Sharing its go-fast mechanical bits with the X3 M, the 2021 X4 M adds a far more dramatic coupe-like roofline to throw in a little extra pizzazz—which may not appeal to everyone. Under the hood is a turbocharged inline-six that makes 473 horsepower in the standard model or a whopping 503 horses in the upgraded Competition trim. The latter delivered the X4 M from zero to 60 mph in an impressive 3.3 seconds at our test track. To go with its high-powered powertrain, the X4 M offers sharp handling, making it a blast to pitch down a twisty road; the trade-off is an often unforgiving ride over any rough patches. The cabin is essentially the same as the upscale X3 and X3 M models, save for rear headroom and cargo space, both of which are slightly pinched due to the fastback roofline. Most should still find the X4 M to be fairly practical, though: The rear seat is spacious enough for two adults, and the cargo area offered room for eight carry-on suitcases in our testing.
What’s New for 2021?
Like several other BMWs, the X4 M gains Android Auto and SiriusXM satellite radio as standard features for the 2021 model year. Otherwise, the flashy fastback SUV remains unchanged.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
The Competition model’s higher-output engine is worth every penny, so it’s the one we’d suggest here. We’d also splurge on both the Driving Assistance Plus package, which adds adaptive cruise control and more advanced driver-assistance features; the Executive package is also an intriguing add as it includes an onboard Wi-Fi hotspot, a head-up display, heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a wireless smartphone charging pad, and a self-parking feature.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Both models come with a turbocharged inline-six, standard all-wheel drive, and an eight-speed automatic transmission. The X4 M’s engine produces 473 horsepower, but the Competition model gets dialed up to 503. When we tested the Competition at our test track, it delivered brutal acceleration, jumping to 60 mph in just 3.3 seconds. That beats the X4’s main rival, the Mercedes-AMG GLC63, which blasted from zero to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds. In fact, the X4 M Competition even out-accelerated BMW’s famed M3 sports sedan in part due to the added traction that comes from its standard all-wheel-drive system. (The M3 powers only its rear wheels.) The standard X4’s driving character is already sharp, and the M division’s retuning of the suspension has provided an even firmer ride and dialed in even more impressive cornering grip.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
When it comes to high-performance SUVs, we don’t expect much in the way of fuel efficiency, but the X4 M’s EPA fuel economy ratings are atrocious at 14 mpg city, 19 mpg highway, and 16 mpg combined. The V-8-powered GLC63 Coupe earns ratings as high as 22 mpg highway, and the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio carries a 23-mpg highway rating. Luckily, the X4 M Competition does much better than expected in the real world. It surprised us on our 200-mile highway fuel economy route by delivering an impressive 26 mpg; the Stelvio Quadrifoglio managed just 21 mpg, and the GLC63 Coupe was good for only 20 mpg.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Upscale and sporty, the X4 M’s cabin is crafted from top-quality materials, its layout is driver-focused, and it’s easy to find just the right seating position. A host of luxury features is standard, including 14-way power-adjustable front seats, leather upholstery, a power rear liftgate, dual-zone automatic climate control, interior ambient lighting, heated front seats, and a panoramic sunroof. The sloped roofline doesn’t intrude into rear-seat passenger space as much as expected, and most average-height passengers will find the rear seat plenty comfortable. Cargo space is more limited here than in the X3 M, but we still managed to fit eight carry-on suitcases behind the rear seat and a total of 18 with the rear seats folded flat.
Infotainment and Connectivity
All X4 M models come with a 10.3-inch infotainment touchscreen with the latest iteration of BMW’s iDrive interface. Navigation is standard and all models also come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. An onboard Wi-Fi hotspot and a wireless smartphone charging pad are part of the optional Executive package. In lieu of analog gauges, the X4 M and X4 M Competition come standard with a 12.3-inch reconfigurable digital gauge display. Audiophiles will be happy that a Harman/Kardon 16-speaker stereo is standard, so there’s no need to pay extra to upgrade.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The standard X4 hasn’t been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), and neither has the high-performance M variant. For what it’s worth, the squareback X3 earned five stars from NHTSA and was named a Top Safety Pick+ by IIHS. BMW offers its Active Driving Assistant package, which includes basic driver-assistance features, as standard, but more advanced technology is optional. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Standard lane-departure warning
- Available adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Like all other new BMWs, the X4 M and X4 M Competition come with a four-year/50,000-mile warranty and a generous three-year/36,000-mile complimentary scheduled maintenance plan. Mercedes-AMG offers no such maintenance plan, but the Jaguar F-Pace SVR one-ups the BMW with longer warranty terms and up to five years of free maintenance.
- Limited warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for 3 years or 36,000 miles
More Features and Specs