New 2019 BMW X3M and X4M teased ahead of full reveal

2019 BMW X3M and X4M performance SUVs revealed; six-cylinder petrol power to feature

BMW has shown its X3M and X4M performance SUVs for the first time, under light camouflage and in prototype form. With the former taking on the likes of the Porsche Macan Turbo and the latter the Mercedes–AMG GLC 63 Coupe, BMW is set to give its high-performance mid-sized SUV offerings twin-turbocharged six-cylinder petrol power.

While official power and performance figures are yet to be released, we reckon a figure in the region of 425bhp is likely – the same as the current BMW M3 saloon. BMW describes the engine as having ‘high-revving characteristics’, but there’s likely to be plenty of low-down power, too.

The BMW X3M and X4M will be offered with a specially tuned version of the M xDrive four-wheel-drive system first seen on the latest BMW M5, along with an active rear differential and, Carbuyer expects, adaptive damping and a number of selectable driver modes.

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The new cars get a number of sporty touches to set them apart from their standard equivalents, including larger air intakes, refined aerodynamic parts and the obligatory quad-exit exhaust pipes as found on other M-cars.

We expect the BMW X3M and X4M to be revealed in full before the end of 2018, with sales starting in early 2019.

BMW X3 full details

It’s big, it’s German and it’s an SUV – if current market trends are to be believed, the new, third-generation BMW X3 is the car many have been waiting for.

Given BMW has sold over a million and a half X3, it’s understandable the company has taken a cautious approach to the new model’s design, and it doesn’t represent the radical rethink the forthcoming BMW 8 Series is likely to herald.

Give the latest X3 a second glance, however, and it clearly exhibits a sharper, more sculpted look than its predecessor, while the side vents behind the front wheels both aid aerodynamics and help differentiate it from the model it replaces.

Price and on-sale date

The BMW X3 is on sale now, priced from £39,105 for the xDrive20i SE model. The xDrive30d starts at £46,625 in xLine trim, while the top-of-the-range M40i starts at £51,675.

Design

A new example of BMW’s trademark ‘kidney’ grille adds visual presence at the front, as do fresh LED headlights – standard across the range. The rear roof spoiler and prominent exhaust pipes give the rear a fair amount of visual clout, but despite this butch look, the latest X3 weighs around 55kg less than its predecessor and also features a reconfigured four-wheel-drive system that sends more power to the rear wheels by default.

There are new suspension components, too, and it’s no larger than the outgoing car. BMW has stretched the distance between the new X3’s front and rear wheels, pushing them closer to the edges of the car’s bodywork.

Interior, dashboard and practicality

If you’re familiar with the outgoing BMW X3, the latest model represents a huge leap forward. It takes its cues from the beautifully built BMW 5 Series – and is all the better for it.

The new X3’s large, trapezoidal central console is the most eye-catching element inside, and its shape is echoed by the infotainment screen on the top of the dashboard. Physical buttons for the heating and air-conditioning rest lower down, while BMW’s iDrive rotary controller is present and correct.

Large amounts of leather and fine metal trim detailing, coupled with digital dashboard dials and BMW’s nifty Display Key sum up the new X3’s interior: it blends old-world materials and craftsmanship with up-to-the-minute technology. This approach has worked to great effect in the latest 5 Series and it’s a similar story with the new X3.

And while the 550-litre boot is the same size as the outgoing X3’s, given the commodious nature of that car it would seem churlish to complain about there being no increase. Three individually folding rear seats further cement the new X3’s practicality credentials.

Technology, trims and options

BMW tends to keep its trim levels relatively simple and the latest X3 is offered in three core variants – all of which are well equipped.

Entry-level SE includes three-zone climate control, LED lights front and rear, satin aluminium roof rails, leather seats, sat nav, ambient lighting and 18-inch alloy wheels.

Upgrading to xLine gets you sports seats, a satin aluminium radiator grille and 19-inch wheels, while top-spec M Sport brings sports suspension, 19-inch wheels, M Sport seats and steering wheel, tweaked interior trim details and BMW’s Professional sat nav, together with an upgraded 10.3-inch touchscreen and beefier brakes.

The M40i gets a sports exhaust, black chrome exhaust pipes and dark grey trim inserts for the bumpers.

There are, naturally, numerous options you can add to the X3. Some of these – like BMW’s recent gesture control system – may be more impressive in the showroom than on the road, while others – like the panoramic sunroof and adaptive cruise control – may prove better bets.

In fact, if you specify the X3 correctly, it’ll be able to drive itself in certain situations. The lane-changing assistance, for example, will help keep you on the straight and narrow, while the adaptive cruise control will follow the car in front and automatically keep pace with slow-moving traffic.

Other options include a head-up display, the futuristic (if fairly large) Display Key and a smartphone app that can display a 3D view of the X3’s surroundings.

Engines

The new X3 launched with two diesel engines paired with BMW’s xDrive four-wheel-drive system, with an entry-level petrol engine following later. All X3s come with an eight-speed automatic gearbox and xDrive four-wheel drive.

BMW also offers a M40i performance model, while the company’s latest self-driving and safety systems can be specified.

The entry-level engine is the xDrive20d diesel. This is a four-cylinder 2.0-litre engine, which returns 56.5mpg, produces 187bhp and goes from 0-62mph in eight seconds dead.

Upgrading to the xDrive30d costs around £5,500 and gets you a 3.0-litre, six-cylinder diesel. This produces 258bhp, returns a still-palatable 49.6mpg and goes from 0-62mph in just 5.8 seconds.

BMW also offers a performance model, called the X3 M40i. This features a twin-turbo 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol engine, which produces 355bhp and goes from 0-62mph in just 4.8 seconds; aided by the launch-control system, this is exactly the same time the Porsche Macan Turbo takes to do the same sprint.

In truth, the performance of the X3 M40i may be attractive, but its 34.5mpg fuel economy and circa-£50,000 asking price will make it hard to justify for many. Most buyers will be better served by the xDrive20d.

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