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We review the BMW X4 SUV 2018


We review the BMW X4 SUV 2018

7th September 2018

The Car.co.uk verdict:

4 out of 5

Cast your cynical opinions aside – the X4 isn’t just a more-costly X3 with a sleeker look; it’s a performance orientated SUV that’s nothing short of incredible when you can put the power down on windy country roads.

If you’re an SUV owner who never quite fills the boot – or wishes you had a little something extra in the looks or performance department; the new BMW X4 SUV is made with you in mind. Is it the most practical or cost-effective on the market? Probably not. Is it good looking, full of technology, and capable of holding its own against sports saloons? Very much so.

Pros

  • xDrive all-wheel-drive system makes windy roads a pleasure
  • High-quality materials and finishes throughout the cabin
  • Fantastic range of standard equipment and a host of great options

Cons

  • It’s a very expensive alternative to the Mercedes GLC
  • Only 1 petrol option likely to be available – and it’s costly
  • Not the car for you if practicality is at the top of your wish list

Looks

3.5 out of 5

Looks

An interesting new class that will divide opinion

What do you see when you look at the look at the new BMW X4 SUV? It’s a car that splits opinion so widely that your own opinion is the only one worth listening to.

In essence, this is an X3 that’s got a sleeker roofline and a totally redesigned rear end – but by making those changes, BMW has created the profile of an entirely new car. The motor industry is widely calling it an SUV, but BMW has dubbed it an ‘SAC’ – or Sports Activity Coupé – and it’s a term that fits well. The X4 looks like a car that’s created with performance in mind; almost as if the designers of the X3 had been given access to a wind tunnel and permission to let their sporty side run wild.

Even at entry level, the BMW X4 styling package includes 18-inch alloy wheels and mean looking chunky dual exit exhaust that’s got a definite M Performance design feel. While I don’t expect the divisive looks of the X4 to win any design awards, it’s precisely what you’d imagine a bigger, chunkier, performance-based BMW to look like.

Practicality

3 out of 5

Practicality

Don’t be fooled into thinking the X4 has practicality at its core

It’s almost a given that size equals practicality in the world of cars – but there’s a sense that the design team are kicking back against this perception with the new BMW X4 SUV design and specifications.

The X4 has a reasonable amount of space; there’s a 520-litre boot (which becomes 1,430 litres when the rear seats are dropped) – and ample legroom giving back seat passengers a comfortable ride. That said, the BMW X3 beats the X4 in both these areas, offering a 550-litre boot and 1,600 litres when the seats are flat; all in a noticeably less expensive overall package.

The X4’s sloping roofline will make headspace a little limited if your passengers are getting toward 6ft tall, and the central 5th passenger seat is best reserved for children; as it’s a bit uncomfortable for an adult frame.

If you see people comparing the X4 to the X3 concerning ownership profile, it’s fair to say they’re barking up the wrong tree. The X3 is carefully designed to offer unimpeded practicality – and while the X4 has grown from the same floor pan, it’s been cultivated for style and performance; with some degree of practicality just a happy coincidence that owes more to size than design intention.

Engine and Power

4.5 out of 5

Engine and Power

A good selection of diesel engines – but only 1 petrol option

With the X4’s emphasis on performance, it’s no surprise to see larger diesel and petrol BMW X4 SUV engine configurations.

The entry-level xDrive20d musters 187bhp from the 4-cylinder diesel powerplant – taking the X4 from 0-62 in 8 seconds. Next in the range is the xDrive30d – a 6-cylinder diesel option that delivers 0-62 in 5.8 seconds, with an impressive 413lbs ft of torque between 1,500-3,000rpm.

At the top of diesel engine range sits the M40d – a twin-turbocharged torque-heavy beast that produces an impressive 311bhp, launching the weighty X4 to 62mph in no less than 4.9 seconds. To give that some context, that’s a diesel engine that takes a large SUV to 62mph just half a second behind a BMW M5.

As is often true with BMW engines, the top-line petrol version doesn’t offer a massive amount more than the diesel – aside from revs of course. The M40i is the only petrol option currently available in the X4, offering 0-62mph in 4.8 seconds and an electronically limited 155mph top speed.

