Are you ready for the next segment of M vehicles? Said to be on the way as 2019 model year offerings, the X3 M and X4 M seem to be right around the corner in terms of an official introduction and the kick off of series production which will of course be followed by their arrival at dealerships before long. It’s tough to overstate the importance of such models on the horizon, but to put things into perspective, the X3 has been and remains the most popular BMW model sold in the U.S. for much of the last year, once the third-generation became widely available. As production continues to ramp up at more than three facilities around the globe, demand continues to be quite strong as well, with the model posting a 150% expansion in terms of worldwide sales resulting from over 20,000 delivered during October alone.
They’re also confirmed to be powered by an all-new M TwinPower Turbo inline six, which many speculate could be the anticipated replacement for the current S55. It’s suggested that this new mill is derived from the respected B58 three-liter six, which made its market debut for the 2016 model year in cars like the 340i. Although some might be a bit concerned about a brand new M engine making its first appearance in an SAV and SAC like the X3 and X4, the S63 M TwinPower 4.4-liter V8, which powers the current Michelin-roasting M5, first came to market some eight years ago for the 2010 model year of the X5 M and X6 M.
You can read more information about the specifics of what we expect for the new S58 engine here. In the meantime, it seems in order to share some recently captured footage of a camouflaged X3 M being thrashed at the Nurburgring. This is by no means the first time a prototype or test mule X3 or X4 M has been spied while testing, but the unit in question here seems quite close to the production version. Moreover, like our recent update on the M8 and its current development status, the footage below also captures the performance SAV being put through its paces, with the tires and engine both providing the type of auditory experience we like to hear. What is hopefully the new S58 engine also sounds both potent and imposing as it sends power to an M xDrive system which grapples with road surface while the turbocharged and direct-injected six muscles the SAV out of the corners. On the visual front, the the X3 M seems remarkably composed, without a hint of fishtailing as it blasts forward from a curve thanks to xDrive, while the suspension dispels road surface undulations and imperfections seemingly without breaking a sweat.
Enthusiasts, like the kind that make up the Club, were initially suspicious when models like the X5 and X6 M first came to market. In the eight years since, however, many have come to embrace M and M Performance versions of X line models quite well, thanks to their immense practicality and versatility, especially when it comes to navigating multifaceted environments that range from the city to countryside. We’re obviously quite excited about what is sure to be a big seller and near optimal all-around platform, and look forward to bringing our readers the official rundown of the first-ever X3 M and X4 M when they are officially announced. —Alex Tock
[Photos and video via of BMW AG, Automotive Mike.]