What is it?
It is only two years since BMW launched the X4 M Competition as a rival to the likes of the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, Porsche Macan GTS and Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 Coupé. Yet it's already ringing the changes on the rapid performance SUV – and in a sign of the strength of the high riding competition, they’re more significant than what we’re used to seeing from BMW at mid-life facelift time.
As with the more practical X3 M Competition, the 2022 X4 M receives a rather comprehensive styling makeover, with a completely new front bumper featuring distinctive vertically stacked air ducts, a slightly larger single frame kidney grille and revised adaptive headlights with flatter assemblies and M-specific LED graphics up front.
BMW claims the new front bumper brings a reduction in high-speed lift together with improvements in both engine and front brake cooling efficiency. The styling changes also help to visually differentiate the X4 M further from the standard second-generation X4, which has been given its own, altogether milder, styling update.
The changes at the rear aren’t quite as striking: there's more heavily structured LED tail-light lenses with altered graphics, a new high-gloss black spoiler lip and a restyled bumper featuring a new-look lower section housing a redesigned diffuser that's flanked by a pair of round tailpipes either side.
The reworked M car also receives a fresh range of alloy wheels, including new 21in M Competition items that are claimed to bring a 2kg reduction in weight at each corner.
Under the bonnet is a reworked version of BMW M’s S58 engine. The twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre straight six has adopted a new forged crankshaft and revised software among other detailed changes. Power remains the same as before, at 503bhp, but peak torque has been increased by 37lbft to 479lb ft between 2750rpm and 5500rpm.
Drive is channelled through a recalibrated eight-speed torque-converter automatic gearbox with steering wheel-mounted shift paddles and BMW M’s fully variable xDrive four-wheel drive system, which is shared with the M3, M4 and M5.
There's a bewildering number of driving modes available via the standard Drivelogic function. They allow the driver to alter the characteristics of the engine, gearbox, xDrive system, suspension, steering and DSC (dynamic stability control) independently of one another.
The double-wishbone and multi-link suspension that underpins the X4 M has been retuned as part of efforts to answer criticism of its harsh ride. Changes to the so-called Adaptive M set-up include revised adaptive dampers that are aimed at providing greater levels of compliance in both Comfort and Sport modes. Our test car rode on 245/45 R20 front and 275/40 R20 Pirelli P Zero tyres, one of a number of choices offered to customers.