The BMW X4 M could be hiding the next M3’s heart

BMW X4 X3 M M3

BMW has revealed M-fettled versions of its X3 and X4 SUVs, sporting big-power turbocharged six-pot engines. You’d imagine they might borrow their engines from the outgoing M3 and M4 models. Looking at the figures, this is not the case…

The first point to note is that they are available in Competition specification straight out of the box. The X3 M Competition and X4 M Competition are day one releases. The usual M car fare of strengthened chassis, powerful engine, tuned suspension and big brakes are joined by lightweight Competition 21-inch alloy wheels.

BMW X4 X3 M M3

Looks wise, we’re in controversial waters. While muscular, neither can be described as a thoroughbred M car. There’s every suggestion in the swollen bodywork and gaping vents that serious power hides within. Out back, the exhaust arrangement is telling of what generation M car you’re dealing with. It looks much more like the subtle setup on the new M5 than the more central setup on the outgoing M3.

BMW X4 X3 M M3

Inside, there’s a lot to love from the latest and greatest M models, and a lot we wish had carried over from the newest BMWs. The instrument binnacle is a touch last-gen compared to what’s been seen in some other of the very latest BMWs. The M5’s red flashes, including M buttons on the wheel, do carry over.

In terms of performance, you’ll get to 62mph in 4.1 seconds if you pin it in your X3 M or X4 M, before going on to a top speed of 155mph, or 174mph with the M Driver’s Package.

The heart of the next M3?

BMW X4 X3 M M3

Our suspicions really peaked when we saw the power figures. The 3.0-litre Twin-Power turbo straight-six in the X3 M and X4 M Competition models produces 510hp (no mention of the fancy water injection system) and 600Nm of torque.

By comparison, the hopped-up M3 CS produces a mere 460hp, though torque is the same. It’s still up on the outgoing M3 and M4 Competition models on both counts, mind…

What is interesting is that in the X3 and X4 application it revs lower. A redline of 7,300rpm is 300 lower than the original 2013 M3’s 7,600rpm top-end that was played up as ‘unusually high for a turbo motor’.

BMW X4 X3 M M3

Furthermore, BMW is no stranger to previewing the power plants of ‘proper’ M models in its SUVs. The X5 M and X6 M of 2010 featured a very similar twin-turbo V8 that would eventually find its way into the M5 and M6 of subsequent years.

We’re betting on a 520hp+ variant of this updated M six-pot appearing in the next M3 and M4…