BMW finally working on a competitor for the Mercedes-AMG GLC63

The BMW X4 came to be in 2014 as a coupe version of the popular X3. Although sporting a sloping roofline and a redesigned rear end, the X4 is actually an X3 underneath, using the same chassis and drivetrains. The purpose of this crossover was to offer customers a sportier looking X3, as well as expand the company’s SUV lineup to four models. Unlike most Bimmer, the X4 has yet to gain a proper M version, although BMW did launch an M40i for the 2016 model year. In 2017, rumors that an X4 M might be underway began to turn into reality with more prototypes spotted on public roads. Come 2018 and the first-ever M version of the crossover is getting closer and closer to its official debut.

With the X4 having received a facelift , there’s no doubt that the X4 M will benefit from the same visual cues. It’s still a mystery as to why BMW delayed the X4 M for so long, especially with Mercedes-Benz already offering AMG version of the GLC, but we at least know that the performance-oriented SUV is on its way. An official launch date has yet to be announced, but we gathered all the information we have in a speculative review. We also created a new rendering of the X4 M based on the latest data provided by test cars seen on public roads.

Updated 04/04/2018: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming BMW X4 M during hi-speed testing on the Nürburgring in Germany.

Continue reading to learn more about the BMW X4 M.

Spy Shots

April 4, 2018 - BMW X4 M caught testing on the Nurburgring

2018 BMW X4 M
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2018 BMW X4 M
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October 3, 2017 - BMW X4 M caught testing in Germany

2018 BMW X4 M Exterior Spyshots
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2018 BMW X4 M Exterior Spyshots
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August 1st, 2016 - X4 M caught testing outside the BMW factory in South Carolina

2018 BMW X4 M Spyshots Exterior
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2018 BMW X4 M Spyshots Exterior
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TopSpeed Rendering History

Rendering No. 1 - August, 2012

2018 BMW X4 M Exclusive Renderings
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Our first rendering came shortly after rumors began swirling about am M variant of the X4 model. As you can see, this initial rendering was pretty close to what the X4 Prototype ended up looking like, but it was off ever so slightly.

Rendering No. 2 - April, 2013

2018 BMW X4 M Exclusive Renderings
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Our second rendering, which we based off of the X4 prototype, cleans up most of the basic construction issues that we were not aware would be present on the prototype version. As you can see here, we added in the more pronounced indentation at the basic of the doors, reshaped the headlights to add in the flare on the outer edge and the harder angles,and we added in the ridge that spans from the rear doors to the taillights. Given this is based off of the actual prototype images, it should be pretty close to what we’ll see.

Rendering No. 3 - June, 2016

2018 BMW X4 M Exclusive Renderings
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The third rendering is heavily based on the test cars we’ve seen on public roads throughout 2017. As you can see, the new design differs quite a bit from the previous rendering, mostly because of the styling changes that will come with the facelift. The most noticeable revisions can be seen up front, where the headlamps, grille, and bumper have been redesigned to match BMW’s current design language.

Exterior

2018 BMW X4 M Exterior Spyshots
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The latest spy shots show a new M bumper with large, deep air intakes and big intercoolers that feed air into the turbocharged engine

The X4 M’s design was a bit of a mystery before the facelifted X4 arrived, but now that we’ve already seen the standard model, it’s easy to paint a picture for the M version. Look for the latter to get the same new headlamps that no longer run into the grille, taller kidneys, and a reshaped engine hood.

Down below, the latest spy shots show a new M bumper with large, deep air intakes and big intercoolers that feed air into the turbocharged engine. There also a significantly bigger vent in the center compared to the standard model. While not exactly visible here, the front wheelarches will be wider too, housing larger wheels with a unique rim design and performance-oriented tires.

2018 BMW X4 M Exterior Spyshots
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A sportier bumper with a diffuser-like element and a quad-exhaust layout with bigger pipes will be standard around back

Onto the sides we should also find new vents on the front fenders, sportier, sculpted side skirts, wider rear fenders, and revised mirror caps. Black window trim will replace the usual chrome strips, but that’s likely to be an option only. The rear end should get plenty of changes too, starting with slimmer taillights with updated LED clusters. The spoiler on the tailgate is disappointingly small on the test car, but maybe a larger element will be added closer to production.

A sportier bumper with a diffuser-like element and a quad-exhaust layout with bigger pipes will be standard. BMW could also add a couple of special colors to the palette in order to give the X4 M some exclusivity over the regular model. As usual, several design packages and options will be offered.

Interior

2018 BMW X3 Interior High Resolution
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Interior from the current X3 shown here.

It's not yet clear whether the new X4 will get an all-digital instrument cluster, but the M-spec unit will definitely be unique, with a flashier, sports-oriented design.

The interior of the X4 M has yet to show up in front of the camera so far, but it’s common knowledge that it will share almost every feature with the X3. Some changes will be made with the facelift, but don’t expect anything spectacular. Previous spy shots indicate that the HVAC controls will get a new design, as will the center stack vents. The iDrive infotainment screen should also be new and include revised menus and functions.

It’s not yet clear whether the new X4 will get an all-digital instrument cluster, but the M-spec unit will definitely be unique, with a flashier, sports-oriented design. In front of it, customers will find a flat-bottom steering wheel with an "M" badge. Also look for M-branded gear lever and door sills, sports pedals, and, of course, a pair of heavily bolstered seats up front. Aluminum trim should be standard, while carbon-fiber will be offered as an option.

