The feature's been rumored since last November, when AutoGuide spoke to M boss Frank van Meel at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Van Meel said, "Competition is a strong growing market in demand, and that goes for every M. So that's also a feature we're going to use more often in the future. And that does not exclude SUVs." After those comments, BMW Blog figured the X3 would be the first in line due to product launch cadence.
The heart of the X3 M will be BMW's first application of the new S58 engine, an evolution of the S55 currently found in the M3 and M4. The S58 starts with the 3.0-liter inline-six, and adds another turbocharger on top of component upgrades to reach 450 hp. The Competition Package will add those 25 horses, plus component upgrades familiar from M Division's optional go-harder kit: Larger brakes, lower ride height, stiffer springs, dampers, and anti-roll bars, more black trim, and 20-inch forged wheels. A 475-hp X3 M would put the schneller crossover ahead of the 354-hp Audi SQ5 and 440-hp Porsche Macan Turbo with the Performance Package, behind only the 503-hp Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S.
The M3 with the Competition Package makes 444 hp, which means even the standard X3 M will leave it in its wake. What's BMW going to do about the M's spearpoint, the M3, being overshadowed by a crossover? Rumor is that the next M3 will get a 48-volt electrical system, and potentially some sort of hybrid assistance that could grow total output to 500 hp. On top of that, greater use of carbon fiber will drop weight, and optional all-wheel drive would keep everything moving in the proper direction.
With the X3 M's launch predicted for sometime later this year, the Competition Package could come in early 2019. After that, the X5 M and X6 M are in line to get their own Competition Packages.