As car people we often find ourselves wondering about the perfect two car solution, one that can satisfy the desire for the dozens that we want. What if instead of two cars, we could just find one that fits the ticket, enter the 2022 BMW X3M Competition. When BMW released the first M tuned X3 version in 2019, it offered the fantastic versatility of the standard X3 with a 473-horsepower punch under the hood. In this Competition variant, the mad scientists in the M division have achieved a fantastic 503-horsepower figure.
For the 2022 model year the X3 features a mid-cycle facelift that involves redesigned bumpers and lighting. The update keeps the already handsome looking crossover fresh, and the stunning 21-inch Style 832M wheels combined with the deep Urban Green colour from the BMW Individual selection make this crossover a real head turner.
On the inside, there are also minor improvements that keep the X3 with the times, the newest version of BMW’s iDrive is on tap and with the intuitive controller and handful of shortcut buttons the infotainment is a breeze to use. There is also an array of other buttons for functions like heated and cooled seats, which we are happy to see as they are right at an arm’s reach when you need them. We don’t love the fact that the heated and cooled functions are a coupled button, but still is a better setup than most.
The usual driver assistance suite is on deck here and most of it works well, aside from the somewhat annoying lane keep assist, which not only did a poor job or keeping the lane, but was also frustratingly aggressive. On the topic of tech, we also have wireless charging as well as wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and audio is piped in through an excellent 16-speaker Harman-Kardon stereo. The iDrive display is a 12.3-inch display, a twp-inch update from the previous version.
The interior also features many M-specific components such as the gauge cluster which can be customised and can be put in a track-oriented mode that gives the driver just the necessary information for performance driving. There are also other track-oriented features on the interior such as the Competition-specific bucket seats. All the materials on the interior are fantastic in standard BMW fashion and the carbon fibre bits are nicely done.
Interior room is one of the factors that make the X3M an interesting proposition, as it shares the interior specs with the standard X3. By no means is this vehicle cavernous, but it still is able to provide 813-liters of cargo capacity with all seats in place, and a respectable 1,775 with the second row folded. For those with children or hobbies that require space, the X3M can be the vehicle that you use for daily driving duties as well as some spirited track driving.
On the drivetrain front, we have some pretty standard M bits. Up front we have the M TwinPower turbo 3.0-liter inline-six-cylinder engine. There is no getting past it, this 2022 BMW X3M Competition is blisteringly quick with a 0-100 km/h time of just 3.8 seconds. With 508 horsepower and 479 lb-ft. of torque the X3M is a powerhouse. Power is sent to the wheels through a ZF sourced eight-speed automatic and active M differential. Power delivery can be silky smooth or brutal depending on the drive mode, and what is also nice is the standard M1 and M2 buttons that can be configured to your liking, which enables the driver to set up the chassis dynamics, and engine and transmission characteristics however they please.
Although the suspension tuning of the X3M can be adapted on the fly, it was one of the sore spots in our testing, both figuratively and literally. The X3M’s suspension is too stiff, and although that tight setup feels genuinely amazing for the short time that you want to really drive it hard, but for the 90 percent of the time you don’t, it’s just a pain. We feel the tuning is very close to ideal, it just needs to be softened a bit for the day to day.
Fuel economy for what it matters isn’t the best. You can expect 15.7L/100km in the city, 11.7L/100km on the highway and a 13.9L/100km combined. We managed closer to 14.0L/100km combined with a good amount of spirited driving. Although fuel economy may not matter for most M buyers, the X3 may be an exception as it will probably see more daily driving than most other motorsport BMW models.
So, what does it cost to have a cool crossover? The base price for the 2022 X3M Competition starts at $93,700. Our tester was equipped with the Premium Package which we would recommend as it adds the head-up display, parking assistant with surround view camera and ventilated front seats and heated rear seats, in addition to some other small items for $4,500. We would also recommend the $2,000 Advanced Driver Assistance Package. With the addition of some aesthetics on our vehicle like the gorgeous Urban Green individual paint job for $3,900, our as-tested price tallies up to $106,700.
Does the 2022 BMW X3M Competition satisfy the place of the two-car solution? I think the answer really depends on your lifestyle; for those who can compromise on fuel economy and stiff suspension the X3M seems like the perfect one-car solution. We love how much performance capability BMW was able to squeeze out of the X3M Competition, however we feel the X3 M40i will be a better daily for most, with the added benefit of being substantially cheaper.