THE 2021 BMW X3M COMPETITION
WORDS BY MARC BELCOURT / PHOTOS BY BRANDON REID
BMW M GmbH is refreshing the high-performance models of the Sports Activity Vehicle BMW X3 and the Sports Activity Coupé BMW X4 two years after their launch. In addition to new design features drawn from the BMW X3 and BMW X4, which have likewise been revised, along with M specific changes and a new operating concept, the new BMW X3 M Competition and the new BMW X4 M Competition also offer increased pulling power. The most powerful BMW in-line 6-cylinder petrol engine with a peak output of 503 hp – now also used in other BMW M models – has a maximum torque which has been increased by 37 lb-ft. to 479 lb-ft., enabling a 0.3-second improvement in the time required for the standard sprint from 0 to 100 km/h to 3.8 seconds. This puts the BMW X3 M Competition and the BMW X4 M Competition on a par with high-performance sports cars. The top speed is electronically cut off at 250 km/h. This limit is raised to 285 km/h in conjunction with the optional M Driver’s Package. The market launch of the new models is due to start in September 2021.
HIGH-REVVING AND WITH MOTOR RACING EXPERTISE.
The in-line 6-cylinder engine in the BMW X3 M Competition and BMW X4 M Competition now features the forged lightweight crankshaft of the BMW M3 and M4 models. Its extremely torsion-resistant design enables transmission of the particularly high torque, while its low weight and reduced rotating masses also benefit the engine’s revving power. The in-line 6-cylinder engine’s racetrack-proven cooling system is designed to enable an exceptionally high level of output and includes two laterally positioned radiators in addition to the central one. There is also an additional engine oil cooler and a separate transmission oil cooler. BMW M GmbH motor racing expertise is also evident in the design of the oil supply system, which is geared towards dynamic racetrack operation. The engine’s weight-optimised oil pan has two separate chambers and an integrated suction channel. An additional suction stage enables the map-controlled oil pump to deliver lubricant from the smaller oil sump, which serves as a volume buffer. In this way, a reliable oil supply is guaranteed at all times, even during extreme longitudinal and lateral acceleration.
M SPORTS EXHAUST AND 8-SPEED M STEPTRONIC TRANSMISSION.
The standard M sports exhaust system in the BMW X3 M Competition and BMW X4 M Competition enriches the engine sound characteristic of BMW M automobiles with the addition of a distinctly sonorous quality, especially when under intense load and at high engine speeds, thereby giving the sound even more of a motor racing touch for a particularly emotional driving experience – while fully retaining day-to-day practicality. The infinitely variable flaps of the M sports exhaust system allow for a highly varied sound production. Power is transmitted to the rear wheels via an 8-speed M Steptronic transmission with Drivelogic. In addition to fully automatic gear changes, it also enables manual shifting with sequential selection of the drive position. In addition to the new M gear selector in the centre console, shift paddles on the steering wheel are also available for this purpose. In manual mode, multiple downshifts can be made to the lowest possible gear so as to be able to harness the engine drag torque for braking purposes. When accelerating, no forced upshift is triggered even when the engine is revved up.
M XDRIVE ALL-WHEEL DRIVE SYSTEM WITH REAR-WHEEL ORIENTATION.
The M xDrive all-wheel drive system also contributes to the high agility of the BMW X3 M Competition and BMW X4 M Competition, combining the traction benefits of power transmission to all four wheels with the proven dynamic qualities of classic rear-wheel drive. The electronically controlled M xDrive – which is networked with the DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) system – only directs part of the drive torque to the front axle when the rear wheels reach the limits of their power transmission capabilities. At the touch of a button, the driver can influence not only how the driving stability control works but also the distribution of drive torque between the front and rear wheels. The centrally controlled interaction of the M xDrive all-wheel drive system with the Active M Differential ensures loss-free transmission of engine power.
SUPERIOR DRIVING DYNAMICS IN HALLMARK M STYLE.
