Call us Abe Simpson, because the 2022 BMW X4MIt has turned us into gaffers screaming at the clouds. We know the market demands SUVs and we understand that BMW’s M division likes to build track-focused performance machines with impossible capability. But maybe there are some models that are better off without the full M treatment. I like it the X4.
Don’t get us wrong, we thoroughly enjoyed squeezing our X4 M competition-spec 3.0-liter inline-six, which makes 503 horsepower (30 more horsepower than the run-of-the-mill X4 M). The latest version of BMW’s S58 straight-six is an absolute riot all the way to its 7,200-rpm redline. And for 2022, the $81,595 X4 M Competition engine benefits from an additional 37 pound-feet of torque ($74,595 X4 M gets a 15 pound-feet of torque increase).
With 479 pound-feet of twist, the X4 M Competition accelerates even more ferociously than before. relative to a 2020 X4 M Competition we tested In late 2019, the 2022 Torquier model shaved 0.2 seconds off the SUV’s 5-60 and 30-50 mph trips, with times of 4.4 and 2.5 seconds, respectively. Meanwhile, its 3.0-second 50-70 mph run marked a 0.1-second improvement over its 2020 counterpart, as did its 3.2-second 60-mph run.
Of course, the X4 M’s almost intuitive eight-speed automatic transmission and quick-reacting four-wheel drive system also deserve some credit for these figures, as the former covers the initial lag of the turbos, while the second ensures the Bimmer launches with little drama. But even with all-wheel drive, this humpbacked SUV has enough oomph to spin its front tires slightly during high-speed launches.
Possibly more valuable than the 22 mph increase in top speed, the package also includes a one-day driving class at the BMW Performance Center.
With the help of its 21-inch Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires, our Sao Paulo Yellow Bimmer dragged 0.96g on the skid pad, the same number posted by the We tested the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio 2021 less than a year ago. Despite its prodigious grip, the X4 M’s curb weight of 4,555 pounds and high center of gravity handicap it on twistier stretches of asphalt. Please note that a 2022 X4 M Competition on our 2022 Lightning Lap event topped Virginia International Raceway in an impressive time of 3:02.9, but600-pound lighter 2022 M3 Competition xDrive sedan— employing essentially the same powertrain as the X4 M Competition — did it in an impressive 2:53.5.
Still, the sheer madness of the X4 M Competition is exciting in its own right. Crank up the throttle in a corner with the all-wheel-drive system set to its rear-facing Sport mode and the rear of the bulky BMW will pop out for a brief controlled oversteer. Enter a tight corner at a decent pace and the inside rear wheel will lift, turning this high-powered X4 variant into a temporary tripod. No doubt the M3 and M4 are superior tools on back roads, but the X4 M Competition is still good for fun in those environments.
This is despite its variable-ratio steering, which suffers from a small but noticeable amount of play in the center in Comfort mode, but feels artificially heavy when switched to its Sport and Sport Plus settings. The brake pedal is also too touchy at lower speeds, requiring a delicate touch to keep the calipers from biting too hard into the 15.6-inch front and 14.6-inch rear rotors. However, once the brake system starts to generate some heat, the pedal action becomes more progressive.
The X4 M Competition’s big brakes proved quite capable on the track, working with the summer rubber to stop the SUV from 70 mph in 154 feet without fading, a figure equal to that of a 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwingalbeit 7 feet longer than the 2020 X4 M Competition’s 147-foot sampler.
Though the fastback roofline and long rear overhang give it odd proportions (something further exacerbated by integrated roof rails), the X4 M’s exterior revisions noticeably improve the model’s appearance. Credit the 0.4-inch slimmer headlamps, reworked front and rear fascias with gloss black finishes, and a revised kidney grille design that’s less porcine. Even so, we much prefer the boxier style of the mechanically identical X3 Mwhich has the benefit of a more streamlined rear design that gives you an additional five cubic feet of cargo space.
Accompanying the X4 M’s exterior changes is an interior that includes a revised dashboard with a 12.3-inch touchscreen, 2.0 inches larger than the previous unit, running BMW’s latest iDrive infotainment setup and a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster with a revamped user interface. . Additionally, the cabin features new climate controls and an updated center console that houses the start/stop button and various controls related to driving mode. Although the transmission has a new shifter, the console-mounted unit still operates in a somewhat confusing manner, with reverse located up and to the left of the lever’s default position.
Some active safety equipment, such as blind spot monitors and a lane departure warning system, are standard on the X4 M. However, adaptive cruise control and lane centering are optional, part of the Driving Assistance Professional package. of $1700, an additional test of $86,345 vehicle made without. We feel these items should be standard on such an expensive vehicle.
Heated front seats are also missing from the list of standard features. BMW includes them in the $2,250 Executive package, which includes a heated steering wheel, heated rear outboard seats, a head-up display, a 360-degree camera system, self-parking capabilities, and cutesy, middling gesture controls. trusted for infotainment setup.
What infuriated us most, though, was the stiff suspension setup on this performance-focused X4. Although the adaptive dampers offer three modes to choose from (Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus), none of those settings noticeably improves the X4 M Competition’s suspension compliance on rough roads. If you didn’t have a favorite chiropractor before you got on the X4, you’ll be looking for one when you get out.
We’d argue that BMW’s M division should take its SUVs in a completely different direction than its cars. The X4 M Competition doesn’t really need to channel the energy of a track-focused sports car. Instead, it should carve out its own identity as, say, a rally-inspired SUV: a vehicle that can hold its own on pavement but really pulls through on dusty gravel and dirt roads. As the Ford F-150 Raptor and its peers demonstrate, exhilarating performance and compliant suspension aren’t mutually exclusive.
That said, we’d also settle for an X4 M that largely follows the current SUV template, but trades inflexible suspension tuning for a more forgiving setup. Because if shaving milliseconds off your lap times is your top priority, then your interests are better served by the M3 and M4. Or, another idea: Pick the better-handling (and about $23,000 less expensive) X3 M40i, then use its 4,400-pound tow rating to haul a nice caged E30 to your favorite tracks. You won’t hit 60 mph as quickly, but you’ll feel much more comfortable getting there.
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