BMW X3 M Competition Review 2022

The 2022 BMW X3 M is a highly capable performance vehicle that delivers on its promises. Delivering excellent balance, power and comfort, the X3 M Competition provides an engaging driving experience and excels in on-road and off-road driving conditions. Packed with innovative technologies and ready for whatever challenge, the X3 M Competition is a reliable choice for professional drivers looking for a thrilling drive.

The BMW X3 M Competition SUV offers an exciting driving experience comparable to its competitors, such as the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio and a range of performance cars. But it offers something its rivals don’t – an impressive combination of utility and power. With its sophisticated design and robust capabilities, this SUV stands out. Whether you’re looking for a thrill on the track or the utility of a larger vehicle, the BMW X3 M Competition SUV delivers.

If you seek a thrilling mix of performance and utility, look no further than BMW’s X3. Boasting a powerful 503-horsepower engine and increased torque from 442 pounds-feet in the 2021 model to 479 pounds-feet for 2022, the X3 M Competition is BMW’s sports activity vehicle of choice. Refined exterior styling and added standard tech features make the X3 M Competition a leader among comparably sized luxury SUVs. Its muscular performance puts it on par with BMW’s revered M3 sedan, yet with the added convenience of an SUV. So why wait? Experience the elegance and power of the X3 M Competition today.

The luxury compact SUV class is highly competitive, with a wide variety of performance SUVs on the market. The BMW X3 M, Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio and the anticipated Mercedes-AMG GLC63 are the clear standouts in the segment, while the Audi SQ5 offers a more refined option. For those looking for higher levels of performance, the larger Dodge Durango SRT 392 and SRT Hellcat present a formidable option, as does the top-tier Cadillac Escalade V. For drivers seeking luxury and performance, the market offers a wide range of possibilities.

Drives a Conversation

The X3 M Competition demonstrates BMW’s engineering prowess – achieving impressive 0-60 mph acceleration times of 3.7 seconds thanks to an eager-to-downshift eight-speed automatic transmission that offers seamless shifts while seeking the perfect gear for aggressive driving. Its sporty exhaust note has a powerful, menacing burble with teasing crackles. It pops on downshifts – while its adaptive noise is reliably adjusted to provide a more refined auditory experience.

The X3 M Competition I drove boasted impressive ride quality, even with its 21-inch wheels and aggressive adaptive suspension settings. The SUV demonstrated next to no body roll around corners, both impressive and surprising considering its size and higher seating position. Road imperfections were effectively absorbed, allowing the driver to enjoy a truly capable and poised driving experience.

The brakes on this BMW are impressive regarding aggressive stops – powerful and responsive – but can be a challenge to utilize smoothly in everyday driving. Likewise, the handling experience and steering ‘numbness’ doesn’t live up to this vehicle’s lofty ‘M Competition’ label. A common issue with many BMW models recently although they can be given a new lease of life on closed course tracks, such as autocross courses.

The X3 M Competition continues the longstanding M tradition of reconfigurability. To make the personalizing drive as easy as possible, it’s fitted with two bright red M buttons on the steering wheel that store preset drive modes, an M Mode button on the console, and a button for the adjustable exhaust system. More customization is available in the setup menu, where you can tweak the powertrain, steering, suspension and all-wheel-drive settings. Here, a rear-wheel-drive mode allows you to customize your ride even further. At first, the sheer amount of configurability may be daunting, but with experimentation, you’ll find the perfect settings for your unique driving style.

Unfortunately, the experience of the BMW 503-hp SUV with staggered-width wheels and tires is much more conservative, lacking the spirited playfulness of the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio with its four-leaf clover badging and huge shift paddles, as well as superior handling and steering experience. While the BMW outshines the Alfa with its superior build quality and cutting-edge technology behind the wheel, the Stelvio tends to come out ahead in driving performance.

When it comes to performance driving, the X3 M Competition is still one of the most capable SUVs you can buy – however, when you start looking outside of the SUV market, its capabilities diminish. Within the $70,000-$90,000 range, cars such as BMW’s M3 and M4 stand out as much more suitable options if performance driving is your focus. From a professional point of view, choosing an X3 M Competition for its performance alone is an unwise decision.

The BMW X3 M Competition offers something extra with its performance, but the lack of utility leaves it short compared to rivals such as the Dodge Durango SRT 392 and Hellcat. Despite its superior skill, the X3 M Competition does not include a tow hitch or tow mode, and BMW does not even list a maximum towing capacity. Although it does not reach the same peak performance level as the Durango SRT 392 and Hellcat, the latter two can still tow up to 8,700 pounds when not hauling ass. Unfortunately, the X3 M Competition does not provide enough utility to compensate for its performance deficit.

Is the X3 M Competition Fit for You?

The X3 M Competition is a performance vehicle with an appeal that transcends its practical utility. It’s a perfect balance of performance and comfort; from its roaring exhaust to its comfortable ride and versatile utility –– it’s an ideal choice for those seeking bragging rights. 

However, for those looking for a vehicle to take to the track, the X3 M Competition might not be the best option. Its performance stats are impressive for an SUV, but if you’re after a true-performance vehicle, you’ll want to consider other options.

The X3 M Competition Package might seem appealing, offering additional horsepower and torque, unique wheels, a sport exhaust and sports seats. However, for the price point of $7,000, buyers may question if such features are worth it. The M Driver’s Package does up the ante with a higher top speed and a day of track instruction, but be aware that in many parts of the world, testing this speed isn’t even possible -on top of this, the X3 M isn’t the best option for a track day. 

Our test car with all the above options added a whopping $15,000 to its regular sticker price. If you’re already satisfied with the level of enjoyment the base X3 M or even the cheaper M40i brings, you may not need to upgrade. When it gets down to it, buying the X3 M Competition might be more about boasting the bragging rights than anything else.

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