high-performance versions of the redesigned bmw x3 and x4 made their debut this weekend, but only as camouflaged prototypes. at a race weekend in germany, bmw brought early versions — "camouflaged pre-series vehicles" — of its forthcoming x3 m and x4 m to test 'round the famed nurburgring's south loop.
given bmw issued a press release with more than two-dozen photos, we're not surprised the automaker left styling more or less uncovered, with all of some squiggly line exterior graphics as camouflage. barring significant revisions, the m visual treatment for both suvs amounts to a trio of front-bumper openings that sit a bit lower than those on the sportiest current versions of the x3 and x4 — each suv's m40i variant — with a frowning center opening versus the m40i's smiling inlet. in back, the x3 m and x4 m get quad tailpipes (versus two on the m40i variants) and, on the x3 m, a more prominent liftgate spoiler.
like many automakers, bmw fine-tunes the development of its performance cars on the nurburgring. the automaker said the prototypes were in an "early stage of their development phase" but will have high-revving turbocharged six-cylinder used engine . that's what goes into the m40i variants of the current x3 and x4, which each pack a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six good for 355 horsepower. bmw promises a "newly developed" take on the formula, so it's a safe bet that power ends up around — or maybe even a little north of — the outputs from the current m3 sedan and m4 coupe. both models have turbo six-cylinder used engine with 425 hp apiece.
bmw says to expect the same all-wheel-drive technology as it throws in the new m5 sedan, whose awd offers a rear-drive mode to maximize sideways drifting. an active m rear differential lifts dynamics and precision in the x3 m and x4 m to "a level unrivaled within the competitive environment," bmw claims.
that competitive set includes the mercedes-amg glc 63 and porsche macan turbo, both $70,000-plus performance suvs that can hit 60 mph around the 4-second mark. bmw has yet to enter the field with full-fledged m versions of the x3 and x4, as both have heretofore maxed out at the m-lite m40i level. a bmw spokesman confirmed both cars "are definitely intended for" u.s. showrooms but declined to elaborate on timing or other details. stay tuned for more updates.
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