BMW has whipped the covers off its new X3 M and X4 M high-performance SUVs, which will also be offered in full-fat Competition guise.

In fact, the hotter X3 M Competition and X4 M Competition variants will launch in South Africa in the third quarter of 2019, with the X3 M and X4 M set to become available locally “at a later stage”.

Under the bonnet you’ll find what the Bavarian automaker describes as the “most powerful straight-six petrol engine ever to see action in a BMW M car”. The twin-turbo 3,0-litre six-pot generates some 353 kW and 600 N.m in “standard” guise, with the Competition models gaining a further 22 kW (for a whopping total of 375 kW, with peak torque unchanged).

Mated to all four corners (BMW says it has employed a version of the rear-biased M xDrive all-wheel-drive system first used in the M5) via an eight-speed M Steptronic transmission, the engine allows a sprint from zero to 100 km/h in a claimed 4,2 seconds in the case of the X3 M and X4 M, with the Competition variants hitting three figures one-tenth quicker. The top speed of each of the four derivatives is limited to 250 km/h, although specifying the optional M Driver's Package raises that figure to 280 km/h in the case of the standard models and 285 km/h for the Competition variants.

The standard M-specific suspension features three settings that alter the reactions of the electronically controlled dampers, while M-specific steering (including M Servotronic and variable ratio) plus M compound brakes are also included. In addition, 20-inch M light-alloy wheels ship standard (and 21-inch items for the Competition models).

While the X3 M and X4 M feature a handful of M-specific exterior design features, the Competition variants are set apart by a high-gloss black finish for the kidney grille surround, side-mirror caps and M gills, as well as the rear spoiler. The flagship models furthermore each feature an M Sport exhaust system.

Inside the standard models, you’ll find electrically adjustable sports seats, Vernasca leather upholstery, an M-specific cockpit, an M leather steering wheel and an M gearshift selector lever. Competition models add M Sport seats with extended Merino leather upholstery, model-specific door-sill plates and a model nameplate on the centre console.

An optional M Carbon exterior package will also be available at a later stage, adding elements in carbon fibre-reinforced plastic for the front air intakes, the air blades in the front apron, the rear diffuser and the side-mirror caps (plus a rear spoiler in the same material in the case of the Competition models).