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2022 BMW X3 M

Starting at $71,095

8.5/10 C/D RATING
Specs
2022 bmw x3 m competition euro spec front
BMW
8.5/10 C/D RATING

Select a year

  • Highs Acceleration shames some sports cars, athleticism defies physics, more functional than any BMW sedan.
  • Lows Stiff-legged ride quality, too many possible drive-modes adjustments, loses on fuel economy—if anyone cares.
  • Verdict The mighty BMW X3 M has the power and handling to scare average SUV shoppers while it exhilarates adrenalin-obsessed thrill seekers.
By Eric Stafford

Overview

With agility and quickness that's more akin to a lithe sports car than a chunky crossover, the 2022 BMW X3 M has the power to destroy expectations. Its façade looks fiercer than the more familiar BMW X3 that it's based on, and once the driver flattens the M's accelerator or bends it into a fast corner the performance chasm between the two will be confirmed. With a mellifluous twin-turbo straight-six engine that makes up to 503 horsepower and an all-wheel-drive system that puts that power to the ground (and lets the ute's booty slide around in rear-drive drift mode), the X3 M is wildly entertaining or utterly terrifying, depending on the driver's skill level and respect for physics. An adult-friendly back seat and ample cargo space also make it more practical than most other BMW M cars. The 2022 X3 M's only major flaws are its overly firm ride and excessive, overly complicated array of possible drive-mode settings, but those penalties pale in comparison with its incredible performance.

What's New for 2022?

For 2022, BMW gives the high-performance X3 M higher performance courtesy of new engine tuning and internal components from the M3 sedan and M4 coupe. While horsepower ratings remain the same, the regular X3 M now makes 457 pound-feet (up 13), and the Competition variant makes 479 pound-feet (up 37). BWM says the added torque lowers the SUV's already nosebleed-inducing zero-to-60-mph time even further. Competition models also roll on a set of lighter-weight 21-inch wheels. The 2022 X3 M also wears a more exaggerated face than before–yes, the grille is larger–and there are some tweaks to the rear styling, including a set of striking taillights. Inside, the cabin receives several restyled design elements and updated switchgear. The driver now faces a 12.3-inch fully digital gauge cluster, and a larger 12.3-inch touchscreen replaces the older 10.3-inch unit.

Pricing and Which One to Buy

    With one model to choose from and a starting price that's already above $70k, we want the extra power and enhanced equipment that comes with the Competition package. It adds a gloss-black grille and mirror caps and nets a standard sport exhaust system and black 21-inch wheels (versus 20s on the regular M). Its interior upgrades include distinct "M" badging, more supportive front seats, and richer Merino leather. Among the myriad options, we'd also select the Executive and M Driver's packages. The former adds copious luxuries such as a head-up display, a heated steering wheel, gesture controls, a panoramic sunroof, self-parking assist, and wireless smartphone charging. The latter unlocks a higher top speed (177 mph versus 155) and one day of professional driving lessons.

    Engine, Transmission, and Performance

    This crossover's twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline-six-cylinder is as smooth as it is powerful. The BMW mill has been massaged by the M performance division to make between 473 and 503 horsepower and between 457 and 479 pound-feet of torque. The extra power is reserved for the Competition model, which also adds a standard sport exhaust system and 21-inch wheels. Every X3 M comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission and an all-wheel-drive system that can send 100 percent of the engine's torque to the back wheels when needed. The 2020 X3 M Competition we tested was absurdly quick and shockingly agile for what it is. It ripped to 60 mph in 3.3 seconds, closed the gap between 50 and 70 mph in 3.1 ticks, and completed the quarter-mile in 11.6 seconds at 119 mph. For context, a 2016 M3 Competition sedan is significantly slower than the SUV in the first and last measures. The X3 M also stops from 70 mph in the same 146 feet as that sedan and circles our skidpad with an impressive 0.97 g of grip. While the crazy crossover is too hardcore for most people to appreciate every day, its standard adaptive dampers provide a gentle enough ride in the softest setting. And its thick-rimmed steering wheel transmits a respectable amount of feedback, with the steering never stopping us from enjoying the lower limits of its impressive capabilities.

