It's clearly a sign of the times.
There's a tradition in the MotoGP motorcycle racing championship where the rider with the best qualifying results is rewarded with an exclusive, individually designed BMW M car. It's a tradition that's been held since 2003 as part of BMW M's 'Official Car of MotoGP' commitment. Last year's prize car was a BMW M3 CS awarded to Marc Marquez. It's a sign of the times, then, that this year's prize car will be an SUV for the first time ever. Specifically, it's a 2020 BMW X4 M Competition finished in Toronto Red Metallic.
In addition, the prize car will feature full leather, Merino Adelaide Grey upholstery, as well as M Sport Seats, the M Competition Package and the M Sport Exhaust System. An exclusive special feature is that the BMW M Award winner's car has a Carbon Exterior Package, which won't be launched until later this year.
The high-performance SUV packs the most powerful straight-six gasoline engine ever fitted to a BMW M vehicle, with a 3.0-liter twin-turbo unit producing 503 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque. Mated to an eight-speed M Steptronic transmission with Drivelogic and the new M xDrive AWD system, the 2020 BMW X4 M Competition can sprint from 0-62 mph in 4.1 seconds and hit a top speed of 174 mph.
"We're delighted that the BMW M Award has been such a coveted award in the MotoGP family for many years," said Vladimir Bistrivoda, head of MotoGP Collaboration at BMW M GmbH. "The BMW M Award is a significant part of our long-standing, successful partnership with MotoGP for us as well. For this reason, it is important to us that we present something special as a prize each year."
"For the 2019 season, we chose our new BMW X4 M Competition. It combines athleticism, performance, passion and adrenaline – attributes that it shares with the MotoGP and the performances with which its riders wow crowds at the racetrack. We wish all MotoGP riders the best of luck and are excited to see who will receive the BMW M Award at the final round in Valencia."
The record holder is Marc Márquez, who has already claimed the BMW M Award six times in a row. Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner each have three wins to their name. Jorge Lorenzo has been honored as the best qualifier twice to date while Sete Gibernau and Nicky Hayden have each won the award once.