The BMW X3 M Competition and the BMW X4 M Competition provide an exceptional level of driving dynamics potential. Outstanding values in the areas of longitudinal and lateral acceleration, handling and deceleration go hand in hand with a high level of driving stability, neutral self-steering response and comfort characteristics that enhance suitability for day-to-day use and lengthy trips. The basis for this combination of agility, dynamics and precision that is so typical of BMW M automobiles is suspension technology that perfectly matches the high engine output and the M xDrive all-wheel drive system. The standard adaptive M suspension with specific set-up and electronically controlled dampers ensures both a high level of day-to-day comfort and extremely direct road contact, with limited wheel and body movement. The damping forces are ideally suited to cope with every situation on the road and set individually for each wheel at continuously varying levels by means of interior electromagnetically controlled valves. The basic characteristic of the dampers can be influenced at the touch of a button. Driving precision and response are based on extensive measures to reinforce the body and suspension attachment, for example an M specific strut package. The electromechanical M Servotronic steering and DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) also contribute to the typical M driving experience. In M Dynamic Mode, this system allows additional wheel slip to generate the self-steering response that is typical of M, enabling controlled drift manoeuvres when used on the race track, for example.
M COMPOUND BRAKE SYSTEM AND 21-INCH WHEELS AS STANDARD.
The performance characteristics of the BMW X3 M Competition and the BMW X4 M Competition are complemented by the high efficiency of the standard M compound brake system. The brake calipers bear the M logo and are finished in blue as standard or in high-gloss black or red on request. The perfectly matched overall package for maximum performance also includes the 21-inch wheels with mixed tires in 255/40 ZR21 at the front and 265/40 ZR21 at the rear. One new feature is the M forged wheel 892M Star Spoke in Jet Black burnished, which saves 2 kilograms of weight per wheel. As an alternative, the well-known M light alloy wheel 765M V-Spoke is likewise available in Jet Black burnished.
LARGER BMW KIDNEY GRILLE AND A MORE STRIKING FRONT SECTION.
The new BMW X3 M Competition and the new BMW X4 M Competition have the enlarged BMW kidney grille with its now one-piece frame and headlights that are around ten millimetres flatter, drawn from the likewise refreshed BMW X3 and BMW X4. A black bar in which the iCam is positioned provides visual separation of the BMW kidney grille, the frame of which is also finished in high-gloss black, as are the typical M double kidney bars. The radiator grille also features a vehicle-specific logo: X3 M or X4 M. In addition to the standard adaptive LED headlights with Matrix function, the BMW Laser Light is now also available as an optional extra. BMW M GmbH has designed the M specific front apron to be even more expressive. One particularly striking feature is the new, vertically arranged and elongated side air intakes: these are angled down towards the spoiler lip in a bend towards the centre of the vehicle, where they follow the hexagonal shape of the central air intake. They are framed by trim elements in high-gloss black, which is also used for the caps of the aerodynamically optimised M exterior mirrors and the characteristic M gills integrated in the air breathers, as well as the rear spoiler on the BMW X4 M Competition.
DISTINCTIVE REAR APRONS IN A NEW DESIGN AND NEW PAINT FINISHES.
The BMW X3 M Competition has the full-LED rear lights of the refreshed BMW X3 with a black surround and narrower illuminated graphics. The lower section of the rear apron is M specific and finished in high-gloss black. The large diffuser is flanked on the right and left by the tailpipe pairs of the M sports exhaust system, which are finished in black chrome. The new rear apron of the BMW X4 M Competition features a wide, offset insert in the shape of an anvil. Like the lateral air-curtain-panels, which also accommodate the now vertical reflectors, this is finished in high-gloss black, ensuring a particularly powerful overall impression. The two pairs of tailpipes in black chrome also frame the diffuser on the BMW X4 M Competition. In addition to M Carbon Black metallic and M Brooklyn Grey metallic, there are two new paint finishes reserved exclusively for the M Competition models of the X3 and X4, namely M Marina Bay Blue metallic and M Sao Paulo Yellow. In addition, a wide range of BMW Individual paint finishes will be made available for the first time.
M TYPICAL INTERIOR WITH NEW ACCENTS.
The BMW X3 M Competition and the BMW X4 M Competition feature M sports seats with electrically adjustable headrests and illuminated M logo as standard. In addition to the Merino leather upholstery in four colour combinations, the BMW Individual Merino leather upholstery in Tartufo is also available as an option. The air vents have new galvanised trim, the interior trims are now finished in dark Rhombicle aluminium as standard, and the new open-pore ash variant is available as an option. The M leather steering wheel with multifunction features contrast stitching in the BMW M colours and an open 6 o'clock spoke.
