Motoring

Road test: BMW X4 M Competition

Just say you’re really cashed up, perhaps you have two kids and a wife. Plus, you want a prestige car that falls into SUV territory. Well the BMW X4 M Competition can help with all that. But is 375kW really needed in one of these? No, that’s stupid. But there is some merit to the idea.

Firstly, don’t expect a plush, relaxing experience. For example, a two-hour stint behind the wheel, will probably shake all of your fillings out of your melon. Irrespective of what drive mode you’re in, the X4 M Competition is stiffer than a well starched collar. 

The BMW X3 M Competition also scores the same lunatic outputs, plus it’s much easier on the eye. The X4 is a bit of a hit and miss don’t you think? But at least there’s a choice and from behind the wheel you barely notice. From the B-pillar back, it merges into something I can’t stand. In fact, I don’t think even my cat liked it.

But this is an absolute weapon. A new bi-turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six produces 375kW at 6250rpm combined with a massive 600Nm of torque. Power is sent to all four wheels on demand thanks to the brand’sdrive technology.

I first got to drive this car on a giant clay pan in South Australia. In fact, this was one of the best car launches I’ve been to. There’s nothing better than drifting a $164,900 car, while bulldust finds every conceivable way into the cabin. 

That was fun, but only in the real world did some of the X4’s less than pleasant characteristics show up. The M sport seats are a nice touch, but not so much if you’re above playing weight. Good luck if you’re six-foot with rear headroom down, due to the sloping roofline.

I love the dual-M buttons that sit either side of the M steering wheel. They allow you to adjust suspension settings and traction control functions on the fly. On actual roads there’s no way I could live with this car, it’s just too tightly grounded. But having said that, BMW had to walk a very fine line here. It’s like they said, ok let’s build a rocket ship that will never see dirt.

Mission accomplished.

You’ll be pleased to hear Apple CarPlay makes an appearance via the 10.25-inch screen. What I found a little bit disappointing was some of the in-car presentation. The car is still running iDrive 6, which is ok, but you can also roll out of a dealer with a lesser model that gets iDrive 7.

These are minor issues and only stand out when you jump in and out of various cars. Given the squashed backend, the X4 can carry 525-litres, that’s around 25-litres on the X3. Thankfully you can lower the rear-seats that are set out in a 40:20:50 split-fold configuration. So, feel free to go and load up on toilet paper, which is of course imbecilic.

As you can see in my video, stepping the rear out is easy. The 4WD Sport mode really does send the rear-end into a session of happy hour. So much so there were a couple of times when I thought, shit this X4 is going to buck like a horse and kick me off.

All of the expected safety gear is there, should you ever need it. But seriously who is going to buy this, what is the point of it and why would you ignore the X3?

The BMW X4 M Competition is faster than many, many cars. This is a very good piece of kit, all the normal BMW DNA is there including steering calibration, smooth shifting gearbox and tremendous grip backed by a sophisticated AWD system.

But why, why??

It’s a 7.7 out of 10 from me.

Road test: BMW X4 M Competition
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