Though utility vehicles will never be quite as fun to drive as their lower-to-the-ground car counterparts, you have to tip your hat to BMW that is trying their darnedest to close the gap with examples like the 2021 X4 M Competition.
First released two years ago, it was the first time the German automaker offered either the M or the even spicier M Competition variant of the “Sports Activity Coupe” (SAC), so called due to the crossover’s sloping roof shape providing the signature turtle-like silhouette.
To different from regular versions, the model boasts all kinds of exterior enhancements including a gloss-black finish on the kidney grill surround, side mirror caps, fender gills and tailgate lip spoiler. Stuffed under the wide wheel arches are chunky 21-inch alloys, and the quad tailpipes of the raucous sports exhaust system frame the contrast rear bumper diffuser, both standard equipment.
Our tester also had the optional $10,000 Ultimate Package installed, which upgrades things like the massive front air intakes and some of the above aero elements with carbon fibre construction. In addition, the bright red calipers of the $750 compound brakes can be seen from a mile away peeking out from underneath the wheel spokes.
The interior is arguably even more stunning than the body. The power adjustable heated and ventilated seats were swathed in quilted Sakhir Orange Extended Merino Leather, and virtually every accessory from the steering wheel and gear knob to the doorsills and seat belts feature stylish M branding and quality-feeling craftsmanship.
Driving ergonomics are top notch, however one glaring issue is the low greenhouse creating a sliver of a rear window that is difficult to see out — made even worse when the second row centre headrest is in an extended position.
The M Competition packs serious punch under the hood. The TwinPower Turbo 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine, making 510 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque, is the most powerful of its kind produced by BMW and turns the SAC into an absolute rocket. Combined with xDrive all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission, the vehicle can go from 0 to 100 km/h in a hair over four seconds.
An M-specific suspension system, comprised of a double-joint spring strut front and five-link rear setup as well as electronically controlled dampers, can make you forget you’re piloting an SUV when cornering. Be forewarned though: the ride is teeth-rattling stiff over any the slightest bumpy surfaces, even when set to Comfort mode.
For 2022, the X4 M Competition is refreshed receiving a few aesthetic accoutrements and a slight bump in torque. The current offering is priced starting at $95,600 MSRP.