What is the M xDrive?
For the first time in BMW history, we have been blessed with a BMW M3 with four-wheel drive!
The all new BMW M3 Competition xDrive saloon has had additional traction added due to the latest generation, delivering 503bhp and 479lb ft torque from its 3.0 litre straight six!. Huge jump from the F8X Competition models! BMW clearly recognise that the rear tyres may need some help from the front under vigerous acceleration.
Figures do suggest that the new xDrive system is seriously effective. The rear wheel drive option in the the M3 can propel you from 0-62mph in 3.9sec. The xDrive option, that drops to just 3.5sec – a decent gain but is it worth the extra?
BMW like to sell the idea that you won’t know the xDrive system is there. Essentially, drive is delivered to the rear wheels courtesy of an eight-speed automatic gearbox, much like it does in the rearwheel drive option. With the new xDrive system, there is a multi plate clutch poised and ready to send power forwards via drive shafts and to an M Division designed front suspension redesigned to accommodate the new half shafts.
The quantity of the power diverted forwards does vary depending on how much spin the rears would usually have but this can be adjusted driver controlled, through three individual modes. Normal 4WD, Sport 4WD or, with the DSC switched of. xDrive can be abandoned altogether and returned to rear wheel drive to increase the renowned fun factor of easy drift!
In xDrive mode, the G80 M3 will ask of your pockets from £78,425 which is a £2765 premium over the rear wheel drive saloon. The system will add weight of 55kg to the car, making the overall weight 1780kg.
What is it like to own?
You are going to need some serious time in this model to tell the difference between the rear wheel drive option and the xDrive option. Many reviewers have run one as a daily for 2 weeks or more and simply couldn't.
I would suspect that this is BMW's the idea. G8x is G8x which means it’s quite sizeable these days. 4.8 metres long and 1.9 metres wide, and has very premium, classy and solid interior. The user interface for the iDrive system has retained it's independant dial and good selection of buttons. Also boasts a fantastic driving position too.
The brand new M Division engine is strong, with a bit of lag at lower revs but as all M cars, it is very eager to rev out, with the very recognisable M rasp while it does it.
The ride quality is very firm throughout modes. Handling has been given a higher priority than the comfort element.
As in the F8x models you can select how aggressive you want the engine output, how heavy you require the steering and how responsive you want the brake pedal to be.
On poor surfaces the new xDrive system comes into its own. Away from complex junctions and low speed corners where a rear wheel drive option torque would cause trouble for its its rear tyres, the new xDrive is far more planted and capable, with hardly any rear end twitch or dsc light flash. When you do want to go quickly, the G8x xDrive doesn’t half deliver!. This is a very serious performance car which would worry most 4WD performance manufacturers.
Should I drop £78k on one?
Is the new G8x Competition xDrive providing any more fun as a result of being 4WD? I don’t think so, quite the contrary in fact. However, as a daily and having the option to disengage the xDrive option, this is an overall amazing performance car with many upgrade options both from BMW and now the aftermarket companies.