Want a mid-sized crossover with the performance of a sports car but don’t want a boxy shape of an SUV? Well, let me introduce you to the X4 M40i. The X4 is the sportier cousin of the more conservatively (normal) styled X3. Known as a SAC (Sports Activity Coupe), the X4 was the obvious choice of the two to receive the M treatment. Sort of.

The new X4 M40i isn’t a fully fledged M car, instead it’s part of BMW’s M Performance line filling the gap between standard BMW models and the full autobahn-crushing M models. Set to take on the likes of the Porsche Macan Turbo, Audi SQ5, and Mercedes GLC450 AMG Sport, the X4 M40i is powered by a new 3.0-litre twin-turbo inline-6.

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The engine related to that found in many ’35i’ badged BMWs but has been tweaked here and there (it has a forged steel camshaft as well as other components from the M3/M4). The changes have resulted in a 16% power increase and 14% increase in torque.

Stats and performance figures are in the same ballpark as its rivals. Power is at 360bhp/265kW and has 465NM of torque. 0-100 km/h is done in “less than five seconds” with top speed electronically limited to 250. Fuel consumption is claimed at 8.6L/100km.

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As this is an ‘M’ badged BMW there are some sporty-themed gadgets equipped. The X4 M40i has an exhaust system with valve control technology (just what a SUV, sorry SAC needs). BMW’s brilliant 8-speed automatic has been fine tuned for M Performance specifications.

BMW puts a lot of emphasis on the X4’s rear-biased four-wheel drive system and the X4 M40i promises to deliver driving dynamics one would expect from a BMW. In order to make this high-riding SAC handle like a sporty coupe, there are stiffer M performance springs with electronically controlled damping. The variable sports steering aims to offer more precision and feel.

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The X4 M40i has a subtly aggressive look, with the front bumper getting deeper air intakes. There are 20-inch M light-alloys which can be optioned with high performance tyres. Some of the exterior trim (grille, wing mirrors) are painted in Ferric Grey.

Overall though, the M40i still retains the “honey I shrunk the X6” look, which differentiates it from its more “normal” looking rivals. Which leads us to the question: who is this for? Whoever it’s for, I’m sure it’ll prove to be popular. A BMW SUV with an M badge and performance to make sports car owners worried? Yeah, it’ll sell. Would any of you be tempted by the X4 M40i over its direct rivals? Or would you want a more hardcore X4M variant instead?

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