While the sporty handling is obviously more apparent when you’ve got the increased power of the M40d or M40i engines under your right foot, even the entry-level xDrive20d doesn’t disappoint. BMW has selected an exceptional range of engines for the X4 – and there are no economy figures that’ll make you spit your coffee out either; the claimed 31.4mpg of the M40i isn’t horrific – and the 52.3mpg boasted by the xDrive20d is up there with the most economical vehicles in the class.

Reliability

4.5 out of 5

Reliability

Solid X3-based reliability

The BMW X4 SUV’s 2018 release date makes it a brand-new car; and as such, it’s going to be difficult to give an accurate indication of the X4’s reliability. That said, since it’s based on the same chassis and boasts many of the same accessories and systems, it’s reasonable to think reliability figures will be somewhat close to the impressive standard set by the X3.

Drivers of the X3 rate it as one of the very best SUVs on the market for reliability and build quality – consistently marking even older models with high scores in each category. BMW very rarely drop the ball when it comes to lasting ride quality or build standards, so it’s fair to assume the X4 will follow this impressive standard.

Onboard equipment

4 out of 5

Onboard equipment

An impressive (but costly) feature filled BMW equipment list

There have been no corners cut when it comes the BMW X4 SUV accessories list – even at the entry ‘Sport’ level, this is a car that’s chock-full of useful tech. As standard, you can expect to find 3-zone climate control, Bluetooth connectivity, sat-nav with real-time traffic information, heated leather seats, an automatic electric tailgate, and BMWs exceptional 8-speed semi-auto paddle gearbox.

Move up to the M Sport trim level, and you’ll see the addition of a body kit that brings a more purposeful, aggressive look to the outside of the BMX X4 coupé SUV, perfectly complementing the 19-inch alloy M Sport wheels. The interior feels sportier too, M Sport seats squeeze you a little tighter when you’re pushing through those corners, and the M Sport steering wheel feels like a beautiful way to control that responsive and firm steering. M Sport X trim is next in line – adding a different alloy wheel design, auto-dipping LED headlights and a massive panoramic roof.

When you reach the M Performance specification level of the M40i and M40d, you’re in for some real treats. 20-inch alloys and uprated exhaust system are the aesthetic nods toward those scorching 0-62 times – and when you’re inside, you’ve got a fully digital cockpit, power seats and a leather-clad dash to remind you’re flying first class.

You could be forgiven for thinking these already impressive spec levels exhaust the BMW options list – but you’d be mistaken. Soft-touch leather options are available in a range of colours that cater for every taste – as are a host of different interior finishes; from performance carbon to classy Piano Black. ‘Comfort’ options in noise-proof glass, keyless entry and powered mirrors, while the ‘Technology’ pack includes the very-smart BMW Display Key, a head-up display, WiFi options and gesture controls.

In short, if there’s a feature you’re looking for on the BMW X4 SUV new model; the only limit will be how deep you’re willing to reach into your wallet to have it added to your car.

Interior

4.5 out of 5

Interior

A BMW X4 SUV interior from tried and tested winning formula

Climb aboard the X4, and you’re greeted with a familiar scene. The driver’s seat vista is precisely the same as that you’ll find in an X3 – but this lack of originality is no bad thing.

The stylish and minimal looks create a sporty environment that feels more at home in the X4 than its original setting in slightly less dynamic X3. While BMW’s SUV internals don’t have the same wow-factor you’ll experience in the Mercedes GLC – they definitely outclass the basic offerings you’ll find in Audi’s Q SUVs.

As a driver, you’ll struggle to ask for more from the X4 interior. The wheel and pedal alignment is excellent – they’re contact points that feel every bit as comfortable and engaging as those found in one of BMW’s M coupés. The steering wheel is designed with a driver’s experience in mind too – it’s chunky, feels good in your hands and offers tons of adjustment to get the cockpit just right for you.

There’s one area in which the X4 outclasses even its most sporty coupé cousins though – and that’s visibility. The extra height and SUV roofline mean your view of the world is almost entirely unimpeded, which adds another level of confidence to the drive.

