BMW set to extend full-blooded M treatment to X3 and X4

Camouflaged models of high-performance SUVs are being previewed ahead of a possible sales release next year.

BMW is really on a ball with their X models!

Within only a few days, BMW has announced a raft of performance SUVs with slightly different concepts.

First up was the X5 xDrive45e coming with a 394hp petrol-electric plug-in hybrid. Then came the X2 M35i sporting the brand’s first four-cylinder petrol motor capable of more than 300hp.

Now there’s the X3 M (coded F97) and X4 M (F98) which are being officially teased here with camouflage undergoing tests at the Nurburgring track in Germany before a possible sales release next year.

Not much is being mentioned yet about the full-blooded M models of BMW’s mid-sized SUVs, although the suits in Munich are keen to stress some design cues like the enlarged air vents and quad exhaust pipes. 

They are also talking about an M differential lock placed on the rear axles of both all-wheel drive SUVs to handle power in the most effective manner as possible.

Will they be powered by that six-potter used in the M3 and M4?

There’s a good chance that the X3 M and X4 M will be powered by that 3.0-litre twin-turbo sixer, which has recently been extended to the M2 Competition albeit with lower power.

Some people are suggesting that this S55-tagged motor would need to be improved for the new fiery SUVs and could morph into a more powerful version bearing the S58 code.

Power for the X3 M and X4 M could range anywhere between 450-500hp to keep some distance from the lower M40i outfit, which uses a single-turbo variation producing 355hp for a 4.8sec 0-100kph time.

More crucial are the Mercedes-Benz GLC63 models whose 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8 makes 476hp (4.0sec) in regular form and 510hp (3.8sec) in S guise. BMW could be adopting a similar two-output offering by introducing the Competition badge for the go-faster one.

Can they really sell in Thailand?

That remains to be seen, even if Mercedes has just started selling the locally finished GLC43 Coupe (a direct rival for the X4 M40i, that isn’t sold in Thailand) with 367hp of power going for less than five million baht.

Many people say that anything costing more than that price level would tempt potential buyers in Thailand to Porsches relishing brand image more than performance credentials.

Which is why the 500hp SUVs from BMW and Mercedes would probably appeal only to die-hard fans of fast SUVs that don’t bear a badge from somewhere else.

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