2020 BMW X4 M Preview
- Twin-turbo version of BMW’s midsize X4 “sports activity coupe”
- Makes up to 503 horsepower, zooms to 60 mph in as few as 4 seconds, top speed of 177 mph
- Full M performance massage, from the available 21-in. wheels to the available gloss black roof spoiler
- Lots of available luxury, safety, and technology upgrades
- Cargo space expands from 18.5 cu. ft. to 50.5 cu. ft.
- Production starts in April 2019
- Built in Spartanburg, South Carolina
Performance-tuned SUVs are nothing new, and BMW has offered M-engineered versions of the X5 and X6 for several years. Now, the latest hot rod to join the lineup is the 2020 BMW X4 M, a fastback-style model that the automaker calls a “sports activity coupe.”
It goes on sale before the summer of 2019, joining the mechanically identical X3 M in showrooms. Prices will be announced closer to that time, following an April 2019 production start at BMW’s huge Spartanburg, South Carolina assembly plant.
Visually, the new BMW X4 M sets itself apart with black grille trim, redesigned front and rear bumpers with bigger front air intakes and a new rear diffuser panel, M-specific front fender gills and side mirrors, rear roof spoiler, and dual exhaust outlets. The X4 M sits on special Orbit Gray light-aluminum 20-in. wheels wearing high-performance run-flat tires sized 255/45 in front and 265/45 in back.
Full LED adaptive headlights are standard, as well as front and rear park-assist sensors. Seven different exterior paint colors are available, including an exclusive Donington Gray and a new version of Toronto Red. A higher-performance Competition trim adds Jet Black 21-in. wheels with more aggressive 255/40 front and 265/40 rear tires, black chrome exhaust outlets, and black trim on the side mirrors, fender gills, and rear spoiler.
As an option, an M Carbon Exterior package adds carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) trim in selected locations.
Inside, the X4 M gets an M-specific steering wheel, gear selector, and instrumentation. BMW installs soft kneepads on the sides of the center console to protect your legs when the SUV is driven aggressively.
Premium leather in Black or Oyster is standard, covering heated front sport seats that face aluminum carbon structure dashboard trim. Competition trim equips the X4 M with M Sport front seats featuring super-premium leather in Black, 2-tone Black and Sakhir Orange, or 2-tone Black and Adelaide Gray color schemes. The M Sport seats are optional for the standard X4 M.
Cargo space is less than generous, thanks to the X4 M’s rakish roofline. But this is to be expected. Besides, the trunk holds 18.5 cu. ft. of cargo, which is still a good amount of space. Fold the standard 40/20/40/ split rear seat down and this SUV can swallow up to 50.5 cu. ft. of cargo.
You can upgrade the X4 M with an Executive package that adds a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, upgraded infotainment system, head-up display, and Parking Assistant Plus. That latter feature helps the driver by autonomously steering the SUV into parking spaces.
Higher-quality interior materials are also available through the BMW Individual catalog, including ultra-premium leather in unique colors, Alcantara simulated suede on parts of the cabin, and carbon fiber interior trim.
Under the Hood
BMW fortifies the 4,590-lb. X4 M with a powerful, twin-turbocharged, 3.0-liter 6-cylinder engine. In standard tune, it makes 473 horsepower between 6,250 rpm and 7,200 rpm, and 442 lb.-ft. of torque between 2,600 rpm and 5,600 rpm. In Competition tune, horsepower rises to 503, and peak torque is available through to 5,950 rpm. To ensure reliable performance, the engine features improved oil supply and cooling systems, BMW says. Fun facts include a forged crankshaft and a 3D-printed cylinder-head core.
An 8-speed M Steptronic automatic transmission is standard, giving the driver three different Drivelogic modes to help tailor its behavior. Drivers can also shift manually using the gear selector or paddle shifters on the steering wheel.
Every X4 M is equipped with an M xDrive all-wheel-drive (AWD) system. It powers the SUV’s rear wheels exclusively until wheel slip requires the added traction of AWD. The X4 M supplies 8.1 ins. of ground clearance.
According to BMW, the resulting performance from this hardware is acceleration to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds (4.0 seconds for Competition trim), and an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph. Opt for the M Driver’s package and the standard X4 M will reach 174 mph while the X4 M Competition will hit 177 mph, BWM says.
Drivers have significant control over the X4 M’s dynamics. In addition to the transmission’s Drivelogic selections, Comfort, Sport, and Sport+ driving modes calibrate the powertrain response, speed-sensing variable-ratio steering, and Adaptive M suspension. There are also modes specific to the dynamic stability control (DSC) system, and even a 4WD Sport option that BMW says is perfect for holding long, controlled drifts. Best of all, once you’ve found the just-right mix of settings, you can save up to two different driving profiles, making them easy to access.
Additional performance upgrades include an M-specific performance exhaust system with drive-selectable exhaust flaps (continuously variable flaps for Competition trim). The steering is M-tuned, and M compound brakes are standard, with calipers painted blue and adorned with the M logo.
BMW also fortifies the X4 M’s underlying structure and suspension to enhance handling and reduce unwanted body motions and roll in corners. This version of the SUV gets a shock tower brace, and starting in August 2019 will be available with one made of CFRP.
The BMW X4 M’s standard safety package is fairly basic, including forward-collision warning, pedestrian detection, and low-speed automatic emergency braking. There is, however, a long list of upgrades available. Active cruise control with stop-and-go capability is just the tip of the iceberg.
A Driving Assistant package adds features such as lane-departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert, rear-collision prevention, and a lane-change warning system. From there, you can option the X4 M with a Driving Assistant Plus package that includes several steering-related systems including lane-keeping assistant with active side-collision protection, lane-control assistant, and evasion aid, which is a stability-enhancing function active when a driver takes sudden action to avoid an obstacle.
Additional features of the Driving Assistant package include front cross-traffic alert, crossroads warning, and wrong-way warning systems.
BMW says that every X4 M will have a Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system, one free year of satellite radio service, and a navigation system. Apple CarPlay is also available, along with Wi-Fi connectivity, wireless device charging, and gesture-control capability.
Popular on NADAguidesMost Dependable Trucks: 2018 Vehicle Dependability Study
Most Dependable Family SUVs: 2018 Vehicle Dependability Study
10 Most Popular Midsize SUVs and Crossovers
Most Reliable Crossovers and SUVs in 2017
Most Reliable Luxury Crossovers and SUVs Under $60,000 in 2017