The X3 M Competition is designed as a performance car, and while it doesn’t have a luxurious interior, it’s comfortable and well put together. The Competition package adds comfortable, reinforced sports seats in the front. There are no sports seats in the back, but there is plenty of space and comfort, including air conditioning, charging ports and heated outboard seats. There’s plenty of room for it to score a respectable grade in Car Seat Check, and interior touches like carbon fiber trim and M-inspired color-stitched seatbelts add to the sportiness.
Technology is also a strength, with standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity. (Wireless device charging is a standalone option that wasn’t included in my test vehicle.) The large 12.3-inch touchscreen is clear and easy to use, despite its deep menu structure. The panel is also 12.3 inches and includes an M-only mode that streamlines the information displayed and adds red accents to make the SUV more aggressive. Some of that information is carried over to the optional heads-up display.
Even better is the fact that despite the SUV’s high-tech interior, there are plenty of easy-to-use physical climate and audio controls. These controls are especially welcome, as touchscreens are hard to reach from the driver’s seat, and BMW’s optional gesture controls don’t always work (and trying to get them to work while driving is distracting).
The interior layout is familiar to BMW enthusiasts, but its familiarity is becoming obsolete. The biggest weakness of the interior of the X3 M Competition is the lack of quality of materials for the price. On par his 2023 model could cost him over $90,000. Frankly, the M Competition’s interior doesn’t feel all that different from the Walker X3, which starts around $47,000 in 2023. Plastic abounds, mainly in the lower part of the interior. The front doors have an Easter egg-like embossed ‘X’ logo, which I love, but they look more like a Subaru than a BMW.
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Is the X3 M Competition right for you?
The appeal of high-performance cars is not just what they actually do, can conduct. The X3 M Competition gives owners bragging rights while offering a comfortable ride, nice-sounding exhaust note, and utility not found in a coupé of similar performance.
This car makes sense in that sense, but buyers looking for a true performance car, or a true performance SUV, may want to look elsewhere.
BMW doesn’t sell the X3 M Competition cheap. As mentioned earlier, our test vehicle had a tested price of $87,345, but a starting price of just under $71,000. Options included the Competition Package ($7,000), Executive Package ($2,450), M Drivers Package ($2,500) and $4,500 in Frozen Marina Bay Blue Metallic matte finish. Prices have climbed since then, and the 2023 X3 M is over $75,000 before options.
Some of the optional Executive Package features (heated steering wheel, heated outboard rear seats, head-up display) are standard on other luxury vehicles in this price range. ($1,700 for the 2023 model year), which adds BMW’s low-speed enhanced traffic jam assistant and additional safety tech.
The Competition package heats up the X3 M, but its $7,000 price tag might be more expensive than what it offers: extra horsepower and torque, proprietary wheels, a sports exhaust and sports seats. The M Driver’s Package unlocks a higher top speed (177 mph instead of 155 mph) and his day’s worth of track instruction. These are the main selling points of these two packages, but buyers don’t have the Autobahn to safely access all that power and speed.
All of these options on our test car added over $15,000 to the sticker price.If you’re happy with the level of fun you’re getting from the base X3 M or the even cheaper X3 M40i, they’re all you need Not… In the X3 M competition, you’re mostly paying for bragging rights. If that’s what you want, so be it.
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