BMW X3 M continues testing, sounds very M3 (video)

BMW has been spotted once again testing the upcoming X3 M at the Nurburgring in Germany. The new model will join the rapidly-growing premium mid-size performance SUV market, with the likes of the Jaguar F-PACE SVR and Alfa Romeo Stelvio QV. BMW has confirmed an X4 M will also join the showroom alongside the X3 M.

Mercedes-AMG just reset the Nurburgring lap record for a production SUV with its GLC 63 S, which also competes in the same market segment. It clocked a time of 7.49.369. This followed Alfa Romeo’s once record-setting time of 7:51.7 in the Stelvio QV. Is BMW M looking for a turn with the trophy?

Specifications on the X3 M are yet to be confirmed, but speculations and reports suggest it will use a variation of the S55 3.0-litre twin-turbo inline six that’s seen in the M3 and M4. This would be a step up from the B58 BMW engine used in the current flagship X3 M40i. Word has it the engine could be turned up from 317kW in the regular M3/M4 to around 360kW for the X3.

Given the X3 M will be heavier than the M3, albeit based on the newer CLAR platform unlike the F30 3 series, the extra power and all-wheel drive grip could see it perform quicker 0-100km/h sprints. Some of the competition is already stopping the clock in under 4.0 seconds.

It looks like BMW is testing a few prototype examples. And as you can hear in the spy video below, the X3 M definitely has that distinctive M3/M4 engine sound, with its slightly tinny undertone lower in the revs, and rasp higher up in the revs. BMW M will probably adopt the latest eight-speed automatic for the X3 M, from the M5, as opposed to the seven-speed dual-clutch auto from the M3.

BMW has confirmed the new model will feature an intelligent all-wheel drive system developed by M division, as well as an active M differential for the rear axle. We’d expect a number of driving modes to play around with as well to help ensure the SUV remains as versatile as tradition holds for M cars.

Most of the body and design trimmings appear to be complete, with just the disorienting wrap concealing the look. There’s the trademark quad tailpipes at the back, a neat aero kit, and unique alloy wheels likely in staggered sizes front to rear. Check out spy video below for more. A full debut is expected in the next few months.