    2022 bmw x3 m competition euro spec rearView Photos
    BMW

    Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG

    The X3 M with or without the Competition package is expected to earn 14 mpg in the city and 19 mpg on the highway. Those figures fall significantly short of rivals such as the 505-hp Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio (with 17 and 23 mpg, respectively) and the 469-hp Mercedes-AMG GLC63 SUV (16 and 22 mpg). However, the Bimmer performed better in the real world. On our 75-mph highway fuel-economy route, which is part of our extensive testing regimen, the X3 M exceeded the government's highway rating by 7 mpg (26 mpg total). For comparison, we observed 20 mpg in the GLC63 SUV and 21 in the Stelvio QF, both of which missed their highway ratings by 2 mpg. For more information about the X3 M's fuel economy, visit the EPA's website.

    Interior, Comfort, and Cargo

    The 2022 X3 M shares its updated interior design with the regular X3, which was also lightly restyled inside and out. The full-blown M version enjoys more standard luxury features and an assortment of exclusive details. The latter mainly consists of "M" badging, red drive-mode buttons on the steering wheel, and aggressively bolstered front seats. The Competition package brings front chairs with even more bolstering. Throughout the cabin, attractive materials show off BMW's adherence to upscale aesthetics. Along with this crossover's standard leather upholstery and selectable interior accents, BMW has provided a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, 14-way power front seats, customizable ambient interior lighting, and heated front-seat cushions. Still not swanky enough? Buyers can opt for finer leather and a host of premium options, including a head-up display, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a panoramic sunroof, and side window shades in the rear. There's plenty of passenger space for all, as well as a generous amount of cargo room. We managed to fit seven carry-on suitcases behind the X3's rear seat and 20 with the seatbacks folded. Buyers of the mechanically similar X4 M will give up some of that space to that model's dramatically sloped rear end.

    Infotainment and Connectivity

    Every X3 M comes with a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system which offers myriad control methods. In addition to the touch capability of the screen, BMW provides a physical volume knob on the center stack and controls on the steering wheel. There's also a rotary controller on the center console surrounded by shortcut buttons. Popular standard features include a 16-speaker Harman/Kardon stereo, built-in navigation, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and charging ports throughout the cabin. Those who want even more bells and whistles can add gesture controls and wireless charging via the comprehensive Executive package.

    Safety and Driver-Assistance Features

    The compact luxury crossover has an entire suite of standard driver-assistance technology as well as a handful of optional equipment such as self-parking assist. For more information about the X3 M's crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:

    • Standard blind-spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert
    • Standard lane-departure warning
    • Available adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go technology

    Warranty and Maintenance Coverage

    BMW provides a competitive limited warranty and average powertrain protection plan compared with its luxury rivals. While the company's complimentary maintenance plan is shorter than Jaguar's, it's significantly better than what others offer in this class.

    • Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
    • Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
    • Complimentary maintenance is covered for three years or 36,000 miles

    Specifications

    Specifications

    2020 BMW X3 M Competition

    VEHICLE TYPE
    front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback

    PRICE AS TESTED
    $84,395 (base price: $77,895)

    ENGINE TYPE
    twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve inline-6, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection
    Displacement
    183 cu in, 2993 cc
    Power
    473 or 503 hp @ 7300 rpm
    Torque
    442 lb-ft @ 2600 rpm

    TRANSMISSION
    8-speed automatic

    CHASSIS
    Suspension (F/R): strut/multilink
    Brakes (F/R): 15.6-in vented, cross-drilled disc/14.6-in vented, cross-drilled disc
    Tires: Michelin Pilot Sport 4S, F: 255/40R-21 (103Y) ★ R: 265/40R-21 (105Y) ★

    DIMENSIONS
    Wheelbase: 112.8 in
    Length: 186.2 in
    Width: 74.7 in
    Height: 65.7 in
    Passenger volume: 100 cu ft
    Cargo volume: 29 cu ft
    Curb weight: 4549 lb

    C/D
    TEST RESULTS
    Rollout, 1 ft: 0.2 sec
    60 mph: 3.3 sec
    100 mph: 8.0 sec
    150 mph: 21.4 sec
    Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 4.7 sec
    Top gear, 30–50 mph: 2.6 sec
    Top gear, 50–70 mph: 3.1 sec
    ¼-mile: 11.6 sec @ 119 mph
    Top speed (governor limited, mfr's claim): 161 mph
    Braking, 70–0 mph: 146 ft
    Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.97 g

    C/D
    FUEL ECONOMY
    Observed: 17 mpg
    75-mph highway driving: 25 mpg
    Highway range: 430 miles

    EPA FUEL ECONOMY
    Combined/city/highway: 16/14/19 mpg

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