Explaining the 2022 BMW X4 M to the uninitiated is no simple task. The X4 is based on the X3, BMW's best-selling crossover model, but swaps the X3's conventional roofline for one described as coupe-inspired. The X4 M is the highest performing distillation of this concept in the luxury compact crossover segment, bundling coupe style with crossover practicality. Borrowing the same twin-turbocharged inline-six engine found in the M3 Sedan and M4 Coupe, this engine comes in two flavors producing up to 503 horsepower, making the X4 M a nuclear-powered family carrier.
With a fresh face for 2022, the X4 M directly competes with the Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 Coupe and Porsche Macan GTS. The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio also springs to mind here, though it more directly rivals the X3 M. We drove the BMW X4 M when it first arrived for the 2020 model year, and our most glaring complaint went to the overly firm suspension. BMW's engineers say it took customer feedback into account, and the 2022 facelift should address our concerns about the stiff ride. After being handed the keys to a 2022 X4 M for a week, we can say our criticism has softened, but not entirely.
Although not an all-new model, the 2022 BMW X4 M undergoes quite a comprehensive facelift. Walk up to the coupe-style SUV and you'll notice a larger BMW kidney grille and restyled LED headlights that are 0.4 inches thinner than before. The front bumper, central air intake, vertical side air intakes, and the rear bumper are all either new or have been revised. There's a freshly updated color palette as well, with new choices including Brooklyn Grey metallic, Carbon Black metallic, Bay Blue metallic, and the eye-popping Sao Paulo Yellow we had on our tester.
Inside, the X4 M gets newly designed ventilation outlets, redesigned climate controls, and center console controls originating from the M3 and M4. The central touchscreen interface is now larger at a standard 12.3 inches, matching the 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster.
BMW has not left the impressive six-cylinder engine untouched either. While power remains the same, torque has increased for both the base X4 M and the X4 M Competition. As a result, the X4 M is even quicker than before - the Competition needs just 3.7 seconds to hit 60.
See trim levels and configurations:
3.0L Twin-Turbo Inline-6 Gas
No one can question the X4 M's performance credentials. This family crossover can approach speeds that just 20 years ago were the preserve of supercars, both in a straight line and through the corners. Unfortunately, there's a price to pay for that face-stretching handling; the ride is brutal. BMW's engineers tell us the X3 M and X4 M are softer for the 2022 model year, and they are not lying. Yes, the suspension no longer makes our head bounce around uncomfortably, but it's still not what we'd call compliant. We highly recommend test driving the X4 M on a rough stretch of road before you buy. In the Comfort suspension setting, the car can lull you into thinking the ride is tolerable on smooth highways. Put the suspension into Sport Plus and run it down a cobblestone road; if you hate it, we think the lesser X4 M40i could be right for you.
Like most modern M cars, the X4 M overwhelms its driver with endless customization options. There are Comfort, Sport, and Sport Plus modes for the steering feel and suspension, Efficient, Sport, and Sport Plus settings for the engine, and two modes for the AWD system. That doesn't even include the three transmission modes and the active sports exhaust system. Setting it up perfectly takes some time, but you can then save your ideal settings onto one of two red M buttons on the wheel. We had our M1 button set in the sportiest modes for everything except the suspension, which we left in full comfort.
With the AWD system set to sport, the traction control shuts off, allowing the X4 M to perform impressive tail slides. The front wheels reel you in right before making a big mistake, making it easy to drive the X4 M quickly without fear of getting it wrong. Aside from the bouncy ride, our only other complaints address the steering and the brakes. While sharp and precise, BMW's steering is less communicative than Alfa Romeo or Porsche. As for the brakes, they can bring the X4 M down to a stop in a big hurry, but they can sometimes feel grabby in stop-and-go traffic.
NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.
The 2022 BMW X4 M is a highly specialized vehicle, making it a tough recommendation for the average SUV buyer. We are happy to see BMW take customer feedback into account, softening the suspension for the 2022 model year. However, we don't believe BMW went far enough with this change to please families who plan to use the X4 M every day on rough roads. Sure, the X4 M offers blistering performance, but we would have more fun driving an M3 Sedan or M4 Coupe.
Price agnostic shoppers in the high-performance crossover segment will find a lot to love here, including a sweetheart inline-six engine, blistering performance, and eye-catching styling. That being said, Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 Coupe offers similar performance and an uncompromisingly stiff ride too, with only the Alfa alternative giving buyers a truly supple suspension in the right mode. If comfort is more important, we recommend stepping down to the X4 M40i, or spending up on the softer (and larger) Jaguar F-Pace SVR. And if you're completely sold on the X4 M but want more space, the X3 M offers an identical driving experience for $3,500 less. We'd go for the X3 M, since it's more practical.
The only Porsche Macan that comes close to matching the X4 M's performance is the GTS. Starting at $79,900, it's pricier but also down on power at 434 hp, relative to the base X4 M's 473 hp. You also have to shell out another $1,220 on the Porsche to get the Sport Chrono package which will bring down the 0-60 time from 4.3 to 4.1 seconds, at which point the X4 M is still quicker. In the Porsche's favor is more feelsome steering, a phenomenal dual-clutch automatic gearbox, and a wonderful chassis. But the X4 M handles well too, is cheaper, has a bigger trunk, and enjoys more features as standard like that panoramic moonroof and a better sound system. The Porsche looks good and has the dynamic edge in some respects, but the X4 M is more car for less money.
By comparison, the more practical X3 M is $3,500 less expensive than the X4 M. It may not be as flashy to look at, but the X3 M is far from a boring SUV. It's got the same power and performance yet is more comfortable for rear-seat passengers. The X3 M also has a 28.7-cubic-foot trunk, over 10 cubes bigger than the X4 M's trunk. Many will also prefer the X3 M's less divisive styling, as the X4 M looks a bit strange from certain angles. To drive, both SUVs are difficult to tell apart, which is to say they're thrillingly quick. Both have rather firm suspension setups, though, so a test drive is necessary to ascertain if you can live with them. We'll go for the more sensible but just as enjoyable X3 M.
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