Like a jungle cat lounging in the sun, the 2024 BMW X3 M has a ferocity lying in wait to be unleashed. Based on the tamer BMW X3 compact crossover, the X3 M relies on a twin-turbocharged six-cylinder engine producing up to 503 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque in the Competition trim. Stomping on the accelerator brings about a chorus of yelping and snarling through its quad exhaust tips as power is fed to all four wheels. Setting the car in rear-drive drift mode allows the X3 M to hang its tail out, giving drivers plenty of opportunity for fun. Outside of an overly firm ride, the X3 M offers the same luxury experience as the standard X3, with attractive materials, an adult-friendly second row, and plenty of cargo space. Drivers in search of a slightly more comfortable performance SUV should check out competitors like the Porsche Macan GTS or the Mercedes-AMG GLC-Class.
What’s New for 2024?
BMW is abiding by the mantra, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” and the 2024 X3 M arrives for the new model year with no significant changes other than a minor price bump.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
We want the extra power and enhanced equipment that comes with the Competition model. It adds a gloss-black grille and mirror caps and nets a standard sport exhaust system and black 21-inch wheels (versus 20s on the regular M). Its interior upgrades include distinct “M” badging, more supportive front seats, and richer Merino leather. Among the myriad options, we’d also select the Executive and M Driver’s packages. The former adds copious luxuries such as a head-up display, a heated steering wheel, gesture controls, a panoramic sunroof, self-parking assist, and wireless smartphone charging. The latter unlocks a higher top speed (177 mph versus 155) and one day of professional driving lessons.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
This crossover’s twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline-six-cylinder is as smooth as it is powerful. The BMW mill has been massaged by the M performance division to make between 473 and 503 horsepower and between 457 and 479 pound-feet of torque. The extra power is reserved for the Competition model, which also adds a standard sport exhaust system and 21-inch wheels. Every X3 M comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission and an all-wheel-drive system that can send 100 percent of the engine’s torque to the back wheels when needed. The 2023 X3 M Competition we tested was absurdly quick and shockingly agile for what it is. It ripped to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds, closed the gap between 50 and 70 mph in 3.1 ticks, and completed the quarter-mile in 11.5 seconds at 119 mph. For context, the BMW M3 sports sedan is slightly slower than the SUV to 60 mph, hitting that mark in 3.5 seconds. The M3 pulls away from the X3 M in the quarter-mile, though. The X3 M also stops from 70 mph in the same 146 feet as that sedan and circles our skidpad with an impressive 0.97 g of grip. The X3 M might be too hardcore for most people to appreciate every day, as its ride is very firm even with the standard adaptive dampers in their softest setting. The thick-rimmed steering wheel transmits a respectable amount of feedback, with the steering never stopping us from enjoying the lower limits of its impressive capabilities.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The X3 M with or without the Competition package is expected to earn 15 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway. Those figures fall significantly short of rivals such as the 505-hp Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio (with 17 and 23 mpg, respectively). However, the Bimmer performed better in the real world. On our 75-mph highway fuel-economy route, which is part of our extensive testing regimen, the X3 M delivered 25 mpg. For comparison, we observed 21 mpg in the Stelvio QF. For more information about the X3 M’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The X3 M shares its interior design with the regular X3. The full-blown M version enjoys more standard features and an assortment of exclusive details. The latter mainly consists of “M” badging, red drive-mode buttons on the steering wheel, and aggressively bolstered front seats. The Competition package brings front chairs with even more bolstering. Throughout the cabin, attractive materials show off BMW’s adherence to upscale aesthetics. Along with this crossover’s standard leather upholstery and selectable interior accents, BMW has provided a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, 14-way power front seats, customizable ambient interior lighting, and heated front-seat cushions. Still not swanky enough? Buyers can opt for finer leather and a host of premium options, including a head-up display, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a panoramic sunroof, and side window shades in the rear. There’s plenty of passenger space for all, as well as a generous amount of cargo room. We managed to fit seven carry-on suitcases behind the X3’s rear seat and 20 with the seatbacks folded. Buyers of the mechanically similar X4 M will give up some of that space to that model’s dramatically sloped rear end.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Every X3 M comes with a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system that offers myriad control methods. In addition to the touch capability of the screen, BMW provides a physical volume knob on the center stack and controls on the steering wheel. There’s also a rotary controller on the center console surrounded by shortcut buttons. Popular standard features include a 16-speaker Harman/Kardon stereo, built-in navigation, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and charging ports throughout the cabin. Those who want even more bells and whistles can add gesture controls and wireless charging via the comprehensive Executive package.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The compact luxury crossover has an entire suite of standard driver-assistance technology as well as a handful of optional equipment such as self-parking assist. For more information about the X3 M’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard blind-spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert
- Standard lane-departure warning
- Available adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
BMW provides a competitive limited warranty and average powertrain protection plan compared with its luxury rivals. While the company’s complimentary maintenance plan is shorter than Jaguar’s, it’s significantly better than what others offer in this class.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for three years or 36,000 miles
2023 BMW X3 M Competition
Vehicle Type: front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door wagon
Base/As Tested: $82,395/$94,745
Options: Le Mans Blue Metallic paint, $3750; Executive package (head-up display, heated steering wheel, panoramic roof, gesture control, front and rear heated seats), $3650; M Driver’s package, $2500; Driving Assistance Professional package, $1700; wireless charging, $500; M Shadowline lights, $250
twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve inline-6, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 183 in3, 2993 cm3
Power: 503 hp @ 6250 rpm
Torque: 479 lb-ft @ 2750 rpm
Suspension, F/R: struts/multilink
Brakes, F/R: 15.6-in vented, cross-drilled disc/14.6-in vented, cross-drilled disc
Tires: Michelin Pilot Sport 4S
F: 255/40ZR-21 (102Y) ★
R: 265/40ZR-21 (105Y) ★
Wheelbase: 112.8 in
Length: 186.0 in
Width: 74.7 in
Height: 65.7 in
Passenger Volume, F/R: 55/45 ft3
Cargo Volume, Behind F/R: 63/29 ft3
Curb Weight: 4560 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 3.2 sec
100 mph: 8.0 sec
1/4-Mile: 11.5 sec @ 119 mph
130 mph: 14.3 sec
150 mph: 21.8 sec
Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.2 sec.
Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 4.5 sec
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 2.6 sec
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 3.1 sec
Top Speed (mfr’s claim): 177 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 152 ft
Braking, 100–0 mph: 301 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.96 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 19 mpg
75-mph Highway Driving: 25 mpg
75-mph Highway Range: 430 mi
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 17/15/20 mpg
C/D TESTING EXPLAINED
More Features and Specs