There may be no other brand that lives by the code “Business in Front, Party out Back” more than BMW. The Bavarian brand has not one but three mullet-wearing coupe-like SUVs, in the BMW X6, X4 and, most recently, X2. Thankfully, though, BMW’s coupe-like SUVs look far better than mullet-wearing ’80s folk. Not only do they rock the look better, they’re faster, too. As with the case of the new BMW X4 M, a helluva lot faster.
Along with its new BMW X3 M sibling, the X4 M is the latest SUV to get the proper M Division treatment. Mechanically, it’s essentially identical to the X3 M. The only real difference between the two cars are in their body styles. So rather than the traditional SUV shape of the X3 M, the BMW X4 M gets a sharply raked roof and a coupe-like body style. Some love it, some hate it but there’s no questioning that it’s striking and different looking.
Personally, I think the BMW X3 M looks better, as I think the roof spoiler looks a lot better on it. However, all mullet jokes aside, I can see why the X4 M appeals to some enthusiasts, as it’s much sportier looking, more athletic looking. It’s also more interesting and stands out among the sea of traditional SUVs on the road.
Under that sportier skin, though, the BMW X4 M is identical to its more traditional sibling. Which is a very good thing.
Powering the X4 M is the new S58 engine, an M-tuned version of the ubiquitous B58 engine. A forged crankshaft, 3D-printed cylinder head, new wide-arc sprayed iron coating for the cylinder walls and a closed-deck design create a more durable and freer-revving engine than just the standard B58. A new air intake as well as two mono-scroll turbochargers — one for cylinder 1-3 and one for cylinders 4-6 — now help the engine breathe better and give the X4 M 480 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque. Those are big gains from the 365 hp and 369 lb-ft of the X4 M40i.
Debuting alongside the BMW X4 M is the Competition model, which will pack a whopping 510 hp and the same 442 lb-ft. That makes the new X4 M faster than the BMW M4 GTS was. It’s also more powerful than an Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, a Mercedes-AMG GT and a Porsche 911 GT3. So it’s got some serious punch.
The Competition models includes the M Sport exhaust system.
BMW claims a 0-62 mph time of 4.2 seconds for the standard car, with the Competition model shaving a tenth off of that. We suspect it will be quicker, though, breaking into the three-second range. Especially when you consider the X4 M40i is capable of 0-62 mph in the low four-second range with a lot less power.
But it’s not just a big engine and some gaudy numbers. The BMW X4 M has been designed to be a proper M car to drive as well. So it gets gets a unique front strut bar, with a carbon fiber version being available as an option come August, and some additional bracing at each axle. It also gets unique chassis tweaks and revised elastokinematics at each axle. To make sure the X4 M is the real deal, the Bavarians took it to both the Miramas circuit in France and the Nurburgring in Germany to sharpen its skills.
It also gets an M-tuned version of BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system. Though, it does’t have the cool “2WD” mode that you get in the BMW M5. So it’s all-wheel drive, all of the time. Still, BMW has given it a couple of modes, such as “4WD” and “4WD Sport”. The former is a lot like your traditional BMW xDrive, where it’s mostly rear-driven but sends power to the front when needed. The latter is mostly rear-wheel drive and adapts its torque split to be more aggressive. Either way, the Active M limited-slip rear differential helps put the power down evenly between the rear wheels.
The BMW X4 M Competition models ride as standard on 21-inch wheels with a polished Jet Black finish. Tyres are 255/40 ZR21 items at the front and 265/40 ZR21 at the rear.
The Competition models get a High-gloss Black finish around BMW kidney grille’s surrounds.
While its style isn’t for everyone’s tastes, there’s not denying that it’s an exciting car. Its exterior helps it stand out and its power and performance are fantastic. It could even be class-leading, in terms of performance. We can’t wait to drive it and its regular looking sibling. If you want something more traditional looking, go for the BMW X3 M. If you want something to look as exciting as it is under the skin, get the BMW X4 M. Just don’t get a mullet, too.
U.S. pricing starts at $69,900 for the X3 M and $73,400 for the X4 M; the Competition models will set you back another $7000. Made in the United States, they will be at dealerships starting in mid-July.