Sometimes BMW really nails odd cars. Cars like the BMW X3 M Competition shouldn’t be great; it’s too heavy, too tall and it’s the wrong shape. Fast crossovers aren’t supposed to be very good and even when they are, they’re really only good for crossovers. However, BMW has nailed the X3 M Comp and it’s fun to see when other journalists agree. In this new video from The Smoking Tire, we see both Matt Farah and Zack Klapman drive BMW’s smallest performance SUV and come away surprisingly impressed.
The one thing they keep going back to is its performance. Thanks to a 3.0 liter twin-turbocharged I6 engine (S58), the BMW X3 M Competition makes a whopping 503 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque. That helps it hit 60 mph in 3.3 seconds, with launch control. Which, let’s admit it, is flat-out insane in a crossover that weighs scarily close to 5,000 lbs. As Farah points out, though, the 5-60 mph rollout sprint takes 4.7 seconds, which proves just how much launch control has to do with modern performance; keeping the engine in boost and maximizing grip.
It’s not just straight-line speed, however, as the BMW X3 M Competition is a serious performance machine. It handles so incredibly well and can cling onto corners that boggle the mind. I still remember my first experience in the X3 M, riding shotgun at the Thermal Club race track with a BMW pro driver at the helm. He took some of those corners so fast my brain couldn’t comprehend how such a tall vehicle to hold on and not flip over. The physics just don’t make sense.
There is one caveat, though, and it’s the same one that everyone has, us included. The BMW X3 M Competition is a great car but it’s just too damn stiff. The suspension, even in its adaptive Comfort setting, is so brutal it actually makes around-town driving close to unbearable. Apparently, BMW is aware of this and has tried to remedy it. The press cars we’ve all been driven are still on the same suspension so we can’t tell if BMW has developed a proper fix for this yet.
As Farah points out, though, we’d likely all trade some of the g-force at which the X3 M can corner at for some extra ride compliance. The BMW X3 M Competition is daily driver, after all. If you want a bone-stiff track car, wait for the M4 CS. You want the X3 M, you’re likely looking for some daily usability as well. Fix the suspension, BMW, and you might just have the best performance crossover on the market.