2020 BMW X3 M Competition: dynamic excellence, agility

The holidays are in the rear-view mirror, but they were front and center when the 2020 BMW X3 M Competition mid-size sports activity vehicle landed in my driveway.

Nothing says merry and bright more than this tester.

For the first time ever, BMW has expanded its high-performance model lineup to this category, setting the benchmark for dynamic excellence, agility and precision.

Having just watched Ford v. Ferrari, my Walter Mitty fantasies drifted toward LeMans, not I-5. Unfortunately, there are speed limits on I-5.

The BMW X3 M Competition is equal parts luxury and performance, with a nod toward performance. Powered by a 3.0-liter, inline five-cylinder engine with TwinPower Turbo technology mated to an eight-speed M Sport automatic transmission, the combo conjures adrenaline.

The high-revving unit generates maximum output of 480 horsepower and peak torque of 442 lb.-ft. Put the hammer down on the X3 M Competition and it responds in a heartbeat, accelerating from fast to faster to fastest.

In fact, the X3 M Competition accelerates from 0-to-62 miles per hour (100 kilometers) in just 4.1 seconds. The steering is exceptionally tight to match, and of course, the brakes are more than up to the task to get you stopped quickly.

But don’t sleep on this BMW’s M xDrive system which has a rear-wheel bias and offers owners two AWD driving modes. The centrally-controlled interaction between M xDrive and the Active M Differential at the rear axle, allows the all-wheel-drive system to split the engine’s power between the four wheels as required to deliver optimal traction, agility and directional stability no matter the road condition.

X3 M Competition seats up to five adults in abject luxury, leaves room for plenty of cargo, and receives an EPA rating of 16 miles per gallon in combination of city and highway driving. I can’t think of a better road-trip vehicle.

My tester came with an Executive Package ($3,900) that slathered on even more luxurious creature comforts including heated front and rear seats, heated steering wheel, parking assistant plus, heads-up display, wireless charging, gesture control, WiFi hotspot and rearview camera.

Standard goodies are highlighted by bi-color leather Merino/Alcantara seats, panoramic moon roof that benefits all passengers, Apple CarPlay compatibility, navigation, Harman Kardson surround sound audio system and aluminum carbon structure trim.

The exterior exudes BMW. My tester was covered with a Donington Grey Metallix coat of paint, M rear spoiler, adaptive LED headlights and high-gloss roof rails.

Your safety is in good hands thanks to active driving assistant with lane-departure warning, blind-spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, rear collision preparation, frontal collision warning and mitigation and daytime pedestrian protection.

Forget the Christmas lights and music, I give the BMW X3 M Competition credit for putting me in the holiday spirit

Base Price: $77,850

Price As Driven: $82,695

Destination charge is included in the base price. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturer. List price may vary at local dealerships.

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