BMW M has added two new SUV models to its burgeoning line-up in the form of the X3M and X4M.
Set for UK delivery in September following a public debut at April’s Shanghai motor show, they are among seven new dedicated M models planned for 2019. The M8 Coupé, Cabriolet and Gran Coupé and new X5M and X6M models are all also due by the year’s end.
“Our philosophy from the start was to deliver an M3 and M4 driving experience, but with the added assurance of four-wheel drive and a slightly higher seating position,” said Lars Beulke, BMW M product manager. “We originally referred to them internally as the M3X and M4X.”
Following the strategy taken with other M models, the X3M and X4M will be sold in both standard and Competition guises from the outset. Together, they take aim at the Mercedes-Benz GLC 63 and Porsche Macan Turbo with a new twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre petrol engine known internally as the S58.
Based on the B58 engine already used by the X3 and X4 M40i, the inline six-cylinder unit delivers 473bhp and 442lb ft in standard form and 503bhp and 442lb ft in the X3M and X4M Competition – the latter of which receives a louder M Sport exhaust as standard.
Power is channelled to all four wheels via an eight-speed torque-converter automatic gearbox and a variable M xDrive four-wheel-drive system, with an electronic rear differential and torque vectoring system. The Competition versions of the X3M and X4M are said to achieve 26.9mpg and 26.7mpg combined respectively.
There is no pure rear-wheel-drive mode, with maximum traction the priority. Base cars come with 20in wheels shod with 255/45 (front) and 265/45 (rear) tyres. Competition models feature 21in rims with 255/40 (front) and 265/40 (rear) tyres.
The standard X3 and X4’s MacPherson strut (front) and multi-link (rear) suspension has been heavily reworked, as have the variable ratio steering system and the brakes, which use 395mm steel discs and four-pot calipers up front and 370mm steel discs with floating calipers at the rear.