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Road tests

New BMW X4 M Competition 2021 review

We get to grips with the updated BMW X4 M Competition - the fastest-accelerating BMW M SUV

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.5 out of 5

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This latest X4 M Competition is undeniably rapid and boasts grip and traction to rival some super-saloons. It’s a strong technical update, with more performance and better tech on offer, plus bespoke M features for this halo model. However, it’s still ultimately a compromised car, especially when it comes to ride comfort, while its X3 M alternative also offers more practicality.

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BMW’s mid-life refresh for its X3 SUV and X4 coupé-SUV models also extends to the high-performance M models, and this new X4 M Competition is our first chance to sample the updated range-topper.

Like the regular cars, much of the focus here has been placed on keeping the X4 M looking sharp, while also boosting the technology inside. However, the previous car – along with its X3 M Competition counterpart – was hardly a smooth-riding SUV, so BMW has conceded that work needed to be done here and has widened the gap between the driving modes.

In Comfort the X4 M’s chassis is a little more supple, helped by new 21-inch forged alloys that save 2kg per corner. However, this looser control over the mass means at higher speed the car can feel a little less composed, so you might want to ramp things up to Sport or Sport Plus. Here, it’s bouncy and pogos up and down. We tried the car around town and on ultra-flat German country roads and, while the X4 M is better, it still could be a bit firm for the UK.

Another area that has been boosted is performance – not that it really needed it. The M division’s 3.0-litre turbocharged six-cylinder unit has received a new forged crankshaft, and while power stays at 503bhp, torque is now up by 50Nm, to 650Nm. With launch control and BMW’s M xDrive all-wheel drive system, this hurls the X4 M from 0-62mph in 3.8 seconds, 0.3 seconds faster than before, making this the fastest-accelerating M SUV ever.

The engine has an explosive mid-range and a purposeful gargle that’s artificially enhanced in sportier settings. It’s not the most characterful, but it does have presence – and there’s accessible performance all the way through the rev range to back this up.

That M xDrive system helps agility, but there’s no getting away from the fact the X4 M weighs 2,085kg, and to achieve the grip it needs, it’s a compromised car.

At £88,185 it’s also a pricey car, although you do get lots as standard and it certainly feels sporty inside, receiving the same tech and layout updates as the X3.

Model:BMW X4 M Competition
Engine:3.0-litre 6cyl turbo petrol
Transmission:Eight-speed automatic, four-wheel drive 
0-62mph:3.8 seconds
Top speed:155mph
On sale:Now
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Sean’s been writing about cars since 2010, having worked for outlets as diverse as PistonHeads, MSN Cars, Which? Cars, Race Tech – a specialist motorsport publication – and most recently Auto Express and sister titles Carbuyer and DrivingElectric

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