BMW X4 review
The BMW X4 offers a little extra style over its X3 sibling, but it's more expensive and sacrifices practicality
The SUV market is bursting at the seams, which means making a car that stands out from the crowd is incredibly tricky. This problem goes a long way to explaining why the BMW X4 has taken on a coupe-SUV design, trading some of the practicality offered by the X3 on which it’s based for a sportier exterior design and driving dynamics to match.
The X4 is one of the best-handling SUVs of its size and price, coupling its performance with a premium feel inside. However, being more expensive and less usable than the X3 makes it an indulgence to say the least, especially given that the X3 can almost match it for ability anyway.
About the BMW X4
The BMW X4 is currently in its second generation, and it follows the path laid out for it by its predecessor. As before, running gear from the X3 is used in the X4, although the latter has a more distinctive coupe-style roof, and the model range is tailored more for performance and driver excitement.
BMW’s own terminology for the X4 is a ‘sport activity vehicle’, emphasising that it is designed to be more fun to drive than a conventional SUV and less about practical considerations, similar in style to the larger X6. As a result, there aren’t many direct rivals apart from the Mercedes GLC Coupe, which takes the same approach of spinning-off a more design-led model from a conventional SUV. But if you’re looking at an X4, then other premium SUVs worth considering include the Porsche Macan, Audi Q5 and Jaguar F-Pace.
BMW facelifted the X4 in 2021, with some styling tweaks to the front and rear and redesigned light clusters, while the Sport and M Sport X trims are no longer available, leaving the M Sport as the sole specification on offer.
At present the X4 is available with a choice of one petrol and three diesel engines. The entry-level diesel model is the xDrive20d and is fitted with a 2.0-litre unit providing 187bhp, enough to deliver a 0-62mph time of 7.9 seconds. The xDrive30d model is 3.0-litres in capacity and has six cylinders for additional smoothness, providing 282bhp and a 0-62mph time of 5.7 seconds. The most powerful diesel option is the M40d, and its 3.0-litre diesel engine pushes out 335bhp for a rapid 0-62mph sprint of 4.9 seconds.
Petrol power is found in the M40i model with its six-cylinder, twin-turbocharged engine is good for 355bhp and a 0-62mph time also of 4.8 seconds. The xDrive20d uses an eight-speed automatic gearbox, while all cars are four-wheel drive.
At the top of the range sits the X4 M Competition – a high-performance version powered by a twin-turbocharged straight-six petrol engine with 503bhp and 600Nm of torque. BMW doesn’t expect to sell many though; the closely related X3 M Competition is more practical and likely to get more orders given the high calibre of its sporty SUV rivals.
Prices start from around £50,000, with M versions coming in at around £62,000 and the X4 M Competition costing more than £88,000. This is more than you’ll pay for the equivalent X3 model, that comes with similar equipment and performance.
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In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe BMW X4 offers a little extra style over its X3 sibling, but it's more expensive and sacrifices practicality
- 2Engines, performance and driveWith a remarkable balance between fun handling and comfort, the X4 offers strong engines to exploit its ability
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsChoose a diesel-engined X4 and you should see relatively decent economy, although insurance costs could prove to be expensive
- 4Interior, design and technologyFirst-class interior design and impressive technology help the X4 stand out, but the exterior won’t suit all tastes
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe X4 includes generous space for passengers and luggage, but the steep-sloping rear roofline means compromises have to be made
- 6Reliability and SafetyThe X4 includes a high standard of safety equipment across the range, although feedback from BMW owners could be better
- 7Used and nearly newA full used buyer’s guide on the BMW X4 covering the X4 Mk1 (2014-2018)