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The BMW X4M is a no-holds-barred version of the X4 range, and the zany colour adds to its lunacy. Picture: PHUTI MPYANE
The BMW X4M is a no-holds-barred version of the X4 range, and the zany colour adds to its lunacy. Picture: PHUTI MPYANE

The BMW X4 is a lavishly equipped and comfy family coupe-SUV, and the high-performance M Competition version has benefited from a recent update.

If the regular models that include a diesel option offer what the average family needs in practicality and flamboyance, then the X4M Competition brings motorsport potions to an otherwise sober template.  

The carnival colour of our test unit deserves a mention. It’s called Sao Paulo yellow and was the official launch colour of the BMW M4 when new. It reflects the lunacy to be had in the X4M and contrasts beautifully with the black accents and alloys, but if the hue is a tad neon for you, there are tamer shades available.

Luxurious and sophisticated, the X4M’s semi-autonomous driving mode makes it a cinch to commandeer in traffic. It can self-steer into corners, brake and throttle on its own when conditions allow, and the extensive digital suite includes gesture controls and remote services with the ability to ask the car to search, locate and also put you in touch with a restaurant using its on-board voice controls and telephony.

Practicality isn’t even a question. It can fit four or five passengers comfortably on seats covered in good-quality hide. The front pair is powered and tastefully bucket-shaped with neat stitching, while the 2,864mm wheelbase didn’t feel cramped for rear passengers. A 525l boot capacity, or 1,430l with the back seats down, is accessed via an electric tailgate. If the swoopy roof is not ideal for your needs, BMW also markets the more practical X3M Competition. 

The X4M is about raw performance, and the boisterous twin-turbocharged in-line six-cylinder it shares with its M3 and M4 cousins dishes out 375kW and 650Nm, equating to a 50Nm gain over the previous model. It gets an eight-speed automatic transmission with adjustable shift actions. 

BMW rates it with 3.8 secs from standstill to 100km/h, and we got very close to that when we tested the claim at Gerotek’s proving grounds. The launch sequence requires a firm press of the brake pedal while dialling the engine revs to about 3,500rpm — and we achieved 4.0 secs.

The cabin is stitched together with a sum of quality finishes for a sport luxury ambience. Picture: SUPPLIED
The cabin is stitched together with a sum of quality finishes for a sport luxury ambience. Picture: SUPPLIED

This is the kind of acceleration expected from low-slung sports cars and so too is the 285km/h top speed that is available with the standard M Driver’s Package fitted. 

The handling, tested at the same venue’s dynamic handling track, revealed that the standard fitment limited-slip diff in conjunction with all-wheel traction gifts the X4M with incredible cornering poise. Because it’s smaller than the X6M, the handling and sensations are much closer to the M3 and M4. The BMW M compound brakes were also up to the task of stopping the vehicle with no signs of early fade. 

The X4M takes its tremendous speed and traction to the roads, and it uses its kick to explode up steep inclines or past slower cars. With comfort mode set, the gears are gentler, but the damping isn’t the best. It’s a harsh ride that turns choppy even on the slightest road imperfections. It gets worse on gravel roads.

This is the only drawback in an otherwise solid package, which also returned a frugal 9.8l/100km on a languid 200km drive, bettering its maker’s claim of 10.6l/100km.

Unlike its rivals, this sporting BMW SUV isn’t laced with sexy-sounding monikers like V8 as found in the GLC 63 AMG, “supercharged” as displayed by the Jaguar F-Pace SVR, and neither does it have Ferrari DNA such as the Stelvio Quadrifoglio or the word “Porsche” glued on its rump like on the Macan GTS. It delivers its secrets to those who know what to look for, and it’s a performance SUV I would recommend in a heartbeat.  

The BMW X4M boasts a wide set of adjustable parameters for its engine, transmission and 4WD chasssis. Picture: SUPPLIED
The BMW X4M boasts a wide set of adjustable parameters for its engine, transmission and 4WD chasssis. Picture: SUPPLIED

Tech Specs

ENGINE

Type: Six-cylinder petrol turbo

Capacity: 3.0l

Power: 375kW

Torque: 650Nm

TRANSMISSION

Type: Eight-speed Auto

DRIVETRAIN

Type: All-wheel drive

PERFORMANCE

Top speed: 285km/h

0-100km/h: 3.8 secs (claimed), 4.0 secs (as tested)

Fuel consumption: 10.6l/100km (as claimed), 9.8l/100km (as tested)

Emissions: 244g/km

STANDARD FEATURES

Park distance control with camera front and rear, hill descent control, lane departure warning, lane-keeping assist, daytime driving running lights, auto on/off and adaptive laser headlights, panoramic roof sliding, navigation, keyless access, cruise control, adaptive rain sensor wipers, driving modes, head-up display, tyre pressure sensor, electric tail gate, leather upholstery, ABS brakes, stability control, six airbags. 

COST OF OWNERSHIP

Warranty: Two years/unlimited km

Maintenance plan: Five years/100,000km

Price: R2,072,618

Lease*: R44,131 per month

* at 10% interest over 60 months, no deposit

BMW X4M Competition

WE LIKE: Sao Paulo Yellow paint, performance, dual nature

WE DISLIKE: Ride quality 

VERDICT: A BMW M4 Competition on stilettoes 

Motor News star rating

Design * * * *

Performance * * * * *

Economy * * * * 

Ride * * * 

Handling * * * * *

Safety * * * * *

Value For Money * * * * 

Overall * * * * *

The competition

Porsche Macan GTS, 324kW/550Nm — R1,551,000

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio Q4, 375kW/600Nm — R1,829,900

Jaguar F-Pace SVR, 405kW/700Nm — R1,991,869

Mercedes-Benz GLC 63 AMG, 375kW/700Nm — R2,165,172

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