The drive

4 out of 5

The drive

Impressive handling that defies that X4’s slightly cumbersome look

The X4 might not look like a thoroughbred performance vehicle – but it’s not far off driving like one.

It’s hard not to compare the X4 to the X3 since the 2 are based on the same floor pan, but the firmer suspension and slightly heavier steering make the X4 the better drive by a long way. The driving experience feels tightly tied together – the positive steering into a corner, the beautiful road hold and the powerful yet predictable engine performance makes for a car that feels like it can be pushed and pushed without ever giving up grip. Blindfold a passenger, and you could completely forgive them for thinking they’re making solid and swooping high-speed turns in a standard 5-series coupé.

The X4 is an immensely satisfying drive – there’s none of the wallowing you might expect from a car with a high centre of gravity. While those things aren’t going to be noticeable on the school run, there’s a sense that this is a car that’s designed for people who are going to be mixing necessity driving in with a generous portion of good-fun weekend country-road blasts.

If you’re not entirely enamoured by the X4’s looks, I’d recommend taking it for a drive – when you experience the robust power-delivery, a near perfect 4-wheel drive system, and a sportscar steering response that puts some hot-hatches to shame; you may very well find yourself won over.

Cost

3 out of 5

Cost

Pricey up front – but surprisingly economical to run

There’s no getting around the fact that the BMW X4 SUV costs a fair amount; at £42,900 for a base level model it’s nearly £4,000 more than the X3 it’s closely related to – and that cost divide continues to open as you move upward in the range.

That said, if the X4 appeals to you, this isn’t going to be a problem – because it doesn’t line up against the X3 anyway. The X4 isn’t the sensible option when you’re opting to drive an SUV; it’s the driver’s option; less function – more fun. With that in mind, it’s worth considering how it looks next to more driver orientated SUVs; The Porsche Macan tips the scales at a shade under £46,000 – making the BMW look cost-effective, although that appeal disappears against the Mercedes GLC – which starts at £35,795 – and is firmly into AMG specification territory by the time you’re spending £42,900+

When you get beyond the upfront costs, your on-going spend as an X4 driver isn’t going to be mind-blowing, fuel economy starts at 52.3mpg for the xDrive20d – the model that BMW predict will make up over 50% of UK sales.

Safety

5 out of 5

Safety

Stacked to the rafters with safety equipment

As an SUV that’s designed with back seat passengers in mind, it’s no surprise to find a host of safety features packed into the X4. There are dual front airbags, dual front knee airbags, front side airbags, side curtain airbags at both the front and rear – and a side curtain airbag rollover sensor that deploys accordingly should the X4 turnover.

From a driver point of view, there’s auto-emergency braking as standard, self-levelling auto-dimming LED lights and, if you’re keen on adding safety in the options list; semi-autonomous driving modes that will keep you in lane – and a very useful HUD that helps keep your eyes forward.

The safety kit matches that found in the X3 – so it’s expected that BMW X4 SUV safety rating will match the X3’s impressive full five-star Euro NCAP score – with a 93% score for all adult occupancy – and an 84% score for child protection.

Why buy

4 out of 5

Why buy

A great drive – but is it enough to outshine the competition?

The BMW X4 is a sturdy, sporty SUV that leans more toward performance than it does practicality. So, who’s going to buy it? Well, the honest answer is probably very few people – it’s fair to assume the X4 isn’t going to be a common sight on our roads, but perhaps that’s part of the appeal.

When you see someone driving an X4 you’ll be able to make some assumptions about them; they recognise the need for practicality – but still favour style, and they’ve spent money on a driving experience – not just a convenient class of car. Above all, they’ve bought a car which doesn’t fit a particular mould. If this sounds like it could be you, then the price tag will probably come second to the visual appeal of the X4, or how it feels when you’re pushing it through some sweeping bends.

The problem for BMW is likely to be the competition. The Mercedes GLC offers all the style for significantly less money (although admittedly without the driving finesse), and the Porsche Macan provides style and driving appeal in abundance.

The X4 is a great car – and if you love the way it looks, it’ll be an outstanding car for you; as long as you can handle the price tag.

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