It may be hard to believe, but the current generation of the X3 and X4 are already old enough to receive a refresh. Not only that, but the LCI (lifecycle impulse) in BMW vernacular for the G01 X3 and the G02 X4 has also been applied to their M derivatives, which have only been on sale for two model years. The primary changes? Enlarged kidney grilles, which are flanked by slimmer headlights and sit above a redesigned bumper. Similar alterations are applied to the rear end, with remarkably aggressive tail lights, and exhaust tailpipes that have grown in size. The interior of the X3 and X4 has also been updated with BMW’s latest iDrive screens and switchgear, which first arrived in the G20 3 Series and subsequently in the second-generation 4 Series, but have already grown in size and capability since.
The X3 and X4 model lineups remain largely unchanged, but the X3 xDrive30e has been nixed (at least for the time being), and the M Performance models, which already used the most powerful version of the B58 six-cylinder engine, now sport a 48-volt mild hybrid system. The hybrid system takes the form of an 11-horsepower motor which also acts as the starter, and the X3 and X4 are merely following in the footsteps of the new 4 Series and the G30 5 Series LCI, which come with nearly identical systems.
The model lineup begins with the $43,700 X3 sDrive 30i, the $46,695 X3 xDrive30i, and the $52,775 X4 xDrive30i. All use the same engine and drivetrain: A 2.0-liter B48 turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 248 horsepower from 5,200 to 6,500 rpm and 258 pound-feet of torque from 1,450 to 4,800, and the ubiquitous ZF eight-speed automatic transmission found in much of the BMW model lineup. Output for these models remains unchanged, and the same is true for the $57,800 X3 M40i and $62,800 X4 M40i, which already received the most potent version of the 3.0-liter B58 inline-six engine for the 2020 model year. This engine produces 382 horsepower from 5,800 to 6,500 rpm and 369 pound-feet of torque from 1,500 to 5,000, and is now coupled with a 48-volt, 11-horsepower engine which also acts as the starter.
Similar visual changes have been applied to the X3 and the X4 M, but appropriately tailored to their more aggressive presence. Interior changes also mirror those of the standard X3 and X4 models, but with M-exclusive upholstery, trim, and items like the steering wheel and shifter differentiating things.
The big change with the X3 and X4 M is increased output of the 3.0-liter S58 turbocharged M inline-six engine. This engine first hit the market in the pre-LCI X3 and X4 M, in which it develops 473 horsepower from 5,600 rpm to 7,300, and 442 pound-feet of torque from 2,600 to 5,500. The pre-LCI X3 and X4 M Competition also use a version of it, but with 503 horsepower from 5,950 rpm to 7,300. When the G80 M3 and G82 M4 and their Competition sub-models were announced last year, the S58 was given a forged crankshaft which allowed for increased torque output of 479 pound-feet from 2,750 to 5,500.
The updated S58 M inline-six has been added to the X3 and X4 M lineup, in which it delivers the same 473 and 503 horsepower, but with 457 pound-feet of torque in the base-model SAV and SAC, and 479 pound-feet in the X3 and X4 M Competition. The increased torque is enough to improve the already breathtaking acceleration times of the models by a few tenths of the second. The X3 and X4 M, previously assigned a zero-to-60 time of 4.1 seconds, can now achieve the speed in just 3.9, while the Competition derivatives drop from four seconds flat to 3.7. Opting for the M Performance Package allows for a top speed of 174 mph for the X3 and X4 M, or 177 for the X3 and X4 M Competition.
The X3 M has a starting MSRP of $69,900, while the X4 M starts at $73,400, which makes them a value proposition when compared to their rivals from Porsche, Mercedes-AMG, and Alfa Romeo. Production of the conventional X3 and X4 model lineup is scheduled to begin at BMW Group Plant Spartanburg during August of this year, and the market introduction of the updated M models is slated for the following month. All are planned to go on sale for the 2022 model year.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]