2023 BMW X4 M

MIAMI — High-octane performance is not usually what you expect from SUVs, even luxury makes, but there are exceptions. Not surprisingly, a prime example of an SUV that is all about horsepower and torque comes from Germany. The 2023 BMW X4 M Competition model that the company bills as a Sports Activity Coupe and most others call an SUV sports a 503-horsepower, turbocharged inline-6 engine that produces a whopping 479 pound-feet of torque.

With standard all-wheel drive and an 8-speed automatic transmission, the 2023 BMW X4 M Competition sprints from zero to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds, a clocking posted by zeroto60times.com for 2022 and confirmed by Car & Driver for this year’s edition.

That’s pretty impressive activity for a vehicle that checks in at 4,555 pounds and seats five in a roomy, luxurious, technology-packed interior.

With a firm sport suspension designed to improve cornering capability, a sloping profile, and standard 21-inch wheels, the 2023 BMW X4 M Competition seems more suited to the race track than off-road challenges and daily commutes.

It is a thirsty beast with mileage rated at 15 miles-per-gallon city, 20 highway, and 17 combined using premium grade fuel, according to the EPA, though more conservative driving techniques may improve those numbers. Car & Driver reported 26 mpg it its 75-mile highway test.

BMW unveiled the performance versions of its standard X4 SUV in 2020 with the X4 M and X4 M Competition. The manufacturer gave them refreshed exterior and interior styling in 2022 but made few changes for the 2023 X4 M Competition.

It offers lots of standard features in a high-class interior that include 14-way power adjustable front seats, dual-zone climate control, leather seats, a panoramic sunroof, selectable interior ambient lighting, power rear liftgate, heated front seats, a 12.3-inch touchscreen for infotainment functions, Harman Karon premium sound system, and Apple CarPlay and Android/Auto.

The sloping roofline gives it a sleeker profile than the X3 SUV it is based on and doesn’t intrude on rear-seat passengers (unless perhaps you typically give rides to NBA centers and power forwards), though cargo capacity is considerably less than what the X3 offers.

With all seats in place, the 2023 BMW X4 M Competition offers 18.5 cubic feet of cargo space. The X3 M expands that to 28.7 cubic feet.

The X4 M Competition adds the 21-inch wheels instead of 20s, a performance exhaust system, and upgraded leather upholstery.

Options include a Driver Assistance Package that includes adaptive cruise control, and lane-keeping assist. Blind-spot warning can be activated via vehicle settings on the touchscreen. An Executive Package adds heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel, head-up display, wireless charging pad, and parking assist.

Unfortunately, the Monroney spec sheet was not available for my test vehicle for the week, but pricing starts at $84,395. The base 2023 BMW X4 M starts at $78,895.

What I liked about the 2023 BMW X4 M Competition: Performance is outstanding. Overall it’s a fun vehicle to drive. Infotainment features are plentiful and fairly user-friendly. Climate control functions, for instance, work off of hard buttons.

What I didn’t like about the 2023 BMW Competition: The ride can be very firm for those with sensitive backside, and the looks — especially the green color — is polarizing. I didn’t go for it, though it did draw compliments  from some passers-by. The shifter has a weird zig-zag pattern. Cargo capacity is closer to what you get from a large sedan instead of an SUV.

Would I buy the 2023 BMW X4 M Competition? Not in this color.

— Paul Borden