Home / Home / BMW X3 M Road Test Review – M3 X

 

Fuel economy may not be a critical factor for many still, but emissions are a concern and the BMW X3 M does not have an “Eco Pro” mode. And while that may be seen as an “essential, focused sports car” trait, times have changed. Coming to the engine details we began with. BMW haven’t rested on their (many) laurels and have made yet another TwinPower Turbo in-line six-cylinder motor. What does that mean? Let’s recap.

BMW X3 M

The old M3/M4 and the M2 Competition pack the “S55” 2,979-cc (84 x 89.6 mm, bore and stroke) straight-six with two mono-scroll turbochargers. Then there’s the “B58” motor that’s in the 40i models, a 2,998-cc (82 x 94.6 mm) in-line six unit. Now, there’s this: the all-new “S58” motor with 2,993-cc from 84 x 90-mm cylinder dimensions — similar to their diesel six. The S58 is meant to replace the S55, of course. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to why it’s so important.

The S58 3.0 also has two mono-scroll turbochargers with BMW’s signature high-pressure direct injection with fully variable timing for the valves and camshafts. It produces a meaty 480 hp between 6,250 and 7,200 rpm — yes, it’s a turbo motor, so what? That’s what driver’s cars are supposed to do, right? Rev up, and quick. The peak torque is just as hefty 600 Nm (50 Nm more than the new M3; with the manual transmission) and arrives earlier — from 2,600 to 5,600 rpm — too. The X3 M has an eight-speed M Steptronic automatic transmission. It’s a fluid-coupling but the shifts and the, well, fluid performance allow it to harness the wide spread of what the engine has to offer far better and run a little cooler than an M DCT unit. The M xDrive funnels torque to all four wheels with varying intensity. Unlike the other M cars we’ve driven recently, there’s no rear-wheel-drive-only mode and “4WD Sport” is the mode the BMW X3 M offers for the most indulgent fun.

BMW X3 M

The BMW X3 M is quick off the line. Heading out, the potential on tap is evidently significant. The refined growl of the motor, however, is augmented by sound pumped through the speakers; a sort of love-it-or-hate-it factor — I’m not a fan. Nevertheless, it will sprint from naught to 100 km/h in 4.1 seconds and get up to illegal speeds in a jiffy. The suspension set-up — a strut front and multi-link rear both with M specific kinematics and adaptive damping — feels like it’s meant for immaculate road surfaces and seems to get confused when a pothole follows a speed bump or vice-versa or when two of each pop up within a second of each other. This upset the car on more than one occasion with a thud from rebound more than evident. However, given a nicer surface and a set of twisties, the X3 M is quick and feels more in control. It’s almost as if the atrocious road conditions tend to get the better of the electronic suspension’s temperament; and this isn’t the first car nor the most expensive car I’ve experienced this behaviour in.

On the large plus side, the M Servotronic steering feels fantastic; nicely weighted, precise, and responsive. The view out of the large windscreen, with the driver seat set almost to its minimum height, was still expansive and I found it easy to get accustomed to its dimensions. The M1 and M2 mode buttons can be extensively configured — six levels for the gear changes, two for the M xDrive, and three (Efficient or Comfort/Sport/Sport Plus) for the engine, suspension, and steering. That’s a lot of very specific choices for the driver.

What the BMW X3 M isn’t, however, is particular efficient. Yes, you can have fun and it comes at a price. At two tonnes, the blown 3.0 six needs a litre of petrol for every five kilometres in the city and, when shown an exponentially deteriorating open road, it can drop consumption by half to 10 km/l. BMW publish CO2 emissions at 239 g/km. At Rs 99.90 lakh (ex-showroom), the X3 M is an alternative few look for. A mid-size SUV that packs a punch within reasonably compact proportions? With the 476-hp AMG GLC 63 still absent and no sign of an RS Q5, there are few, if any, alternatives. The X3 M is not as much an M3 on stilts, for obvious reasons. That said, it’s unique in its own way.

BMW X3 M


Need to Know: BMW X3 M

Price: Rs 99.90 lakh (ex-showroom)

Mechanicals:
Engine: 2,993 cc, in-line six, twin-turbo, direct -injection, petrol
Max Power: 480 hp @ 6,250-7,200 rpm
Max Torque: 600 Nm @ 2,600-5,600 rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed, automatic, all-wheel drive
Suspension: Double-joint strut axle front, five-link axle rear, adaptive damping
Weight: 1,970 kg

Performance:
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 4.2 seconds (claimed)
Top Speed: 250 km/h (limited)
Fuel Efficiency (km/l): 5.0 city, 10.0 highway, 6.25 overall

 

About the author: Jim Gorde

 

Automotive Correspondent at Car India and Bike India.
Believes that learning never stops, and that diesel plug-in hybrids are the only feasible future.
t: @CarIndia/@BikeIndia
IG: @carindia_mag/@bikeindia

 

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