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BMW X3/X4 M Packing Big Punch In Compact Crossover

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Watch your back, Porsche Macan.

Letters can have meanings all their own. BMW knows that better than most, applying (aside from its own initials) the letter X to its crossovers and M to its performance models. And now it's bringing them together again for the first time since the X5 M and X6 M with the preview of the forthcoming new X3 M and X4 M.

Pictured here still wrapped in camo, these pre-production prototype performance crossovers are being showcased at the Nürburgring during the DTM race there this weekend. And they provide our clearest glimpse yet at the forthcoming duo.

The Bavarian automaker has released very little in the way of details on these new models, but it has confirmed they'll be powered by a new twin-turbo straight six. Slotting as they will above the M40i spec, we can expect them to pack more than the 355 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque already offered on both those models – potentially upwards of 400 by both counts.

However much muscle they boast will be channeled to all four wheels – not through the existing models' drivetrain, but a version of the M xDrive all-wheel traction system pioneered for the M5 performance sedan.

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As you can see under the camo wrap, the X3 M (pictured in red) and X4 M (in black) will also boast other telltale signs of M performance, including a more aggressive aero package and four-pipe exhaust system.

"With their M specific performance characteristics, the BMW X3 M and the BMW X4 M will set benchmarks in terms of dynamics in their respective vehicle segment," said BMW M GmbH chief Frank van Meel. Sounds good to us, and we're looking forward to finding out what they can do when the manufacturer is ready to drop all the details.