Although we may never understand the world's obsession with fast SUVs, it's clear that they're improving. Looking at the corner of the BMW X3 M 2020, it's a bit like watching BMW engineers impose their will on physics – it's not always stylish, but it will catch your eye. And behind the wheel, despite its immodest height and straight driving position, this utility vehicle of 473 horses (503 horses in Competition version) is undeniably capable.
Using the same eight-speed ZF automatic transmission and the same electronically controlled limited-slip rear differential as the supersedan, the X3 M AWD and its sloping roof counterpart, the X4 M, with the same mechanical, are able to at the back to help the SUV go where it is pointing. We drove them to rural New Jersey and New York, including tricks on the 3.6-kilometer Monticello Motor Club track. It's there, in the recesses of the circuit, that BMW's highly-enriched compact SUV has marveled. Even with a front tire occasionally suspended on the ground, the current continuing to flow over the connected rubber resulted in explosive cornering exits and ridiculous speed. Nevertheless, it is absurd to think that any BMW owner will ever do something like this with a baby carrier eating with motor, brakes and adjustable suspension to the extreme.
Followed by a basket
Compared to the X3 M40i, BMW has added several chassis reinforcements, stiffer springs, readjusted pads and more authority on the adaptive dampers of the M. The result is a breathtaking control accompanied by the adjustment levels of the Rubik cube . There are individual settings for dampers, steering, exhaust, calibration and speed, torque distribution, stability control and M. modes is America; to have choices, that's fine. But having no presets leads us to question the self-confidence of the division Mr. Hey, BMW, there is nothing wrong with a predefined sport mode. Nevertheless, once installed, this X3 offers a better responsiveness than many sports sedans just a decade ago. It is not clear if its owners will ever use this ability. Still, the sales potential of a M brand SUV is not lost for heads of state in Munich.
What is not lost for us is its new engine. Called code S58, the 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged in-line six-cylinder is the most powerful six-cylinder BMW ever produced. It is also the most powerful BMW 6 online, using a forged crank, connecting rods and pistons to push its specific output beyond that of any other BMW engine. Composed at 90% new parts, it uses a shorter stroke than the B58 engine of the X3 M40i and M340i in order to accommodate slightly higher diets than it is capable of achieving (7,000 to 7,200 rpm) and improve its durability under sustained operation at rpm. Two single-scroll turbochargers (the B58 uses a single double scroll turbo) are needed to generate the mass flow needed to achieve the superior performance of the S58. The air-water intermediate cooling supports the maximum increase of 19 psi in competition models. Five nose-mounted heat exchangers – two engine cooling radiators, two intercooler radiators and an engine oil cooler – dissipate heat.
In addition to an extra 30 horsepower (thanks to 1 psi thrust and a more efficient exhaust), Competition models come with 21-inch wheels (20 are standard), a leather interior and minor aesthetic modifications. Otherwise, it is largely a refined X3, with a price just as good: $ 70 895 to start. Add $ 7,000 for the competition model. There is a bulky steering wheel with which you can steer it to do wacky things in turns. And although it shares an accelerator pedal with the X3, the results of its enthusiastic use will be radically different. Plan times from zero to 100 km / h in the three-second high range. And if this is as surprising as confusing, then join the club.