The 2020 BMW X3 M Competition is, perhaps, the answer to a question no one was asking -- at least, no one that I know, anyway. BMW's engineers have managed to imbue the upright, doughy chassis of thewith the athletic soul of the legendary , then went on to kick it up an extra notch with Competition-spec power and grip. Perhaps most impressively, this bizarre chimera doesn't feel like a hot mess when pushed to its limits; it's actually a competent performer.
But at what cost? In the pursuit of class-bending performance, the brutal X3 M Competition must delicately balance comfort compromises, a hefty price tag and the realities of physics. Yes, it's a silly good time, but it's also tough to recommend with a straight face.
The 2020 BMW X3 M and the more hardcore M Competition are both powered by BMW's 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged six-cylinder engine. The X3 M makes 473 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque. The M Competition steps up to an even more epic 503 ponies thanks to increased boost pressure (18.9 psi vs. 17.4 psi) and a freer-flowing exhaust. In Competition tune, the so-called S58 engine is the most powerful production I6 engine BMW has ever built.
The Good ~ Turbocharged I6 makes 503 horsepower in Competition spec ~ Handling and braking hardware also see serious upgrades ~ M1, M2 shortcuts put drive mode changes at the flick of a thumb ~ A total hoot to drive
The Bad ~ Ride quality is harsh, even in Comfort mode ~ Increased road noise makes for unpleasant commutes ~ Costs as much as buying a more practical SUV and a dedicated sports car
The Bottom Line The 2020 BMW X3 M Competition is an amazing feat of engineering and a surprisingly thrilling ride, but compromising on comfort in the pursuit of performance make it a less-than-optimal daily driver.
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