BMW X4 review
A compelling package with lots to offer, but little extra over its cheaper X3 sibling
With so many options to choose from in the SUV sector, creating a unique product is a challenge, which explains the coupe-SUV approach of the BMW X4. Compared to the conventional X3 on which it is based, the X4 trades some practicality for a more distinctive exterior design and increased driving pleasure.
Some aspects are a definite success; the X4 is one of the best-driving SUVs at any price and it delivers a strong premium feel. But the added expense and reduced practicality make it feel like an indulgence next to its more practical and almost as capable X3 stablemate.
The second-generation BMW X4 for sale now follows the same formula of the original. That means running gear from the X3 is used, but the X4 gets a more distinctive coupe-style roof line, and the model range is geared more towards performance than practicality.
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 a more design-led model of 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.
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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 8.0 seconds. The xDrive30d model is 3.0-litres in capacity and has six cylinders for additional smoothness, providing 262bhp and a 0-62mph time of 5.8 seconds. The most powerful diesel option is the M40d, and its 3.0-litre diesel engine pushes out 321bhp 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 349bhp and a 0-62mph time also of 4.9 seconds. The xDrive20d can be specified with a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic gearbox while all other models come with the automatic only. 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, while the M40d and M40i versions are models in their own right. Prices start from around £44,000, with the top-spec petrol version coming in at around £57,000. 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 SafetyThere’s a high standard of safety equipment across the range, but the X4’s reliability is yet to be proven