BMW X3 M (2012): the go-faster SUV

Published: 24 May 2011

BMW is readying a go-faster X3 M – a mid-sized SUV fettled by Munich’s M division. The new X3 M is set for launch as early as 2012, according to well placed BMW sources contacted by CAR.

The X3 M might even feature a new type of turbocharging being developed in Germany. Yes, the era of the tri-turbo is dawning…

Uh-oh. I thought the X5 M and X6 M were 4x4s too far…

Purists may want to look away now. But with the exception of the frumpy X1, all X model lines in future will be available with the full M division treatment, CAR understands.

We’ve already seen the X5 M and X6 M – stonking high-performance SUVs powered by twin-turbo V8s – but now the M treatment is stretching down to the smaller X3 range, BMW’s popular 4×4 line which is currently sold out in the UK until February 2012.

CAR understands the all-new X3 M will be powered by a tweaked variant of the new M3 straight six which will power the next-generation BMW M3 (we’ll see the new 3-series in late 2011, with UK sales kicking off in 2012).

How quick will the new 2012 BMW X3 M be?

This will be no shrinking violet. Provisionally rated at 449bhp, the high-performance straight six may even feature three turbochargers (one electric, plus a pair of exhaust-gas driven ones) and a slightly bigger displacement (3.2 instead of 3.0 litres).

We expect the new X3 M to cost around £50,000, slotting above the current range-topping X3 30d M Sport at £39,625.

The next-gen BMW X5 M and X6 M

The next X5M and X6M retain the twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8 which goes up in performance from 555 to 564bhp. Even more significant is the 10-15% gain in efficiency.

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By Georg Kacher

European editor, secrets uncoverer, futurist, first man behind any wheel