Two, or rather four, to tango with adversaries in hot new segment Pic: SUPPLIED
Two, or rather four, to tango with adversaries in hot new segment Pic: SUPPLIED

BMW has launched rivals to Mercedes-AMG and Porsche in the premium and medium sports SUV segment. The Mercedes-AMG GLC63 and Porsche Macan Turbo will henceforth have to contend with the new BMW X3M and X4M.

The duo packs BMW’s signature 3.0l six-cylinder bi-turbo engine derived from the current M3/M4. Beefed up with a forged crankshaft, fuel injection pressure raised from 200 bar to 350 bar, including track-developed oil and cooling systems and a host of other mechanical enhancements, they have outputs of 353kW/600Nm in basic form — a notable hike over the 317kW and 550Nm of the M4 sedan.

In an unprecedented move by BMW, the new pair of SUV slammers debuts in two versions — standard and Competition form, the latter’s performance output raised by 22kW to 375kW. Both versions are mated to an eight-speed M Steptronic transmission with Drivelogic, with a set of adjustability measures to fine-tune the transmission to driver’s preferences from whip-crack sharp responses to relaxed and docile.

A new M xDrive all-wheel-drive system derived from that used in the current BMW M5 is attached to a chassis with adaptive dampers in the new models. It has a rear bias and offers two AWD driving modes. Performance claims are 4.2 seconds from 0-100 km/h for basic models while the Competitions will do it in 4.1 sec. Stronger M compound brakes hidden inside 21-inch M light-alloy wheels offer the stopping power.

The luxurious and sporting nature is reflected inside the cabins of the new X3M and X4M, including electrically adjustable merino leather sports seats, M-specific cockpit, M leather steering wheel, M gearshift selector lever, LED headlights, and ConnectedDrive navigation. It’s enhanced by M Sport seats with extended merino leather upholstery, model-specific door sill plates and a model nameplate on the centre console.

A fine balance is struck between the air luxury and sports in the cabins. Pic: SUPPLIED
A fine balance is struck between the air luxury and sports in the cabins. Pic: SUPPLIED

Exclusive elements to differentiate them from regular variants include high-gloss black accenters for the kidney grille surrounds, exterior mirror caps, and M gills, and a special rear spoiler for the X4M.

An M Sport exhaust with four ports and a significantly wilder battle cry comes as standard fitment.