BMW X4 (2014-2018) review - Interior, design and technology

Unique styling and a classy cabin are where the X4’s appeal lies, but it looks a little out of proportion

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

Interior, design and technology Rating

3.0 out of 5

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BMW’s ever-expanding range means no niche is left unfilled – and the brand isn’t afraid of creating new ones. For the X4, it has revisited the formula it used for the X6: taken an SUV and changing the roofline to create what the company calls a Sports Activity Coupe.

However, while the X4 fits a marketing niche, in reality the styling is less successful than that of the X6. Where the latter looks aggressive and imposing when compared to the X5, the differences between the X4 and X3 are more restrained – partly due to the X4’s smaller dimensions. 

Although the X4 is 14mm longer and 36mm lower than its sibling, the muscular curves, arcing roof and bulging wheel arches look squashed compared to the bigger X6.

The roof drops steeply to the tail, but overall the X4 looks more like an SUV hatchback than a coupe. One reason for this is the lack of frameless windows, like those on the X6. This gives the X4 less of a coupe feel when you open the doors. The sloping tailgate creates awkward proportions, too. At the rear it looks at odds with the car’s raised ride height.

Things improve inside, but that’s because the X4 has an identical cabin to the X3. This means an uncluttered layout and interior that feels upmarket and well finished. The minimal labelling on some of the buttons might take a bit of getting used to, but the quality of the materials is first class, with soft-touch plastics, soft leather and classy metal trim throughout.

Though BMW has gone to the trouble of creating a new xLine trim level for £1,500 more than a standard X4 SE, you could be forgiven for wondering why it bothered. Not only are the xLine’s chrome body additions rather subtle, but the £3,000 pricier M Sport trim is expected to account for a 55 per cent of UK sales – and the entry-level model is likely to make up much of the rest.

The top-spec car incorporates the usual BMW M Sport additions of large air intakes, a body kit, upgraded alloy wheels and a needlessly thick steering wheel rim inside. It also adds more supportive seats for the already excellent driving position, and plenty of ‘M’ badges. 

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

Sat-nav is standard with every X4 and it’s operated via BMW’s excellent iDrive control system. Though previous versions of the system have been criticised, it is now much more user-friendly and very easy to operate – you simply scroll around the screen with the dial in the centre console. All models come with Bluetooth or USB connectivity too.

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