REVIEW | The BMW X3 M Competition is impressive, but you can't have your yin without the yang


The X3 M Competition powered by next-gen M3's engine.

• This SUV offers stellar performance and is worth its price.

• X3 M Competition has a strong list of standard features.

For more motoring stories, go to

When it comes to performance vehicles, few can do it as well as BMW. This German automaker has made it their mission to produce some of the world's most exceptional sports car, and that same passion filtered over to their SUVs.

The X3 M Competition, along with its X4 sibling, is one of the newest custodians of this treatment. Powered by a turbocharged 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder engine, this is an SUV that will give any vehicle on the road a run for their money. Having spent time with this extraordinary machine, we came to several conclusions regarding it and its position in the market.

Are we impressed? Of course! It's a machine worth celebrating. But you can't have your yin without the yang.

BMW X3 M Competition

2020 BMW X3 M Competition (Warren Wilson)

It's achingly fast

The X3 M Competition is headlined by several figures, starting with the engine that will power the next BMW M3 and M4. This power unit generates a more-than-healthy 375kW and 600Nm that are sent to all four wheels. Get your inputs just right, and you'll be able to clear the 0-100km/h time in a smidge over four seconds.

Keep your foot planted, and you'll max out at 285km/h.

These are impressive figures, especially when you factor in that this SUV weighs in at 2045kg. Light it is not, which underlines the magic BMW's engineers can conjure. The steering can be adjusted accordingly - light or weighty - but all the while, the sheer nimbleness will pull the wool over your eyes. Impressive it is, but the unsuspecting driver can come up second best if you don't have your wits about you.

READ: BMW X3 M Competition vs. Alfa Romeo Stelvio QV - German precision takes on Italian passion

BMW X3 M Competition

2020 BMW X3 M Competition (Warren Wilson)

Value for money

A particularly noteworthy aspect of this SUV is its value for money proposition. R1.64-million is not to be scoffed at, but there is ample reason to justify the price. For starters, the cabin is well laid out and the centre console much cleaner and devoid of buttons. On the steering wheel, you'll find satellite controls and paddles to operate the eight-speed gearbox with, as well as an M1 and M2 button when you want to let loose.

The electrically operated leather-covered seats are a nice touch, especially with the light brown worked into the black. The same inserts can be found in the seats' stitching and on the inside of the doors.

On the technology front, the headlights move in the direction of the steering wheel, and lane departure warning is standard. So too is hill descent control and downhill brake control, head-up display, rain sensor wipers, a sunroof, and active adaptive cruise control. To mention a few.

Wheels24's Janine Van der Post says: "When we get BMWs in the Wheels24 test garage, we know there'll be many eyes admiring the vehicles. The X3 Competition is no different, but it's one of those cars that will make heads turn even if most people don't know a thing about it. Take my Mother for example; she knows the basics about her little VW Golf, but she has always loved the Jaguar brand. That's as far as it goes. But when she pulled at my home the other day for a drop-off, she stopped in her tracks and looked back at the X3 in the driveway. "Shoo!" she exclaimed, "this is a very nice-looking car; can you get me one please?"

"And that's been the general consensus on the day I had driven it. And while BMW has a generic design across all their vehicles, this one really does stand out. Perhaps it's the size, or the big kidney grille in front, or the raised vehicle height which gives it such a commanding presence, nonetheless, it's athletic lines makes it a looker.

"It also drives more like a sportscar and that's where this X3 M Competition SUV makes for a fantastic mommy-car in the urban jungle. It has the capabilities to take it off the tar, but its prowess and its looks definitely makes it a much-desired vehicle."

BMW X3 M Competition

2020 BMW X3 M Competition (Warren Wilson)

But? I sense a 'but'…

The BMW X3 M Competition is a damn fast machine, and it hurls towards the horizon in an emphatic fashion. But while fast, it's just too precise. Too perfect. While some might prefer it that way, others (like me) would prefer an SUV such as this to have a bit of a wild side. The numbers are impressive and the technologies on point, but in the rush of it all did the X3 M Competition become a bit… soft?

There is very little to suggest that this X3 M Competition will fail in life and that it will not succeed at its task, but the prospective owner who knows what they are buying into will not regret the purchase for a single moment. This Beemer is rewarding to drive, it's a force to be reckoned with if you're into scaring pretenders at traffic lights, and it will leave you with a smile all the time.

It will come down to personal preference, but the X3 M Competition is a logical choice in a sea of sports SUVs.

BMW X3 M Competition

2020 BMW X3 M Competition (Warren Wilson)

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24