It would be easy to mount an argument against the need for a 375kW smallish SUV. But for the love of motoring who gives a rats. BMW has unleashed the BMW X3M and X4 Competition rockets to the Australian market and I for one think that’s tops. Now this won’t be a typical weeklong drive review, because I only had one day in M Town. But more on that in a sec.
What is it?
The BMW X3 M and X4 M Competition variants are two of the most powerful X SUV models you can buy. The whole M Town concept is a global marketing campaign so BWM M prospective buyers and current M customers can feel part of a club. Someone actually asked me where M Town is during the week, well to be honest it’s everywhere. The idea revolves around a digital and social communication platform to get the word out about the high-performance aspirational models in the BWM line-up.
The X3 and X4 have been transformed into something quite mental really. BMW Australia claims it first became aware of the two models back in October 2014. It must take a handful of people with a steal trap mouth not to let that slip for five years.
Behind the wheel
Both models are everything you’d expect from a M car, with the added Competition pack. The engine is 90 per cent new and even some 3D printing has been used for some components. It takes four cooling systems to keep these petrol TwinPower Turbos from melting into the tarmac, or in this instance the fine powdery bulldust found near the Flinders Rangers in South Australia.
My ‘Behind the wheel’ experience was literally limited to thrashing both cars around an enormous claypan. The surface was deadest, like driving on snow, so all my driving was spent sideways while wondering how on earth these cars will ever be cleaned.
The key to driving on this surface was a 4WD Sport Mode, which I reckon sends at least 90 per cent of power to the rear wheels. It was just an incredible experience, one that doesn’t prove much to a buyer, but the good people at BMW certainly understand optics!
Aside from my video, I’m going to have to reserve saying more when we get a drive in the real world.
The 3.0-litre six-cylinder TwinPower Turbo produces 375kW/600Nm on both models. Power is sent to all-four wheels on demand via the xDrive system through an eight-speed transmission. The redline sits at 7,200rpm, the highest ever. Both cars can scoot to 100km/h in 4.1 seconds, although under four seconds is almost guaranteed given the right circumstances.
The X3 M & X4 M Competition have everything you need in this area. There’s a new head up display that’s very detailed, plus a full array of driver safety technology you’d expect at this level. The red start/stop button is there, joined by the M1 and M2 buttons. The latter, found on the super chunky M steering wheel, alter the driving dynamics dramatically, depending on your mood.
The X3 M Competition starts from $157,900 while the X4 M Competition kicks off at $164,900. You can pick a BMM M Competition car via the host of glossy black trim found sprinkled around the car. Both are backed via a five year/80,000km warranty. Although extra cover is available via a Basic $3,685 package or a $8,173 Plus package, it just depends on how hard you intend on pushing your car.
Why would you buy one?
Certainly not to drive on a claypan. I guess to be a tad different. I’d go for the X3 M every time, I’m not sold on the X4 body shape.
They say M Town is ‘Utopia for all car lovers – where too much is just right.’. With BMW SUVs accounting for 59 per cent of sales here it makes sense to further jazz up the X line-up. I’ve just driven the X7 xDrive30d and I can tell you that’s one heck of a car. But for now, given this was no road test I can only give a score based on the fun I had on the day, it’s an 8.9 out of 10 from me.