The days in which a high-performance crossover was just a lifted platform with a big engine under the hood and wonky handling are truly over. The performance and enjoyment delta between a high-power CUV and a proper sedan is shrinking at an alarming rate. Perhaps no vehicle is a greater example of this than the 503-horsepower 2022 BMW X4 M Competition I've been driving this week, a true performer in all metrics.
This latest iteration of the X4 M maybe just a mid-cycle refresh on paper, but in practice, the updated styling, interior, powertrain, and handling dynamics make a world of difference. The result is a crossover that can keep up with proper sports cars on a canyon road, even while lugging around its 4,600-pound curb weight. For those folks stuck choosing between an M3 or M4 versus an X3 M or X4 M, the choice has never been more challenging to make than now.
Upfront, the 2022 BMW X4 M Competition gets a thoroughly refreshed face with larger kidney grilles and intakes throughout. Additionally, the front bumper's lower opening for the central radiator is noticeably wider. While these changes help sharpen the X4 M's look, they're also quite functional as the front fascia needs to allow tons of air to flow through. This is to feed the central radiator flanked by two smaller ones alongside the transmission and oil coolers.
The changes are far more subtle, with a redesigned rear bumper in the rear. The diffuser extends well into the bumper itself with a prominent gloss black trim piece. To complement the darker trim, my tester featured gloss black exhaust tips that seemingly vanish at night but add to the X4 M's sporty look during the daytime.
If there is any downside to how the 2022 BMW X4 M Competition looks, it would be its sloping roofline. It's not even as if there's a severe lack in the headroom or cargo space departments. It's just not how I prefer my CUVs. However, buyers have spoken, and there's no denying the style's widespread appeal. Additionally, folks that want a more traditional CUV can opt for the X3 M, which is mechanically identical.
My tester came finished in a strikingly bright shade of Sao Paulo Yellow, which commands attention from anyone within a 10-mile radius. Inside, a more restrained black-leather interior awaited me with tons of quilted stitching and carbon fiber trim. Rounding up my tester's look is a set of 21-inch two-tone wheels with a five-spoke design. Overall, the X4 M is a winner in the styling department if you're a fan of the sloping roof, and thanks to its latest mid-cycle refresh, it finally has a look to match its bark.
Powering the 2022 BMW X4 M Competition is an absolute gem of an engine. It's a twin-turbocharged inline-six-cylinder developing 503 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque. A standard X4 M pushes out slightly lower 473 hp and 457 lb-ft of torque figures from the same powerplant. An eight-speed automatic transmission sends that power to the road via a standard all-wheel-drive system. However, it is worth mentioning that the system is rear-biased.
Despite peak torque at 5,500 rpm, this engine has excellent power throughout the entire rev range. Put your foot down in the lower end, and you may experience a split second of lag. However, once this powertrain gets going, it pulls strong to redline, delivering impressive performance. At full speed, the X4 M Competition blasts past 60 mph in 3.8 seconds on its way to its 177-mph top speed, with the M Performance package equipped.
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Throw it into a corner, and the 2022 BMW X4 M Competition continues to showcase its sporty nature. Thanks to its adjustable dampers, this crossover stiffens considerably, seemingly eliminating body roll, despite its massive weight. However, this is a double-edged sword as the X4 M never truly softens up around town. Even in its comfiest setting, you feel every imperfection on the road and big bumps make the whole thing judder considerably.
Thanks to a set of Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires on all four corners, it takes a considerable push for the X4 M to understeer. This high-riding performer will happily eat up tight corners as quickly as big sweepers on most occasions. While I've spent time with the M3 Competition on the road and track, I can't say I was moving noticeably slower in its high-riding sibling despite the extra weight.
Lastly, the X4 M Competition's steel brakes with four-piston calipers are the true stars of the show. Delivering excellent stopping power regardless of how long or hard I drove during my testing. With a solid initial bite and a pedal that is easy to modulate, the X4 M stops as well as it accelerates.
Inside, the 2022 BMW X4 M Competition continues to impress with its quilted leather seats, contrast stitching, and generous use of carbon fiber. The chairs themselves are quite comfortable and offer plenty of adjustability, including inflatable side bolsters. While the leather quality is top-notch, the stitching pattern that helps give them a distinct look impresses. The stitching continues onto the steering wheel and door panels, giving this crossover a premium-feeling cabin.
On the tech side, the driver gets a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster that offers plenty of adjustability through various onboard driving modes. In the center, a 12.3-inch infotainment system houses the brand's latest iteration of iDrive, which is nicely laid out and easy to navigate through the touch screen. Additionally, the X4 M offers wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Connectivity.
Overall, the fit and finish of the X4 M's interior are top-notch, precisely what you'd expect from a vehicle at this price point. There's little wind noise on the highway and not a weird squeak or rattle to report.
All good things come at a price, and the 2022 X4 M Competition is no exception. While a standard non-Competition version starts at $74,395, the Competition takes that base price to just over $80,000. As-tested with all of its options, my X4 M competition came in a hair over $86,000 placing it closely in line with its M3 and M4 siblings.
Pricing likely won't be the deciding factor between BMW's latest offerings. With incredible performance from a CUV, there isn't even a massive delta in speed either. Thanks to the added practicality of the X4 M and the spacious interior and aggressive design, the M3 may be the one to drive. Still, the X4 M is likely the better option to live with.