If ever the BMW X3 M Competition and X4 M Competition needed anything it was MORE POWER. Rather nicely, then, BMW has given both cars just that (or to be more precise, more torque), as well as the same round of visual and tech upgrades that BMW Ireland has just revealed for the standard X3 and X4.
0.3 seconds quicker to 100km/h
How much extra torque? A whole 50Nm, bringing the total to 650Nm, and by-the-by bringing the X3 M and X4 M into line with the latest BMW M3 and M4 Competition models. The twin-turbo setup, along with 'racetrack-proven cooling and oil supply concepts' are the same as before, and there's also twin catalysts and petrol particulate filters to ensure that the exhausts of this mighty (and noisy) powerplant are as clean as they possibly can be.
That extra torque has had quite the effect on performance - both the X3 M Competition and X4 M Competition now crack the 0-100km/h barrier in just 3.8 seconds. That's 0.3 seconds faster than the old models, or about the gap between McLaren and Red Bull on the current F1 grid. There's the usual 250km/h electronically limited maximum speed, but if you sign up for the optional M Driver's Package, that's lifted to a more Autobahn-friendly 285km/h.
The engine now gets the same lightweight forged crankshaft as the M3 and M4 Competition cars, too, plus cylinder head internals that are actually 3D-printed. "This additive manufacturing process allows geometric shapes to be created that cannot be realised using conventional metal casting methods" says BMW M.
Needless to say, both the X3 M Competition and the X4 M Competition come with an adjustable sports exhaust (with both Sport and Sport+ modes) to make the most of the straight-six's naturally melodic nature. Power, as before, goes to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission with manual override paddles. The M xDrive four-wheel-drive setup is different to that of standard xDrive BMW models in that it basically sends all its power to the rear wheels most of the time, and only diverts power forwards if it detects the rear wheels are slipping and sliding. There's even an M Dynamic mode in the electronic control systems that makes the cars even more aggressively rear-drive, which delays the transmission of power to the front wheels, allowing for more in the way of sideways fun. Both X3 M and X4 M also get the Active M Differential that controls the power output to, and between, the rear wheels.
Unique M suspension
The X3 M Competition and X4 M Competition both come with suspension that's uniquely different from the standard X3 and X4 models, even if it shares the same basic geometry. There are M Adaptive dampers, with three modes - Comfort, Sport and Sport + - and there's a strut brace (optionally made of carbon-fibre) between the front suspension towers for extra lateral stiffness. The cars also get M Servotronic steering that can vary the amount of power assistance and steering ratio, depending on what settings you have the car in and how you're driving. The steering also reacts to the Comfort, Sport or Sport + settings, incidentally.
The Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) traction and stability system is also plugged into the whole M Dynamic Mode setup, so that it allows more slippage when you want it, but reins everything tightly in when you just want to get home safely on a rainy day. Happily for hooligans, you can switch it off entirely. At your own peril, of course...
Both cars get 21-inch wheels as standard, and behind them you'll find 395mm front brake discs, with 370mm rotors at the back. They're 'compound' brakes, mixing steel and aluminium for optimal weight and heat dissipation. There are blue, M-badged four-piston fixed calipers at the front and single-piston floating calipers at the rear. The wheels are a new M-forged design, which BMW says saves 2kg of weight per wheel.
At the front, both cars get the same larger kidney grille and flatter, slimmer lights as per the standard X3 and X4 model updates. The grille gets a black frame and black M bars, as well as a black centre panel that houses the forward-looking parking camera. The lights are Matrix LED units as standard, or you can have them in 'Shadow Line' (that means with a black surround), or upgrade to the scorching BMW Laser lights, with their 650-metre main beam and automatic anti-dazzle function.
New aero package
There's a new bumper and air intake setup, as well as 'air breather' gills in the wheelarches, and M aero-optimised wing mirrors. The X3 M Competition gets a big roof-mounted rear spoiler, while the X4 M Competition has a flick-up 'Gurney Flap' spoiler at the edge of the rear hatch. There's also lashings of gloss-black trim and, optionally, carbon-fibre mirror caps and rear spoiler.
Underneath the back is a big diffuser that helps channel air out from under the car, and - for the X4 M Competition - exhaust pipes finished in 'Black Chrome.' Paint finishes include M Carbon Black metallic and M Brooklyn Grey metallic, plus M Marina Bay Blue metallic and M Sao Paulo Yellow, as well as BMW Individual options such as Frozen Marina Bay Blue.
BMW M cabin upgrades
Inside, the X3 M Competition and X4 M Competition get the same tech and styling upgrades as the rest of the X3 and X4 ranges, but obviously there's a lot of M-specific stuff in there too. Not just M badges - although there are a LOT of those - but also high-back seats with illuminated logos and electrically adjustable headrests. There's Merino leather upholstery, and you can have that in black, or if you want something a little louder, 'bicolour' variants in Sakhir Orange/Black, Adelaide Grey/Sakhir Orange or Midrand Beige/Black. Or you can have the whole lot in a warm brown called Tartufo. The seatbelts get M stripes (of course).
The gear selector is now shared with the M3 and M4 Competition models, and comes with an integral selector that lets you pick the violence with which the eight-speed gearbox goes between cogs, and there's also the bright-red starter button and the twin red M1 and M2 buttons on the steering wheel, which allow you to move quickly between pre-set driving modes.
There's an optional 12.3-inch digital instrument panel, a head-up display and a 12.3-inch infotainment screen running the latest BMW 7th generation software as well. There's a load of options, too, including heated and ventilated seats, a heated steering wheel, and heated rear seats.