Let's say you want a BMW sports car, but something taller and more spacious that still looks distinctive. Most would disqualify the X3 for its traditional SUV styling, and there’s no way to get your hands on an M3 Touring unless you live east of the Atlantic. So where does that leave you?
For the difficult – I mean, discerning – shopper, the 2022 BMW X4 M Competition might be a great performance option. Powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six engine that produces 503 horsepower, this coupe-UV will hit 60 miles per hour in 3.6 seconds and can corner with some of the best sports cars currently on sale today. But there are a few things you might note when taking it for a test drive. The ride is harsh – very harsh – and the styling might be questionable to your neighbor. And even though it technically is an “SUV,” it lacks the cargo room you want of something in this class.
Gallery: 2022 BMW X4 M Competition: Pros And Cons
The outgoing X4 M Competition had a few interesting hues to choose from, like Marina Bay Blue and Toronto Red. But it was mostly a minefield of whites, silvers, and blacks. Thankfully, the highlighter-esque Sao Paulo Yellow joins the palette for 2022 to brighten things up.
Sao Paulo Yellow is one of two no-cost color options (no, really) atop the M Competition model for 2022, alongside Alpine White, and it contrasts well with the sporty SUV's black accents and badging (standard on the Competition spec). Compared to the carryover Marina Blue and Toronto Red – which cost an extra $550, by the way – Sao Paulo Yellow makes the already ostentatious SUV stand out that much more.
Fast As Heck
With its twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six engine good for 503 horsepower and 442 pound-feet, it should come as no surprise that the X4 M Competition is bloody quick. The performance SUV launches to 60 miles per hour in just 3.6 seconds and on to a top track speed of 177 mph. That kind of straight-line performance will easily shove you and all four passengers into their seatbacks. And although a dual-clutch might be the preferred performance gearbox for most, BMW's eight-speed automatic transmission shifts with nearly as much quickness and ferocity.
BMW’s performance engines remain some of the best, X4 M included. The hot crossover’s inline-six delivers gobs of torque with little to no lag while offering tons of power higher up in the rev range. Without a computer limiting it to 155 miles per hour, the X4 M will hit 174 miles per hour on the track.
Sports Car–Like Handling
You've probably heard this one before, but the BMW X4 M genuinely drives like a sports car on stilts. The suspension is tuned to keep the heavy, 4,590-pound crossover from exhibiting too much body roll, and it works wonderfully, making for a nice, tidy, and tight experience in even the trickiest corner. And aided by a standard xDrive all-wheel-drive system, the X4 M has unbelievable grip and speed around corners, too.
The adaptive dampers stiffen up the already firm ride in the right mode – Sport or Sport Plus – while the xDrive all-wheel-drive system and M Sport differential work in harmony to distribute torque appropriately at each wheel. Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires (255/40 front and 265/40 rear) are also standard equipment and provide gobs of grip.
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More Polarizing Than Before
The BMW X4 M Competition's 2022 facelift includes upgrades to the front bumper, subtle tweaks to the rear, and new paint and wheel options (including the aforementioned Sao Paulo Yellow pictured here). But in general, the refresh feels like a downgrade compared to its predecessor.
The pre-facelift X4 had a cleaner front fascia and slightly smaller kidney grilles, making it more appealing head-on. Compare that to this version's smiley fascia and expanded grille pieces – which now connect in the middle – and there's too much going on up front.
At least the headlights on this new version are slimmer, sharper, and higher up on the face, which gives the SUV an aggressive look. And the rear end is less polarizing, with a body-colored diffuser and new rounded quad exhaust tips, replacing the dual trapezoidal tips.
Rock Hard Ride
The X4 M Competition is an absolute beast in the corners, as mentioned. But because BMW tuned its suspension for performance first, and its Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires are designed for the track, the X4 M Competition has one of the harshest rides of any crossover on sale today.
Anything more than a pea-sized pebble upsets the suspension and rough pavement makes the ride back-breaking. Even the paved cobblestone entrance to my building felt like I was driving off-road; other performance vehicles – even other M cars – I've tested barely shrug at this same stretch of road.
Coupe Styling Sacrifices Practicality
Unless you really need a coupe-styled SUV in your life, the BMW X3 M Competition is mechanically identical to the X4 in nearly every way, as well as less expensive, and much more practical. Same 503-horsepower engine, same sub-four-second 60 time, and more space. The conventional X3 has 28.7 cubic feet of space behind the second row and 62.7 cubes with that row folded flat. The X4, meanwhile, only has 23.7 and 50.5 cubic feet. The X3 M is also $3,500 cheaper than the polarizing fastback.
Gallery: 2022 BMW X4 M Competition: Pros And Cons
2022 BMW X4 M Competition