Not too long ago people considered high-performance SUVs to be a completely ridiculous concept. That’s still the case, by all means, as the high riding position and the tall center of gravity will get in the way of having fun. However, strides have been made in terms of engineering and this ‘niche’ has gotten a lot better. One of the best examples in this regard are the BMW X3 M and the X3 M Competition.

These two SUVs are some of the best handling you can get today. Sure, that does come with a compromise in the ‘comfort department’ as we learned a while back, but that’s understandable if you want to have fun on the track. But just how good can a BMW X3 M actually be on the track? Well, the guys from Auto Bild set off the find out and they didn’t use a standard X3 M either, but asked the guys from AC Schnitzer to lend them one.

The end result was a blistering fast time (for an SUV) of 1:36.25 which was just 0.12 seconds slower than what a 2018 BMW M4 Competition was capable of doing. That difference is basically a blink of an eye or even less come to think of it. These two are neck and neck on the track and one of them is supposed to be a bonafide sports car while the other is a 2-ton, all-wheel drive SUV with room for the kids in the back and luggage.

Admittedly, this is not the regular X3 M so that has to be taken into consideration. The AC Schnitzer version has 600 HP instead of 510 on the Competition model and comes with other changes as well, such as a lower suspension, different exhaust, more aero and the works. That said, the X3 M Competition wasn’t too far off either, measured at 1:37,60.