The BMW X4 M Competition demonstrates just how challenging the process of crafting an effective, likeable performance SUV can be. If the niche’s current incumbents show one thing, it’s that there’s no one route to success. The Jaguar F-Pace SVR stands out for its ability to combine pile-driving V8 character and poise in a comfortable everyday package. An Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio is far more unforgiving but its agility lends it a distinct charm and appeal all of its own.
The X4 M, however, doesn’t possess an obvious endearing trait that justifies its shortcomings; it does plenty well enough but nothing to truly stand out. Its engine is effective, if a little flat on character. The chassis is agile at a superficial level but fails to feel particularly composed or inspiring on either road or track. Its cabin is plush, but any serenity is undermined by a highly strung ride.
Perhaps the unusually serious performance character will curry some favour but, in our book, a performance SUV needs greater dynamic versatility, a broader repertoire of abilities and more bombastic performance charisma than this to truly stand out.