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The 2022 BMW X4 M and the more powerful X4 M Competition are siblings among a handful of vehicles competing in the high-performance sport utility vehicle niche. It’s a difficult automotive segment to fathom. What’s the purpose of a family-oriented vehicle with 503 horsepower and acceleration from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 3.3 seconds? Is there a racetrack SUV series? Is there a need for such speed en route to soccer practice, the grocery store or a weekend getaway?

Apparently, more means better. The updated BMW X4 M is the most expensive choice in the 2022 field that includes its sibling the BMW X3, Genesis GV70, Mercedes-AMG GLC43 or GLC63, Porsche Macan and Volvo XC60.

The new model features several exterior upgrades, including a revamped front bumper, headlights and taillights. The rear is also redesigned with full-LED taillights, a sport-oriented exhaust trim, horizontal turn signal bars and vertical air intakes.

As the priciest vehicle in its class, the BMW X4 M features a 3.0-liter, six-cylinder engine with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The Competition trim pushes the centerpiece of the higher-performance option to 503 horsepower. It also features a heated steering wheel, front and rear heated seats, parking assist, head-up display, gesture control and a rearview camera.

The head-up display projects “deep” into the front window as if it’s a 3D view. It’s an eye-pleasing view, a keener perspective than many head-up screens.

Technology is further impressive with the standard 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen. All models come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A Wi-Fi hotspot and a wireless smartphone charging pad are featured in the optional Executive Package. A Harman/Kardon 16-speaker stereo is standard.

Open-road, high-speed driving has long been a BMW forte, and the X4 M adheres to the carmaker’s reputation. It’s a freeway beast, maneuvering through traffic with authority. But true to the German automaker’s tradition, the ride is somewhat stiff and every bump is felt, notably for backseat occupants.

Despite its power, the X4’s driving traits are hampered by an awkward shifter. It’s difficult to switch driving modes from automatic shifting to using the small red “paddle” shifter buttons tucked behind the steering wheel.

Seating is satisfactory for four adults, tight for the advertised five passengers. Part of the BMW’s attractiveness is its sloping roofline—it doesn’t reduce interior headroom, but the configuration of the front and back seats and the vehicle’s headrests presents a problem. While they are adjustable, the headrests in their standard position appreciably hamper the view through the X4’s small oval rear window.

While made with top-line leather and configurable in numerous settings, the front seats are stiff, with odd design curves.

With its substantial starting price, the $7,000 Competition Package addition, $4,500 add-on for the polarizing Malachite Green Metallic exterior paint and $2,250 for the Executive Package, the new X4 M advances to more than $90,000.

If driving were limited to high-speed travel on the German Autobahn and similar transportation wonders, the BMW X4 would rule the road and its price could be justified. But real-life motoring is far more complicated. What the luxury, sporty SUV reveals is that performance is sometimes overrated.  

Facts & figures 

Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 3.3 seconds

Airbags: 6

Fuel economy: 15 mpg city, 20 mpg hwy

Horsepower: 503

Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $74,395

Manufacturer’s website: bmwusa.com

Price As Tested: $90,645

Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 4 years/50,000 miles; Powertrain, 4 years/50,000 miles; Corrosion, 12 years/Unlimited Mileage; Complimentary Maintenance, 3 years/36,000 miles

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