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Car group tests

BMW X4 vs Porsche Macan

We see if bold new BMW X4 SUV has beating of class-leading Porsche Macan rival

BMW X4 vs Porsche Macan

BMW likes its niches: the 3 Series compact executive range has expanded to include a variety of bodystyles, and the company has even added the 4 Series badge to cover two-door versions. Now it’s the turn of the X3 SUV to get a range expansion with the launch of the X4. 

The new SUV stands out with its coupe-like roof, while its sports suspension promises a more focused driving experience than the sensible X3. Plus, it has permanent four-wheel drive. The new body and sharper drive bring a significant premium over the standard compact SUV, although BMW has also thrown in a bit more kit as standard. 

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For the X4’s first road test, we’ve lined up the 3.0-litre diesel model in sporty M Sport trim, while the rival we’ve chosen will be able to test the new car’s sporting credentials to the max. The Porsche Macan is one of the best SUVs in the business, and we were so impressed with it on its test debut that we awarded it the Best Compact SUV accolade at our 2014 New Car Awards ceremony. 

Can the X4 prove itself against such a worthy machine? Or is it a case of style over substance?

BMW X4 review

Porsche Macan review

Click the links above to read full, in-depth reviews of the cars, and scroll down to see which came out on top in this test...

Head-to-head

Design

In profile, the rear ends of the X4 and Macan follow a similar shape, although the Porsche is more rounded than the high-set BMW. 

The X4 looks a little slab-sided, despite featuring sculpted lines along its flanks, and it looks bigger than its rival, too. But these two are pretty much identical in terms of dimensions, with the same roof heights and similar length and wheelbase measurements. 

Boot capacity

These cars have identical 500-litre boot capacities. The Macan has a squarer floor and wider opening, but the boot lip is slightly higher off the ground than the X4’s. Both cars feature 40:20:40 split back seats, but when folded, neither has a completely flat floor. The Macan’s 1,500-litre maximum is 100 litres ahead of the X4’s.

Running costs

Neither of these cars is cheap to run, but the BMW promises better fuel economy and more affordable servicing. The Macan has lower company car tax costs, while road tax costs are identical, at £180 a year. Porsche’s strong residual rating means it’ll be worth more if you sell it after three years.

Verdict

1st place: Porsche Macan

The Porsche Macan is without doubt the best luxury compact SUV on sale today. It blends stunning performance, superb handling, premium quality and everyday usability in a package that’s hard to beat. The Diesel S has all the performance you’ll need and delivers reasonably good economy, while the residual values are outstanding. Go easy on the options, and it’s also reasonably priced in the first place.

2nd place: BMW X4

There’s nothing inherently wrong with how the BMW X4 performs – it’s quick, comfortable, beautifully built and has good economy for a 4WD SUV. However, these are the same qualities that make the X3 so good. Take these similarities away, and essentially you’re paying £5,000 extra for a less practical SUV, and in our eyes it doesn’t look stylish enough to justify the extra expense.

BMW X4 vs Porsche Macan: key specs

 Porsche Macan S DieselBMW X4 xDrive30d M Sport 
On-the-road price/total as tested£43,535/£55,170£46,408/£52,183
Residual value (after 3yrs/30,000)£26,208/60.2%£21,626/46.6%
Depreciation£17,327£24,782
Annual tax liability std/higher rate£2,338/£4,676£2,493/£4,985
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)£2,581/£4,302£2,387/£3,978
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost39/£483/G/£18040/£492/G/£180
Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service£420/£550/£420£425 (5yrs/50k)
   
Length/wheelbase4,681/2,807mm4,671/2,810mm
Height/width1,624/1,923mm1,624/1,881mm
EngineV6/2,967cc6cyl in-line/2,993cc
Peak power 255/4,000 bhp/rpm255/4,000 bhp/rpm
Peak torque 580/1,750 Nm/rpm560/1,500 Nm/rpm
Transmission 7-spd auto/4WD8-spd auto/4WD
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel60 litres/£13867 litres/run-flats
Boot capacity (seats up/down) 500/1,500 litres500/1,400 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight1,880/695kg1,895/590kg
Turning circle/drag coefficient11.8 metres/0.35Cd11.9 metres/0.35Cd
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery2yrs/2yrs3yrs/3yrs
Service intervals/UK dealers20k miles (2yrs)/36Variable/153
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.6th/6th10th/24th
Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./starsN/AN/A
   
0-60/30-70mph5.8/5.7 secs5.5/5.4 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th 2.5/3.3 secs2.4/2.9 secs
50-70mph in 5th/6th/7th 4.5/6.3/9.3 secs4.0/5.3/6.5/10.8 secs
Top speed/rpm at 70mph 142mph/1,750rpm145mph/1,600rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph 44.9/33.2/8.3m47.0/33.7/9.3m
Noise levels outside/idle/30/70mph67/43/61/69dB67/51/58/68dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range28.3/6.2/374 miles30.6/6.7/451 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined42.2/49.6/46.3mpg43.5/50.4/47.9mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined9.3/10.9/10.2mpl9.6/11.1/10.5mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket267/159g/km/27%247/156g/km/27%
   
Airbags/Isofix/rear park sens/cameraSix/yes/yes/£332Six/yes/yes/£330
Automatic gearbox/stability/cruise ctrlYes/yes/£271£650/yes/yes
Climate control/leather/heated seatsYes/£2,072/£259Yes/yes/yes
Metallic paint/xenon lights/keyless go£607/£1,060/£477Yes/yes/£495
Sat-nav/USB connection/Bluetooth£2,007/yes/yes/£348Yes/yes/yes/yes
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