This new third-generation of BMW X3 is a car of two big firsts. Of those firsts, the first (pun unintended) was the BMW X3 M40i, the first true performance variant of the X3. After driving it, we felt that it was the best X3 ever and yours truly felt that it was one of the very best driving BMW product on sale, with only maybe the M2 being more enjoyable. But this new X3 also brings another big milestone to the nameplate — the BMW X3 M.
The BMW X3 M will be the first of its kind and a car that many BMW fans have begging the Bavarians for. Now, it’s officially on the way and an X3 M test mule was just recently caught lapping the Nurburgring.
Seen here on the ‘Ring, the new BMW X3 M seems pretty aggressive looking, despite being covered in quite a bit of camouflage. From the front, we can see that it’s going to get an aggressive front lip, with large air intakes. Although, its side mirrors are the same as the standard car, so we’re not sure if those will stay or are just on this test mule for, well, test purposes. It may still be getting its own M-ified side mirrors.
We know this is a BMW X3 M, though, and not something less angry thanks to its quad exhaust pipes. Four poo shoots are a signature BMW M design trait and this car sports them. Above those is a large roof spoiler that adds some additional sportiness.
What’s most interesting, though, is the noise. Just from listening to the engine and exhaust from a far in this spy video, the BMW X3 M seems to sound quite good. It’s metallic and angry, with little barks and pops. However, we can’t really tell if it’s using an M-tuned version of BMW’s B58 engine (which would be dubbed S58) or a version of the BMW M3’s S55 engine. Personally, I’m inclined to think it’s the former, partially thanks to this sounding a bit better than the M3 and partially out of hope.
Either way, it’s going to be powered by a 3.0 liter twin-turbocharged inline-six engine that will make around 450 hp. That engine will almost certainly be paired with an eight-speed automatic and xDrive all-wheel drive. It will be very interesting to see if BMW M incorporates the new M5’s all-wheel drive system, with its available “2WD” mode. The X3 M will be the first M-developed SUV since the M5 debuted so its all-wheel drive system will be something to keep an eye on.
Looking at the way it moves, it seems to corner surprisingly flat for a decently tall SUV. Despite having a good bit of weight to move around, it seems to be quite the athlete, which is encouraging. BMW seems to have regained its ability to develop chassis and suspensions with that magic, old-school balance between composure and compliance. The new BMW M5 and X3 M40i seem to possess this balance, so we’re expecting the same from the X3 M as well.
We’re very excited about the new BMW X3 M. The X3 M40i is such a fantastic car and has so much potential to be even more fun. We can’t wait.