I was in Johannesburg, South Africa at the tail end of last year for the BMW M Festival 2019, held in the venerable Kyalami Circuit where BMW hosted the M Festival to pay tribute to the single most powerful letter in the world – what a treat it was!
Among the host of activities lined up was the BMW xDrive Driving Experience at the purpose-built xDrive Park where I took a G01 BMW X3 xDrive30d through a challenging off-road excursion.
At first glance, the course seemed quite intimidating but when behind the wheel of the X3, it was actually a stroll in the (xDrive) park – a testament to the all-wheel drive system’s capability when the tarmac ends.
But the best part has to be the M Track experience where I get to pick three cars to drive around Kyalami and one of them was the first ever X3 M Competition. This car previews the S58 twin-turbo 3.0-litre straight six that will be under the bonnet of the upcoming G80 M3 (and the G82 M4, of course).
According to one of BMW’s driving instructors, the F97 X3 M Competition is actually quicker around Kyalami than the outgoing F80 M3; bear in mind, the F97 X3 M Competition weighs almost two tonnes. With 510 hp and 600 Nm, it has 100 Nm less than the AMG GLC 63 S 4MATIC from an engine that’s around 1,000cc smaller, with two less cylinders – a little food for thought.
The F97 X3 M Competition is not yet available for the Malaysian market, but when it arrives here it’ll be interesting to find out how the X3 M Competition fare against the GLC 63 S 4MATIC, don’t you think?