The X3 M Competition is the first of four SUVs from BMW that have been given the M performance division’s blessing. Its 3.0-liter dual turbo 6-cylinder engine produces 473 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque out of the gate, but the “Competition” portion increases it to 503 horsepower. With the help of an 8-speed automatic transmission and BMW’s xDrive AWD system, it is distributed to all four wheels.

In addition to increasing power, the Competition package gives the already M-ed-out X3 even more sporty additions including distinctive 21-inch wheels, smoked-out features like the kidney grille frame, dual tailpipes, and a beige and black leather interior. However, the particular matte or “frozen” variations, such Frozen Marina Bay Blue metallic, really stand out when combined with these darker materials. The frosting process appears to be expensive. $650 for glistening Marina Bay Blue. $4,500 for Frozen. You must decide whether it is worthwhile or whether you should simply let it go.

Overall, the X3 M has an aggressive and tense appearance that is nonetheless considered conservative in comparison to BMW’s current wacky design aesthetic. Beyond the proportioned kidney grille, there is a complex facia and headlights with LED running lamps that have a distinct light character. Stylish tail lamps and sunk-in sides complete a package that makes a statement without offending anyone’s sense of style.

So long as the driver doesn’t push the limits of their sport seats, anyone in the back seats should feel reasonably comfortable. While two passengers have enough room for lengthy trips, three people can sit shoulder to shoulder in reasonable comfort.

The driving experience may be tailored in a variety of ways, as is typical for BMW vehicles, including by independently altering the drive inputs, damper stiffness, and other detailed settings. The X3 M’s capabilities are mostly determined by its driving modes, including its ability to engage in some light off-roading, but this is more for navigating less-than-ideal weather than for exploring the wilderness. When you tell someone who just spent $4,500 on exterior painting that you want to go overlanding in their X3 M, they will provide you with a plethora of short piers for your long stroll.

Overall, the X3 M succeeds in being highly livable and packing a big scoop of M Division personality, but that does come at the sacrifice of fuel efficiency. The X3 M averages 17 MPG in terms of fuel economy even when it isn’t asking to go on a run. Not a surprise, but it won’t help much to lessen the blow when it comes time to refuel.


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