Pictured here, the M40i is the hottest version of the new X3 you can buy today from BMW, but that could change sooner or later as the company has admitted it’s toying around with the idea of giving the SUV the full-fat M treatment. The reveal was made this week at the Frankfurt Motor Show by Arno Keller - the man in charge of the X3 project - in an interview when he was asked by the media whether the X3 will get the whole M shebang:
“It [the X3 M] is under evaluation. It is not confirmed, it is not pronounced, nothing, but it is possible in terms of technology and also in terms of platform.”
He wasn’t the only BMW official to briefly talk about a potential M version as the X3’s product manager, Roland Meier, admitted a final decision will be taken soon, arguing that we can “definitely speculate” on the subject. In addition, the head honcho of the company’s Australian division, Marc Werner, said an X3 M “makes sense” and that he’s patiently waiting for the version to get the stamp of approval and head Down Under.
These are all signs it will likely happen, especially if we take into consideration Keller dropped a not-so-subtle hint about the prospects of an X3 M:
“We have the xLine, we have the M Sport’s package, the M40i, and perhaps more.”
Gallery: 2018 BMW X3: First Ride
According to the latest intel, the X3 M carries the F97 codename and will get a turbocharged straight-six engine closely related to the biturbo 3.0-liter powering the M3 and M4. In the new application, it will be good for somewhere in the region of 425 to 430 hp, which would be at least 70 hp more than the aforementioned M40i. Torque should also rise over the latter’s 369 pound-feet (500 Newton-meters).
The power gain corroborated with additional upgrades will significantly improve performance over the current range topper. As a refresher, the M40i needs 4.6 seconds until 60 mph (96 kph) and tops out at an electronically limited 155 mph (250 kph).
It’s too early to talk about pricing, but it goes without saying it will command a serious premium over the 2018 X3 M40i estimated to begin in the United States from $55,000 once it will go on sale this fall.