight-6 petrol engines from BMW M. Based on the B58, these motors are strengthened and tuned to produce up to 375kW and 600Nm and indeed are destined to power the upcoming G20-based M3 and M4, succeeding their S55 power plants.
Even when tasked with propelling these relatively beefier SUVs, the new six-cylinder petrols manage to dispatch 100km/h from rest in just 4.1 seconds for the X3 M Competition, though aided in no small part by the xDrive’s all-wheel traction and torque delivery management.
Befitting the range’s flagship status, both the X3 and X4 M will be equipped generously as standard, squeezing in luxuries such as a panoramic glass roof, Merino leather trim throughout the cabin, a fully digital instrument cluster, head-up display, and a 16-speaker surround sound stereo.
Like any BMW, though, there are still optional extras to be dangled such as a $700 heated seat package for front and rear occupants, $450 for gesture control for the iDrive 7 system and wireless Apple CarPlay connectivity for an astonishing $623.
- 2019 BMW X3 M Competition - $157,900
- 2019 BMW X4 M Competition - $164,900