BMW X4 review
A compelling package with lots to offer, but little extra over its cheaper X3 sibling
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.
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.
To reflect the X4’s sporty nature, it’s not available in basic SE trim. Instead the range starts with Sport, moves up to M Sport and there’s an M Sport X version offered, too, leaving the M40d and M40i as models in their own right. Prices start from just over £45,000, with the top-spec M versions coming in at around £58,000. This is more than you’ll pay for the X3, which offers the same range of models with similar performance.
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.
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingA compelling package with lots to offer, but little extra over its cheaper X3 sibling
- 2Engines, performance and driveA remarkable balance between fun handling and comfort, with strong engines to exploit its ability
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsAlmost every engine option provides good fuel consumption, but servicing and maintenance costs are at the higher end of the scale.
- 4Interior, design and technologyFirst-class interior design and impressive technology integration, but the exterior won’t suit all tastes
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceGenerous 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)