Drivetrain

2018 BMW X4 M Exterior Spyshots
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Codenamed S58, the unit will most likely be shared with the X3 M

The X4 M should get its juice from a revised version of the familiar twin-turbo, 3.0-liter inline-six engine offered in other M cars. A similar engine is used in the M40i too, but certain upgrades will pump more oomph in the X4 M. Codenamed S58, the unit will most likely be shared with the X3 M. While the M40i cranks out an attractive 355 horsepower and 365 pound-feet of twist, the X4 M should arrive with at least 400 horsepower and some 380 pound-feet of torque on tap. Some rumors claim that that it could develop around 450 horses, which would make sense given that the Mercedes-AMG GLC63 benefits from 476 horsepower.

But be that as it may, I have doubts that BMW will push the X4 M into GLC63 S territory. The latter cranks out a whopping 503 horsepower and it’s very likely that it will remain the most powerful offering in this niche.

2018 BMW X4 M Exclusive Renderings
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The X4 M should arrive with at least 400 horsepower and some 380 pound-feet of torque on tap

Still, the X4 M will be no slouch. With all that extra power, it will be significantly quicker than the M40i, which needs 4.7 seconds to hit 60 mph from a standing start. A 400-horsepower rating with all the other BMW M goodies should push the crossover to 60 mph in around 4.4 seconds. A 4.2-second benchmark seems attainable with at least 450 horses. Top speed will be limited at a very German 155 mph.

A revised dual-clutch transmission will route the power to the wheels. The gearbox will have some unique components and a custom setup for quicker shifting and improved fuel economy. The transmission should be shared with the X3 M model too. A lowered ride height and big brake calipers with cross-drilled rotors will round off the M-spec drivetrain.

Prices

Pricing information is not available right now, but it’s safe to assume that the X4 M will become the most expensive vehicle in the lineup. Right now, the M40i sits at the top of the range with a $59,250 sticker. The X4 M will likely cost at least $75,000 or maybe even more than $80,000 before options. Production of the new is said to commence in the first half of 2018 at the Spartanburg facility in the U.S..

Competitors

Mercedes-AMG GLC63 Coupe

2018 Mercedes-AMG GLC63 Coupe High Resolution Exterior
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Essentially a coupe version of the Mercedes-Benz GLC, previously known as the GLK, the GLC Coupe is already available in three AMG-prepped versions. There’s the GLC43, which goes against the X4 M40i, and the GLC63 and GLC63 S. While the overall shapes and dimensions of the two are rather similar, the vehicles are quite different under the hood. Whereas the Bimmer comes with an inline-six engine, the Merc uses a twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8. The mill is also available in two flavors. The AMG GLC63 gets 476 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque, while the AMG GLC63 S comes with a whopping 510 horsepower and 516 pound-feet on tap. Although the X4 M’s output is still a mystery, I think it’s safe to assume that the Bimmer will be no match for the AMG GLC63 S. Actually, I’d be surprised if it is at least as powerful as the non S version. But as appealing as this Merc may be, it’s not yet available in the U.S., where you can only get the AMG GLC43 for $59,650 before options. Once the GLC63 comes to the U.S., it should cost in excess of $80,000.

Read our full review on the Mercedes-AMG GLC63 Coupe.

Jaguar F-Pace SVR

2018 Jaguar F-Pace SVR Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Brand-new for the 2019 model year, the F-Pace SVR is among the most powerful options you have. Fitted with sportier bumpers and revised aerodynamics, the SVR looks just as menacing as an M-prepped Bimmer. Things get much serious under the hood, where the beefed-up F-Pace hides a supercharged, 5.0-liter V-8 engine that cranks out 542 horsepower and 502 pound-feet of twist. That’s as much as the bigger BMW X5 M! The SVR-badged "Cat" is quick too, needing 4.1 seconds to hit 60 mph from a standing start. Sure, it’s not as quick as the Mercedes-AMG GLC63 S, but it wins the top speed battle with a 176-mph rating. Pricing information is not yet available, but it should cost more than $80,000 before options.

Read our full review of the 2018 Jaguar F-Pace SVR.

Porsche Macan Turbo

2017 Porsche Macan Turbo with Performance Package
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If you’re looking for a true sports car in a crossover suit, then you should definitely check out the Porsche Macan Turbo. Set aside by a sportier exterior and a twin-turbo, 3.6-liter V-6, the Macan Turbo hits the pavement with 400 horsepower and 406 pound-feet at its disposal. It might not sound like a lot, but add the Performance Package and output jumps to 440 horses and 443 pound-feet. Although it’s still not as powerful as the Mercedes-AMG GLC63, the Macan Turbo is quick enough to hit 60 mph from a standing starts in 4.2 seconds. And at $87,700, Performance Package included, the Macan Turbo isn’t awfully expensive compared to its rivals.

Read our full review on the Porsche Macan Turbo.

Conclusion

2018 BMW X4 M Exclusive Renderings
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As much as I find the X4 to be ugly and somewhat useless, it’s an important piece in BMW’s modern automotive puzzle. Much like the X5 spawned smaller siblings like the X3 and X1, the X6 also shrunk, pushing BMW toward new niches with the X4 and X2. The X4 M is natural "extension" of the lineup and more than necessary now that this niche has so many performance-oriented crossovers to offer. It remains to be seen whether it stands a chance against its rivals, but it’s definitely a model that BMW needs in order to keep up with the times.

  • Leave it
    • Not as sleek as the Macan or F-Pace
    • No match for the AMG GLC63 performance-wise

References

2019 BMW X4 Spyshots Exterior
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Read our full speculative review on the 2018 BMW X4.

2015 BMW X4 High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the current BMW X4.

Update History

Updated 10/03/2017: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming BMW X4 M out for a new testing session somewhere in Germany.

Updated 08/01/2017: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming X4 M out for a first testing session outside the BMW factory in South Carolina.

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