The quad exhaust system is a telltale sign we're dealing with the fully fledged M model.

Big kidney grilles up front, large alloy wheels on the sides, and the typical four exhaust tips at the back – that’s how one could describe a BMW M car. Just like the X6 M, the first-ever X4 M will be a special appearance in Bavaria’s M portfolio as it will bank on the popularity of coupe-ified SUVs to lure in buyers willing to pay the premium over the regular X3 M.

Update:

Going up against the Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 Coupe, the M-flavored X4 had the full production body and lights, though it seems the test vehicle was missing the rear reflector / fog lights. Having seen the M40i and M40d versions without any sort of camouflage back in August last year, it’s really not that hard to image what’s hiding underneath the swirly camouflage of the X4 M prototype. The amped-up will look slightly more aggressive thanks to beefier air vents, bulging fenders, and a rear spoiler. A sportier suspension with a lower ride height, bigger brakes, and some interior tweaks will round off the upgrades over the lesser models.

Rumor has it the X3 M and X4 M will share an evolution of the turbocharged 3.0-liter S55 six-cylinder engine powering the M3 Sedan and M4 Coupe. Codenamed “S58,” the new version will up the power ante from the current 444 hp to somewhere in the region of 470 hp or even 475 hp. Further down the line, the engine will then be implemented in the next M3 where it will supposedly form a hybrid powertrain with roughly 500 hp on tap.

BMW has announced the standard X4 will premiere later this year, most likely with the hotter M40i and M40d versions available from day one. Look for the fully fledged M version to land at some point in 2019, following the X3 M’s supposed launch later this year.

Photos: Automedia

Gallery: 2020 BMW X4 M spy photos