The 2020 BMW X3 M Competition isn't exactly news at this point; it was unveiled earlier this year. It was ripped around Monticello Motor Club by all of the usual suspects for the initial round of reviews. However, Car and Driver just published their "Instrumented Test" of the X3 M Competition, and in typical BMW fashion, some of the performance figures are off.
As fast sedans (and sedans in general) are slowly disappearing from the US market, it's no surprise that SUVs are quickly filling the gaps left behind. High-horsepower "super" SUVs are nothing new. With the hype (and controversy) around seemingly every company coming out with a full lineup of them now, it's easy to forget about the early to mid-2000s. Cars like the BMW X5 4.8is, Porsche Cayenne Turbo, and even the original Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8. Fifteen to nearly twenty years ago now, these SUVs paved the way for today's market.
Straight from BMW's spec sheet, the 2020 X3 M Competition ships with 503 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque, pushed out by their all-new S58 engine. If you didn't know, the S58 is more than just a beefed-up B58 with an additional turbo slapped on for good measure. The S58 only shares roughly one-tenth of its parts with the B58—notably, the crank, connecting rods, and pistons are now forged. These power figures slot the X3 M Comp right in with cars like the sleek Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio and the Mercedes-AMG GLC63 S.
Since the initial test drives, comments from automotive journalists have made their rounds that the SUV feels faster than BMW's advertised numbers. Numbers that are very, very, far from slow. Always the most discussed figure and the one that almost every new car is judged on is the time from 0-60mph. BMW advertises their 2020 X3 M Competition making the sprint to 60mph in 4-seconds flat. With Car and Driver's most recent test, they confirmed everyone's suspicions that the X3 M Comp is indeed much faster than what BMW claims. 0-60mph in just 3.3 seconds. That's only a tenth of a second off of the $200,000 Lamborghini Urus. That makes the $78,000 X3 M Competition a bargain, right?
Although the spotlight is always on that 0-60 number, one of the standout figures from Car and Driver's test is the lateral g-force pulled on the skidpad. For reference, the outgoing BMW M3 Competition pulled .99 g in the same skidpad testing. The X3 M Competition that weighs 900lbs more and has a considerably higher center of gravity was able to hold .97 g—granted, the massive staggered set of tires helps achieve these numbers.
If you were to look at the spec sheet of the X3 M Competition, without knowing what car those numbers represent, it'd be easy to think that what you're looking at is a sport sedan or even a proper sport coupe. With these results, why wouldn't you want the SUV over the sedan? More ground clearance, easier ingress/egress, more interior storage and headroom, the list goes on. With the technological advances of tires, adaptive suspensions, modern materials, and engines, maybe it's time to look at these new "Super" SUVs with a fresh set of eyes.
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Writer/Editor at FCP Euro and owner of a daily R53 MINI Cooper, a track-built R53 MINI, and a 1997 Dakar Yellow E36 M3 Sedan. ••• Instagram: @evan.madore