BMW

Review: BMW X4 M Competition

The BMW X4 M Competition is the high-performance SUV counterpart to the X4, offering over 500bhp, enhanced body resistance, and larger brakes for stability and race utility. It features a 3.0-liter straight-six engine similar to the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio and Mercedes-AMG GLC 63S, but lacks their aggression. Performance highlights include a 0-62 mph sprint in 4.1 seconds, though its ride comfort and refinement trail behind rivals like the Porsche Macan. Inside, the X4 M offers premium materials, ample front space, and good visibility, but rear space is less accommodating. Safety features are robust, with a five-star Euro NCAP rating.

BMW X4 M Competition: Overview, Performance, and Ownership Insights

Introduction

The BMW X4 M Competition is the SUV version of the coupe-inspired X4. Like the boxier and slightly cheaper X3 M Competition, it sits at the top of its model range and packs more than 500bhp. So, what do you get on the X4 M Competition that you don’t on the regular BMW X4? In short, you get extra body resistance to help it stay more upright and stable through corners and bigger brakes designed to cope with even race use.

A 500bhp SUV might sound like a rather strange concept, but it’s far from new these days. Indeed, the X4 M Competition competes against the similarly powerful Mercedes-AMG GLC 63S Coupé, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, and the Porsche Macan Turbo. BMW believes that the X4 M Competition should feel more like a sports sedan than a strong SUV. To help achieve this, it actually borrows its four-wheel drive system from the M5 sedan, with a limited-slip differential that enhances traction on the way out of corners.

Did all this work though? Did BMW’s M division engineers manage to avoid the usual sports SUV pitfalls, such as an overly firm ride and unrewarding handling? During the following sections, you will find the answer to all these questions and more.

Performance and Drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

For the BMW M car fanatics out there, the 3.0-liter straight-six under the hood of this X4 is a true M-division engine. It shares very little in common with the 3.0-liter engine in the cheaper X4 M40i. It produces 503bhp, exactly the same as the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio and the Mercedes-AMG GLC 63S coupe. However, the X4 M’s engine is the least wild of these. It doesn’t have the bombastic soundtrack of the GLC, nor does it offer the attentive throttle response of the Stelvio. It still makes the X4 M mighty quick, though, pulling from low in the rev range all the way to its 7200rpm redline, and its six-cylinder howl is anything but unpleasant.

The eight-speed automatic gearbox fitted to the X4 M Competition hesitates very slightly when you get going but performs better than the frustrating Jaguar F-Pace SVR. Once on the move, it shuffles gears almost imperceptibly when left in its default Performance mode.

Usability and Practicality

We wish there was more brutality to the gear changes in the more aggressive driving modes; that would better suit the engine’s insane power output. However, using the launch control function, the X4 M will knock off the 0-62 mph sprint in 4.1 seconds, a time broadly in line with what the competition can achieve.

In addition to adjusting the speed of the shifts and the weight of the steering, you can also change the stiffness of the X4 M’s suspension. Unfortunately, even in the most comfortable setting, it is almost constantly agitated over steep roads, and you are bounced in your seat due to larger intrusions. If you want an SUV that pays attention to comfort, you’d be better off with a Stelvio Quadrifoglio or a Porsche Macan.

The X4 M isn’t the quietest of cruisers either. Its door mirrors stir up a lot of wind noise on the freeway, and the standard-fitting 21-inch wheels make a great deal of noise as their wide tires pound the road surface. The Macan is generally a more refined SUV.

Interior

The interior arrangement, fit and finish

With plenty of adjustments to the seat and steering wheel, it’s easy to find a decent driving position in the X4 M Competition. Thanks to heavy bolstering, the seats also do a good job of holding you in during a brisk corner, and their illuminated M headrest badges are a neat touch.

All-round visibility is also good, and front and rear parking sensors and a reversing camera are included as standard. You also get clever LED lights that allow you to drive with your headlights on full beam without blinding other road users.

Interior build quality is excellent: with premium materials in abundance, the X4 M far surpasses the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio in this regard. If you desire, you can upgrade the slabs of piano black interior trim to real carbon fiber at an additional cost.

Infotainment

The controls for most of the main functions are within easy reach, and a 10.3in touchscreen infotainment system comes standard. This system is highly rated for its ease of use. It even outdoes rival systems by providing a physical rotary controller interface located between the front seats; using this on the move is far less distracting than tapping away at the touchscreen.

Passenger and Boot Space

How it deals with people and disorder

In the front, space is ample, while rear legroom is generous. However, the plunging, coupe-style roofline of the X4 M forces six-footers in the rear seats to relax or sit with their heads rubbing up against the headliner. A narrow central rear seat makes it a squeeze to get three people in the back, and the rear door openings are somewhat small, making ingress and egress a bit challenging.

On the brighter side, the well-shaped boot is large enough to easily swallow several large suitcases, while the rear seats lie flat when folded to facilitate the loading of longer items. The rear seatbacks split in a 40/20/40 configuration adds to the vehicle’s versatility.

If you regularly need to put people in the back and carry a lot of luggage, the boxier X3 M Competition might be a better option.

Buying and Owning

Daily costs, in addition to how reliable and safe it is

If you’re considering buying an X4 M Competition, or any of its rivals, it’s unlikely that you have cheap, economy motoring in mind. Nevertheless, the X4 actually costs slightly less than the Mercedes-AMG GLC 63S coupe to buy outright, though the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio is cheaper than both.

Even so, a base X4 M is still approximately twice the price of a Cupra Ateca. The X4 M’s equipment levels align with rivals, but a quick stroll down the options list can see the price climb rapidly. Be prepared, too, for fuel economy that hovers around 25mpg—hardly thrifty but broadly in line with that of direct rivals.

Safety Features

Euro NCAP awarded the X4 five stars for safety, with strong scores for both adult and child occupant protection. Automatic emergency braking (AEB) is standard, as is road sign recognition (which uses a camera to read road signs and display the prevailing speed limit on the dashboard) and lane-keeping assistance is optional.

The X4 comes with a three-year, unlimited-kilometer warranty as standard.

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