BMW LIVE COCKPIT PROFESSIONAL WITH INTELLIGENT NETWORKING.
The new BMW X3 M Competition and the new BMW X4 M Competition come equipped with BMW Live Cockpit Professional including Connected Drive as standard. Intelligent networking including innovative digital services based on BMW iDrive 7 – such as BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant, Connected Music and Remote Software Upgrade – enable particularly intense interaction between driver and vehicle. Intuitive multi-modal operation has been further optimised: depending on the situation, the driver has a choice between touch operation on the Control Display, the tried-and-tested BMW Controller, the multifunction buttons on the steering wheel and voice control. A Harman/Kardon surround sound system is standard for a superb audio experience. BMW Live Cockpit Professional offers a fully digital display network: the high-resolution instrument cluster behind the steering wheel and the Control Display each have a screen diagonal of 12.3 inches. The fully digital instrument display offers, among other things, the M View with specific displays adopted from the BMW M8 models. M specific display content is also available with the optional BMW Head-Up Display. The cloud-based navigation system BMW Maps offers particularly fast and precise calculation of routes and arrival times, real-time traffic data updates at short intervals and free text input for selecting navigation destinations. In addition, BMW Maps with Connected Parking provides drivers with even more detailed support in the search for a vacant parking space near their destination. What is more, On-Street Parking Information is integrated in the range of BMW Maps functions.
SMARTPHONE INTEGRATION AND BMW INTELLIGENT PERSONAL ASSISTANT.
Another standard feature is optimised smartphone integration. Android Auto can now also be used with the vehicle’s operating system in addition to Apple CarPlay. Here, the driver can view all the important information from the apps on the Control Display and also – in intelligently processed form – in the instrument cluster and the optional Head-Up Display. The capabilities of the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant are being expanded on an ongoing basis. With the digital companion, naturally spoken instructions can now be used to regulate the air conditioning, open and close the windows or change the driving experience switch modes, for instance. It can also access the new News app, which reads out the latest news to passengers, and learn routines that increase comfort and driving pleasure in certain situations.
REMOTE SOFTWARE UPGRADE AND BMW DRIVE RECORDER.
BMW Operating System 7 now also includes Remote Software Upgrade. This means that the BMW X3 M Competition and the BMW X4 M Competition always remain up to date with the latest software. The upgrades can include different content from new services to improved vehicle features and can be loaded "over-the-air". It is also possible to integrate additional vehicle functions in the vehicle at a later date, such as the new BMW Drive Recorder, which records video images around the vehicle.
NEW CONTROL ISLAND FROM THE CURRENT BMW M3 AND M4 MODELS.
Originating from the current BMW M3 and M4 models, the newly designed control island on the centre console includes two new buttons in addition to the specific M gear selector with Drivelogic rocker switch, the BMW Controller and the red engine start button, which is now positioned here. The set-up button provides direct access to all settings options for the engine and suspension: it is used to access a menu in the Control Display that lists the current vehicle settings. Two individually configured variants of the M set-up can be permanently stored and retrieved at any time using the two M buttons on the steering wheel. The M Mode button can be used to influence the activities of the driver assistance systems as well as the displays in the instrument cluster and in the Head-Up Display at the touch of a button, thereby enabling a driving experience to be created that is appropriate to the situation and typical of M in each case.
DRIVING ASSISTANT PROFESSIONAL AVAILABLE FOR THE FIRST TIME.
The BMW X3 M Competition and the BMW X4 M Competition come with all the modern driver assistance systems of the BMW X3 and BMW X4. In addition to the Driving Assistant, the Driving Assistant Professional is available as an option for the first time. It includes Active Cruise Control with improved functionality in the city, intersection warning with additional city braking function, emergency lane assistant and the improved steering/lane guidance assistant. The 3D environment visualisation in the instrument cluster provides an overview of which Driving Assistant Professional assistance systems are activated and what functions they offer. The optional Parking Assistant Plus now also includes the Back-Up Assistant, which helps retrace a completed line in reverse. Parking Assistant Plus uses Park View, Panorama View and 3D Top View to create a 360-degree image of the vehicle and its surroundings from various perspectives. Meanwhile, the driver can have a three-dimensional live image of their vehicle and its surroundings transmitted to their smartphone by means of Remote.